January 24, 2016
After a good nights sleep and some more adjustment to the Fiji time zone, we were ready for the day. The parrots and other noisy birds are the replacement for roosters. We managed to stay in bed until right before the restaurant opened at 7 AM. We were quite alone with our friendly waiter for our continental breakfast with papaya, passion fruit, a tropical juice blend, cereal and toast. None of the college kids showed while we were there. I guess they had a longer night than us.
We wanted to shop for some bottled water before our morning adventure. We drove into Sigatoka and found the center of the shopping district. Since it was Sunday, we figured we would be lucky to find a store. No problem. Just like the US, the Indian shopkeepers being Hindu were ready for us. The prices were about 10% of the resort prices. The best part was the informal street market. We bought a bunch of tiny Fiji style bananas for one Fiji dollar (43 cents) and got a lesson about Taro roots. We need to return to this place.
We drove back to the EcoPark. We were the first to arrive and therefore got to hold the iguanas and boa constrictors. At least I got to hold them. Peggy demurred on the snake but accepted the iguana crawling over her. The Fiji Banded and the Crested Iguanas are endangered and are bred at the park for repopulation of Fiji islands and shipment to zoos. We all enjoyed their long toe nails.
We spent the rest of the morning enjoying the beautiful, vibrantly colored birds and the Hawks with menacing stares. The aviaries are enclosed but you are in there with the birds. I was happy that the fruit bats were not flying freely. The plant life in this sanctuary were just as amazing. We were truly in a tropical jungle. The name of the game for jungle plant life is to reach the sunlight. Even if they have to envelop and strangle other plants to get there, it is the way nature works. The walkways had there fair share of stairs and I was sweating like Indiana Jones before long. It was great.
We fed some baby Hawksbill turtles some sushi before eating our own lunch at the park. Again there was plenty of tropical fruits on the menu. It was time to depart and we went back to the resort for a short nap. You take naps when you are retired. We then decided to find a beach without snakes. The locals assure us that the snakes are harmless and can be worn like necklaces. Peggy isn’t buying it.
We found a beach full of locals. It was sandy and quickly dropped off to swimming depth. Better was the lack of snakes. Instead the water was in the mid 80’s and delightful. We watched the the families and needed to move our stuff a couple times to avoid the incoming tide. It was as close to perfect as you can get. We figure that we can do a repeat after our strenuous activities.
Returned to the resort, took a swim in the pool, showered and opened a beer. It doesn’t get much better than this. However, the wines are all Australian and somewhat limited in selection. The local favorite beer is called Fiji Bitter Beer. It tastes like an IPA. It goes good with those funny little Fiji bananas and better with the mussels I plan to eat at dinner. It may be our last restaurant dinner for a while since tomorrow we are on a sailing ship to the the Tom Cruise Castaway island. If no blog is posted tomorrow, you will know where to send the rescue team. They don’t need to hurry. There are plenty of coconuts all over the place.