Savusavu Town Day

This is the second post in the series Livin’ in Fiji – A House Sitters Story

In today’s post we want to tell you a little about our “adopted” Fiji town of Savusavu. It’s a 3-kilometer walk from our housesit into town. The walk stays cool along the shaded beach until we get to the wharf (where garbage is dropped off) and within a few more minutes we’re by Savusavu Bay, lined with sailboats and catamarans of all shapes and sizes.

People drive on the left here, so we dodge speeding taxis coming at us from the “wrong” side of the road. But the taxi almost always slows down and asks us if we’d like a ride. Fijians are some of the friendliest people we’ve ever met. People wave from their porches, shouting Bula for “Hello!”, while happy dogs run up begging for a quick pat on the head or if we’re feeling generous, a belly rub.

On Saturdays, the sound of rugby football on the radio accompanies the delicious smell of food being grilled outside. As we pass by, we see barefoot children playing marbles in the dirt or chasing each other high into the coconut palms that hang out over the sea.

There are few tourists in town. This is a place where people live and work. The open market bustles with Indo-Fijians and native Fijians selling cabbages, kava, and fresh fruit on neatly arranged tables. Smiling faces offer assistance and even gladly give permission for pictures.

Dusty buses fill repeatedly with brown faces, arms hanging out of open windows, off to destinations around the small island. Black smoke belches as the bus rolls away, every seat taken and another huge cloud of red dust is left behind.

Air conditioning is a luxury here, though with the tropical trade winds it’s not always a necessity. However, if the heat is stifling and there’s no breeze to be found, the Vodafone kiosk has ice-cold air and a few minutes spent picking up a new sim card might just be the highlight of a scorching afternoon.

There are 3 supermarkets in town, a discount store, 2 bakeries, 3 ATMs, 2 Chinese restaurants, numerous Indian restaurants, a DVD store, and a chemist with merchandise on the dusty shelves that hasn’t moved since 2007.

Behind the bus station is a stall that sells roti stuffed with curried potatoes and tuna for 1 Fiji dollar, the boy selling kava in the open market is very helpful with any questions you might have, the second bakery on the right hand side has whole wheat bread and coconut rolls, though it’s difficult to pass by the first bakery because the delicious smell of fresh onion and cheese bread drags you inside…

The Copra Shed has wonderful pizza, but don’t get the large unless you’re REALLY hungry. The Yacht Club bar makes strong drinks, but be careful of their glass doors – it’s easy to mistake them for being open as you crash into them. (Yes, that happened on our first night in town, but that’s another funny story!). There is no “fast food” here, though it’s easy enough to find a plate of curry or a roti pretty quickly if you’re hungry.

The grocery stores here have very different things than they do back home. Sausages are common – pre-cooked chicken and lamb sausage. Chicken feet are also available. Fresh potatoes, bok choy, onions, and carrots are cheap and available everywhere. So many wonderful Indian spices to choose from – the kitchen always smells great! Our splurge purchase last grocery day was a jar of mayonnaise for $7.05 Fiji (about $3.50 USD)!

Around noon, the children get out of school and the town is filled with little uniforms asking for ice cream. I’ve never seen so much ice cream being eaten in one place! Barefooted with untucked shirts, children with sticky faces smile happily at us as they skip down the street.

Another bus trundles through town and a cloud of red dusty covers everyone once more. We cough and wipe our eyes, but know the sea breeze on the walk home will make everything clean again. It’s all part of living like a local!

Category: Current Work
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