Monday, February 17, 2014

Scott and Ann’s Visit (Part 1)–February 13-16, 2014

Thursday – Scott and Ann Arrive

Finally – a visit from home!!!

Scott and Ann arrived early Thursday morning and we picked them up at the Nausori (Suva) Airport.  They arrived wearing flowers and got off the plane in the rain.

We took them to our house – showed them around a bit and we decided to drive out to that lovely beach we visited.  Who knew that Scott was such a tender flower?  The jet lag, time change, crooked roads and pot holes took their toll and he got car sick.  And to top it off when we got to the beach it was covered with debris and the water was full of sticks and mud – thanks to all the rain in the highlands.  But we enjoyed the beach a bit then headed back.  They announced that McDonalds sounded good to them – at least Ann did – Scott wasn’t really into food by then.

That evening we took in a temple session and Scott discovered the joy of wearing flip flops and no socks.  I think he could get used to this life style.

Friday – Navua River Village Tour

Next morning the sun was out and the sky was blue and we headed for the “Jewel of Fiji” trip up the Navua River.  Elder and Sister Peterson had a day off and went with us. 

It was beautiful, even if the river water was the color of chocolate milk because of the rain.  We visited the village and watched the Kava ceremony and the dancing and we even took part a bit.  Then we watched them uncover our lovo dinner and we watched them weave mats, paint on tapa cloth and heard all about coconuts.  Then a quick visit to the pre-school for some good singing.  Lunch followed and a bit of souvenir purchasing.

We climbed back into the long boats for the hour ride up to the waterfall.  By this time the clouds were getting darker and closer.  We were in a boat with two girls from Australia and the company photographer.  About half way there the rain began – in earnest.  It was warm, but it stung your face and it was hard to keep your eyes open.

By the time we got to the waterfall it was raining about as hard as I have ever seen it rain.  We started up the concrete trail, and by now the water was running down the trail.  The higher we got the faster the water was coming down the trail.  As we looked up we could see that there were places all along the trail where the water was pouring down the hills and bringing rocks along with it.  Dew and I turned back, and soon Ann caught up with us.

The Peterson’s and Scott had gone up ahead and had already passed over the worst flooding area.  As we waited the river water got higher and higher.  One girl was standing by our boat on the concrete path and within 5 minutes the water was up to her ankles.  By the time we left they figured the river had risen 2 feet in about 50 minutes.

The boat boys ran up to help those who had passed the flooded area.  Luckily Scott and Sister Peterson were able to get back and were soon in our boat.  Elder Peterson was still up there.  And then we saw those who had been caught on the other side of the flooded area, they had to cross the river holding onto a rope and climb up a very steep hill and come over to the boats another way.

But they were able to get back to the boats and our Aussie girls told us they were never so happy to see anyone in their lives.  Our tour guide was our only casualty, his foot got hit with a large rock and it broke his little toe.  He limped on that broken toe all the way down with the girls.

When we were all safely back in the boats and  headed back down the river, we all agreed it was the best trip we could remember.  Wet, exciting and lots of fun.  Scott said it was the best trip he had ever been on!

After our adventure ended we drove to Pacific Harbor and went swimming at the Pearl’s beach.  By then it was perfect and the water was great.  Then we took a quick dip in the pool, changed clothes and had dinner at the Pearl before heading home for the night.

Saturday – Takalana and the Spinner Dolphins

Saturday we were up early and drove the two hours out to the Takalana Eco Resort.  The roads were still wet and gooey from the rain the day before and we decided to walk down the last quarter mile to make sure we didn’t get the car stuck.

It was a lovely day and we sat on the deck and enjoyed our lemon tea (lemon leaves and hot water) and pancakes.  Then we hiked down to the water and climbed in the boat.

Now this was no ordinary boat – it was what you might call “the bare minimum”.  They had put plywood in part of it to make a flat bottom and the rest you had to just walk on the ribs of the frame.  The anchor was rebar and you had to be very careful not to impale yourself on it as you inched your way to the front of the boat.

But the boys were great – the water was beautiful and off we went.  We went out to where the dolphins were and they were everywhere.  They loved to get in the front of the boat and cruise along with us.  We were told that they usually don’t spin until later in the day and we only saw one spinner, but they were having a wonderful time alongside the boat.

Ann said, “look at this, if we were in Hawaii there would be at least 100 boats all out here and here we are the only boat”.  After we watched the dolphins for a while we went over to the reef and did a bit of snorkeling.  By this time the clouds were thickening and we got a bit of rain, but nothing like the day before.

Then we went back to see the dolphins again and Scott decided he needed to go in and see if he could see them up close.  So they told him to hang on the side of the boat and go in quietly, ha he did a cannon ball and scared them all away.  He said he could see two of them as they swam off in the other direction.

After our lunch we headed back to clean up and get ready for a special cultural event that was planned for the evening.  Elder Anderson and his wife (the apostle) were here to visit.  We bought a pizza at a local shop and Scott encountered more culture shock – which he acknowledged was good for him to experience.  And we had a good laugh at his expense as well.  The cultural evening was amazing, if a bit warm.  It was very hot and humid.

Sunday – Off to their Island Adventure

Sunday we attended our stake conference and then headed back to Pacific Harbor.  Had lunch and then took Scott and Ann to catch the shuttle boat out to the island resort where they will stay for the next 5 days.  This should be one posh stay for them.  Talk about seeing both sides of Fiji. 


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