A Fiji welcome 

Two of the officials who checked us into the country gave us the rundown on what’s happening in Savusavu over the weekend. Turns out Friday is a holiday — they weren’t altogether sure what it was — and tomorrow, Thursday, there would be a parade. We love parades. I think it’s in my DNA because nearly every home movie we have from the 50s and 60s includes at least some footage of parades, usually with my sister or me either riding bikes decorated with crepe paper for Memorial Day or the Fourth of July, or in Halloween costumes, or in our brownie uniforms. Occasionally we’re just perched on the sidewalk as spectators but parades were largely a participation event for our family. In any case, we aren’t going to miss a parade.

Thursday morning our first order of business was to hit the ATM for local currency, then go pay our health and biosecurity fees at their respective offices. Along the way we checked out the town.

The parade began with the police band, whom our customs and biosecurity guys had told us was terrific. And they were. 


The band was followed by a group of adults, then school children carrying placards against drugs and chanting “We are drug free!” Good for them for starting early to help kids avoid the blight that’s affected so many areas of the world. These kids all seemed happy and healthy. 

Our first trip ashore ended at the market, always our favorite place to take the pulse of a new country. Fiji was devasted by Cyclone  Winston in February, and the effects of the storm were evident at the market where vegetables were in gorgeous abundance but there was hardly any fruit to be found. The banana trees are gone and will take at least a year to regenerate. We found a few papayas but the only other fruit were some sad looking apples from New Zealand and a few oranges, all at a premium. 

That was enough for one day on legs still wobbly after nine days at sea. It was back to EV for the rest of the day to continue tidying up and napping. It’s a tough life but we’re up to the challenge.

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