Tag Archives: Suva

To Tonga We Go!

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Like a cheap prostitute, Suva didn’t look any better in the morning. I wanted to check out the city before heading to Tonga, though, so I wandered out into the rain. It’s a typical third-world city with beggars, thieves and rubbish everywhere. There’s a decent market in the main street, so I rolled along and grabbed some food. I’m not one to let a bout of explosive diarrhea turn me off a meal, so I picked up another couple of curry wraps and scoffed them while walking along the waterfront. It was actually pretty nice, looking over the harbour at the boats and the mountains behind them, with storm clouds rolling across. It would’ve been even better if sketchy Fijians weren’t following me around the whole time.

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Alright, where are the pies?

My walk through Shitsville was a short one, and soon I was checking out of the hotel from hell (a man was pissing in the hallway outside my room when I did) and heading to the airport through a monumental downpour. You can shove those photos of sun-drenched Fijian beaches up your Jap’s eye as far as I’m concerned.

Suva’s airport is about as big as Kevin Rudd’s knob and just as popular with fat chicks, but soon I was strapping myself into a tiny, propeller-powered plane and getting the fuck out of the joint. Good riddance.

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A boat, some mountains, a bit of water… what do you expect me to write about this?

The flight was fairly run-of-the-mill, except for the Indian sheila in front of me who was blasting her curry into a sick bag. She must’ve had the same stuff as me for dinner.

It was really quite incredible flying into Tonga. The place is so small that I could see the entire main island of Tongatupo as we dropped to the ground. I could pick out every town and feature I’d seen on maps. The country is incredibly flat, too – completely different to the other islands I’ve been to – and was almost entirely rural.

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What the hell, no rain?

The airport was basically one room, and once the other 10 or so people from my flight had pissed off, I was left alone. I was supposed to be flying straight to the volcanic island of ‘Eua for the night but, because of a scheduling change from the joke of an airline that is Real (Shit) Tonga, I was stuck on the main island for an extra night with no accommodation and a very persistent taxi driver trying to take me to his mate’s hotel. I thought that sounded as tempting as eating a battery, so I got him to take me to the place where I’d be spending the next two nights anyway – the Friendly Islander Hotel.

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Nuku’alofa’s historic Sant Anthony of Padua Church. Dunno who Saint Anthony is, but he sounds like a good bloke

The drive through Tonga was interesting. It’s not neat and beautifully landscaped like Samoa, the cars are rusted out and there aren’t many villages, just endless farms, with rubbish everywhere. I could barely pay attention to it, though, because my dickhead taxi driver wouldn’t shut his mouth.

“You like make dance? You like make fun?” he asked. “I best dancer in all of Tonga. Probably best in all of Pacific, except maybe man in Samoa named Gary, he very good dancer, maybe better. He has move where his foot goes behind head, he does little spin, like ballet person. I has girlfriend once who is ballet person. I no mean she wear ballet clothes all time, but she do the dance sometimes, when she not being lazy and lying around and no get job. I get job, I drive taxi, while she stay at home watching television and eating the lollies and getting fat. She keep saying, ‘My ballet clothes are shrinking’ and I say, ‘No, you just get fat! Stop eating lollies!’ But I must admit, these nice lollies. I not even like lollies, but I eat many of them, perhaps get a little fat, too. You think I fat? I run three kilometres every day. Well, not today, but most days. As long as not rain. It rain when my girlfriend leave me, so I not leave house to chase her. She move slowly, anyway, because so fat from lollies. Hey! Do you like Michael Jackson? My brother Sau not like Michael Jackson, he a idiot. Sau, I mean, not Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson have smooth moves and nice hair. One day I like to meet him and make dance. You like make dance? You like make fun?”

Bloody hell, save me!

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This is one of the most developed parts of Nuku’alofa. There’s a building in the background, see?

When we arrived in the capital of Nuku’alofa – which is basically one street with a few shops – we were swarmed by young people. It was weird, because while the rest of Tonga looked like something from the 60s, the throngs of kids looked like they were straight from the streets of western Sydney, wearing hoodies and with headphones wrapped around their ears. Again, totally different from Samoa.

“Children to day have no respect for me,” blabbered the driver. “Just this morning, young person stick tongue out as I drive by, and it reminded me of my girlfriend. She was horrible, when she not eating lollies, she is sticking her tongue out at me, calling me idiot, saying I stupid. I am not stupid! I am smart like coconut tree, strong like…” And then he ran us into a ditch. At that moment, I wouldn’t have minded if he drove us off a cliff.

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Watch out, it’s rush hour!

The Friendly Islander Hotel is a fair distance out of town, overlooking a little harbour. I liked it immediately, with a foyer full of Tongan artworks and artifacts. The owner, Papiloa – an elderly, sophisticated woman – handed me a key and one of the workers took me to my room, which is surprisingly big and has a nice view out over the garden. It was like stepping back in time, though, with old furniture and fittings. Still, it’s comfortable.

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See that seat? I sat on that seat!

The rest of the afternoon consisted of little more than lounging around by the pool, and a long walk along the waterfront, looking for something to eat. It wasn’t until I was out by myself that I realised just how quiet Tonga is, despite being only a few kilometres out of the capital. I noticed further differences between the locals and their Samoan counterparts, too. While everybody in Apia wanted to smile, wave and say hello, those in Nuku’alofa are more reserved and private. It took a bit of adjusting.

I found a bottle shop, and bought a couple of bags of chips from a roadside shop, and that was pretty much it for my first evening in the Kingdom of Tonga. Right now I’m sitting in my room, getting drunk and listening to music, writing and watching TV shows. It’s a quiet way to spend a night in one of the quietest countries on the planet.

From Yasawa to Suva in about elenty billion hours

IMG_9025My final morning on Fiji’s Yasawa Islands was as wet as a fat girl with a bag of Doritos, so I sat around like a beached jellyfish until a big yellow boat came and took me back to the mainland. While I enjoyed my time there, the escape couldn’t come quick enough – the weather was a real bummer, and I was sick of being around the same people all the time. Halfway through a game of beach footy it rocked up, and I was out of there.

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If this is your dream holiday destination, start having better dreams

The three-hour ride back was uneventful, but that was only the start of my journey. I was booked in at a hotel in Suva, on the other side of the country, and had no transport booked for the trip. We got into Denerau Island just as it was getting dark, and everyone else soon disappeared to nearby hotels. I was left alone, and asked a random woman at a desk if she could help. She told me that, of all people, the captain of the boat I’d just been on was going to Suva, and I could tag along with him. I was saved!

I had to wait around Denerau for a while, and it’s a joke of a place. Western shops filled with fat white idiots, off on exotic holidays with every speck of exoticness squeezed out. It might’ve been Sydney or something, because it sure as hell didn’t represent anything Fijiian. I just don’t get the point of going on a holiday like that – why not save yourself the hassle and just stay at home with a beer in one hand and yourself in the other?

The Captain (who was named Fabriatore! Seriously, Fabriatore the Fijian boat captain!) and I took a chauffeured car off the island, but that was as luxurious as things got. The car drove us through the shit-sty that is Nadi, before dumping us in a dark alleyway full of very large black men. It felt like the opening scene of a dodgy gay porno, and I was genuinely scared as I got my bags and then packed them away in an ancient red minivan that looked like it could barely make it across the street, let alone across the country. Of course we had to wait around another half hour or so, and I was shitting myself every time a shadowy figure walked past. I’d put all my trust in a bloke who claimed to drive a boat, and now I was in a potentially very dangerous situation.

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Yo, where da palm trees?

The Captain handed me a curry wrap that I scoffed despite knowing it would probably see me painting the inside of my undies brown before long, then we got the call and piled into the minivan. I was relieved to be out of a dangerous situation – for about three seconds. The van had no suspension and appeared to be held together with stickytape and prayers, and there was twice as many people in it as could possibly be safe. We rattled and rolled for a few kilometres, until we stopped and three more people climbed in, including a handsome Indian man who sat on my lap.

His name was Vijay, and he wouldn’t shut up about the power of the mind and other bullshit like that. He was a harmless bloke, but if I wanted an Indian dude bouncing on my lap I would’ve gone to one of those special clubs on Oxford Street, so I was happy when he got off. Like, off the bus – I don’t mean he had an orgasm. Well, maybe he did, who knows.

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Vijay was both well-dressed, and dashingly handsome

Ten minutes down the road there was a loud bang and the van lurched violently to one side. The driver and the two blokes next to him got out, swapped over one of the wheels, and we were rattlin’ and rollin’ down the road again. We crept along some truly atrocious roads, then there was a loud crash as the van shat itself while trying to make it over a speed bump. The driver and his two mates – who, I assume, were only there to help fix the car whenever it died – got out, banged around for 15 minutes, and then we crept into the night. It was absolutely ridiculous, and terrifying, to be in such a shoddy vehicle, speeding through the rainy night.

After five hours of stupidity, we finally rolled into the beautiful city of Suva. Right, that’s a lie – you could replace the ‘v’ in Suva with a ‘w’ and have a pretty apt description of the place. After getting out in the middle of a swarm of the dodgiest dudes you’ve ever seen in your life, The Captain and I jumped in a taxi and headed off again.

“If you don’t want to stay in a hotel, you can sleep at my house tonight,” Fabriatore the smiling Fijian sea captain told me, and I just nodded. I’d heard that people on the islands are more than happy to offer a bed to strangers, but I didn’t want to put him out any further. When I checked into the hotel, said goodbye and thanked him for all his help, he seemed genuinely upset that I hadn’t taken him up on his offer. I hope that I didn’t offend or disrespect him, because I’m truly grateful for his help. Next time, Fab.

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The hotel’s delightful al fresco room

The reward for my nightmare trip was a room in what’s either a flop house or a crack den. The exotically-named City Private Hotel, is horrible – my room is decorated with peeling paint, rat shit and a pair of undies in the corner. I just looked out the window to see a child wandering through the hallways alone, covered in crap. I can hear someone getting punched in one of the other rooms, and two blokes rooting each other somewhere else. The curry wrap has finally kicked in, and a few minutes ago I sprayed the toilet with electric orange splatter, which probably doubled the value of the joint. Oh well, things are definitely looking up, because tomorrow things slow down as I head to the magical land of Tonga. Now it’s time to go to sleep, and I just hope a rat doesn’t shit in my mouth during the night.

IMG_9104I’ll be taking a break from posting stories of my 2013 adventure to Samoa, Fiji and Tonga, and for a good reason. I’m heading to Tasmania for a week and a half, so I’ll be blogging every day about my travels through Australia’s most inbred state! And tomorrow, I’ll be putting up a very special story about the time I went to jail. So join me as the Bauer World Tour takes me to Hobart!