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March 2012 Postcards From Paradise

March 2012 Postcards From Paradise

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Published by Rhiannon Petty
Adventure newsletter of couple who upstixd and moved to Fiji to build a diving resort
Adventure newsletter of couple who upstixd and moved to Fiji to build a diving resort

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Published by: Rhiannon Petty on Apr 27, 2012
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04/30/2012

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Breathe Deep Divers
Paradise ahoy!
 Volume 1, Issue 1
 After months, no, what musthave seemed like years to you guys with us going onand on about it...we are final-ly Fiji Bound. (This is differentto being egg-bound, in factpretty much directly oppo-site!) With trepidation, excite-ment, and at times all outpanic, we bid a tearful adieuto one and all in the UK. If all
goes well, we shan‘t be re-
turning to these shores forsome time. We know there
are some trials ahead; I‘m
expecting a mixture of Para-dise Lost, Paradise Found andLord of the Flies; but if wecan face them with a smileand a touch of sun burn, wecan do this. And then youcan all get those cheap holi-days we promised...workingholidays mind you! A bigthank you to everyone whohas listened to us drone onabout diving in Fiji, stumpedup their own hard earnedcash to help us and givenadvice, warnings, inspirationand support. Also a specialthanks to MJ & Chris for look-ing after my baby Stimpson J.Cat
 —
I know he is in greathands there. Doog andBun
 —
for the web and designside, and Grumpy for the IT tech support.
March 2012
Expats
 —
avoid! 2 A little language lesson 2Meet Harry 2 At one with nature? 3Rats 4
 —
 -Visitors 1 3Picture Gallery 4 Jungle John 8
Inside this issue:
We‘d been staying in the
village of Natuvu about 20minutes by boat away from
our bay. It‘s a free clinic and
hotel run by 7th Day Advent-ists. Who are extremely reli-gious. A week of being there(with lovely generous kindpeople) had me swearing likea drunken sailor as soon as I
got out. I think I‘d been sav-
ing it up! We were collectedby Harry Covert the formerowners caretaker (I was pic-turing a black version of Riff Raff from The Rocky HorrorPicture show). He turned outto be disappointingly noth-ing like that
 —
toothless grinand 8 feet tall
 —
very Fijian.With a bit of European bloodthrown in several genera-tions ago. And round the bay he brought us. Just asbreathtaking as the firsttime...So with hopes that Karen(Johns sis) has finally stoppedcrying and will one day speakto me again after I stole her
baby brother… here we go.
 
Packed and ready to go
Postcards from Paradise
The big arrival
 
Well we are now officially ―ex=pats‖. I‘mnot sure what it means, but it‘s nice to be
allowed to join the club. In what I think isan understandable need for a little advicefrom people with a similar cultural back-ground, who have successfully moved toFiji and in an attempt to ease into thenew culture gradually we sought out theadvice of other ex-pats wherever wecould. Mostly Americans, Auzzies and
Kiwis, it‘s probably fair to question thecultural similarity, but it‘s at least sort of 
similar. Wow! what a bunch of horrorstories, of shattered dreams, brokenhearts, depleted bank accounts and talesof murder, theft and regret. In a few 
short days I‘ve gone from seeing the Fiji-
an people, as famed, for smiles and hospi-tality, to seeing bloodthirsty, sharp
toothed cannibal pirates. We‘ve comehere to die haven‘t we ?!?!?!
 The first night in the TOTAL darkness of Nasau Bay after sundown, was spentwaiting for a wild man wielding a ma-chete to hack into the tent and feast onour brains. Well it was for me anyway 
 — John‘s ―subtle‖ snores indicated he hadno such concern. Thankfully we‘d al-
ready been introduced to our murder inwaiting
 —
nice to put a name to the crazedeyes. Sepo the huge guy who lives nextdoor. However, as Dawn came by withher soothing vampire, cannibal slaying
rays, and all the things that went ―bump―
in the night (or shrieked, squealed, thud,and roared) buggered off. We were in-deed still alive - Sepo must have been onthe Cava. Or maybe just not a crazedpirate and a really nice guy?are grown up and in the city and work-ing, Robert is handicapped needing 24hour care and still living with them. Itsays a lot that they can cope with thatkind of strain with no doctors, or welfareand with a social stigma attached to disa-
bility that UK hasn‘t seen to such a de-gree for decades. He‘s a good man, a
good worker and he and Maria have big
hearts and smiles to match. It‘s alsothanks to Harry‘s night fishing expedi-
tions that I am not yet vegetarian!Harry Covert. Caretaker of this landthrough the last 3 owners. Harry livesnext door (a field away, past the creekand some trees). Harry is 62 years oldand climbs tree s like a 6 year old. Harry is married to the lovely Maria who some-times sends us fresh bread, so I love her.They have an indeterminate number of kids, uncles and cousins living with them.Indeterminate because it changes mostdays and family trees in Fiji are complex
to say the least. It certainly isn‘t your 2.4
kid nuclear family here. Some of the kids
Ex-pats...scary bunch!Meet Harry 
Page 2 Postcards from Paradise
Here are a few basics that you will needwhen visiting.Bula
 —
literally means life, but Fijians usethis to say hello, how are, you welcome,and frankly whenever short of anythingelse to say.Yandra is good morning and Moce(mothe) is goodbye or goodnight.Vinaka
 —
is thank you, and Vinaka Vakale-vu means thank you very much.
 
Please is Kirikiri, but this also describes thegeneral concept of Fijian culture
 —
thatland, possessions and time are shared
and don‘t belong to anyone.
Determined not be the typical Britabroad, eating Sunday roast in the RedLion (I could murder a Sunday roastthough) , I SHALL be learning Fijian. Andso shall you ;-)Everything sounds pretty much just like itis written, with the emphasis on the lastbut one syllable. There are a couple of letters that sound different to ours (b ismb, d is nd, g is a soft ng, while q is ahard g sound and a c is pronounced as ath.
 A little language lesson
“If the locals don‟t understand you,
simply speak more slowly and loudly 
until they do. They‟ll get it eventually”
 An Idiot.
 
rats are doubly incontinent? And they go A LOT. Every day since then has beena morning routine of clearing up after the
rats, bleaching everything that doesn‘t
move, before touching or using it. Thenon a night as it starts to get dark, we packall our gear from the day up, move it tothe tent and lock down as much as possi-ble to stop the rats getting to it. So far wehave lost 1 loaf of bread, 1 scouring pad& sponge, 1 plastic bottle of soya beanoil, THE BLOODY MARMITE & 1 plastic
Technically we aren‘t visitors, but where
the rats are concerned, it certainly feelslike it. It was the 2nd morning when werealized there was a rat problem. Wewent into the house and unlocked tosee all hell had broken loose. Our stuff had moved, been eaten, the side of the
food cabinet (they call them food safe‘s
here due to the mozzie mesh) had beeneaten away and one had gotten into thefood cupboard and eaten the flour andour one loaf of bread. Did I mention thatsuction thingy. They have lost one of 
their number to John‘s catapult. So we
have lost the battle for March, but come April there will be traps and poison. Ihave to say it goes against a lot of thegreen eco at one with nature principles
we came here with, and we aren‘t rat
haters per se .. We even had pet rats for awhile, but wild one that have taken over your house, with who knows what dis-
eases… different story completely. Unless
anyone knows an actual Pied Piper???
Rats 4, Visitors 1
It‘s a great idea—
back to the land, organ-ic produce, visions of my arse turning
into Felicity Kendall‘s arse, and Margot
from next door peering at me as I man-handle a pitchfork in a competent confi-dent purposeful sort of a way.
Yeah well. In the first 3 days here I‘d hit
myself in the head with a rake, nearly sliced the end of my thumb off, and had3 blistered burnt fingers all bandagedup. Numerous incidents with creepy 
crawlies bigger than my head. I daren‘t
go to the long drop loo without Johnchecking it first and sod flip flops
 —
hikingboots all the way!!
So there‘s sand flies, obviously mosquitos,
falling coconuts (well it is a coconut plan-tation gone jungle). Those are annoying,but the rats are the big deal here.. In fact
they‘re getting their own story. But fortu-
nately they have distracted me from theother creepies. The cockroaches, thetermites, the hornets. Actually I think itmight be the numerous hornet nests thatare actually holding the old house to-gether. At night it is another world again. I lovethe huge bats
 —
flying foxes or fruit bats,massive Dracula looking things they are -such a beautiful silhouette against thesun set. Periodically wild boar squeal inthe distance and at dusk the cane toadscome out from their holes. Thousands of 
them. I‘m not exaggerating. They sit
there dumb struck that some idiot hasput a tent up over their house, and keeptrying to jump onto the tent. Then thereare the animals that live here legitimate-ly .. If you see what I mean. The threeducks are great. None of them canquack, Duckman, Bernice and Corn-fed.They follow you around constantly hope-ful that food is coming their way. Thedozen or so chickens are a bit more cau-tious, apart from their tendency to flutterinto the kitchen and lay an occasionalegg for us. The big cockerel
 —‖King Chick-en‖ has kindly moved gradually closer to
the tent for his 5am alarm clock call. Isuspect he will be finding himself in that
Sunday Roast pretty soon if he doesn‘t
can it.The cattle that was here when we arrived
have been evicted and fenced out (can‘t
trust them not to trample on the tents).
Horses likewise, but they are Harry‘s so
we let him bring them in during the day 
to eat the grass. We don‘t have a
lawnmower yet! Harry says we can goriding any time. No saddles, stirrups, justa bit of rope through the horsesmouth...hmmm arse over tit springs tomind. The big bonus though has beenthe orchard. Paw paws, limes, bread-fruit , bananas and custard apples arecurrently ripe. And the big winner, themost perfect avocadoes, the size of my head, not a bruise or a blemish, creamy,
firm, heavenly organic gardeners‘ por-
nography.
The thing about being at one with nature… is all the bloody nature
 
Page 3Volume 1, Issue 1
“Creamy, firm, heavenly organicgardeners‟ pornography”
 
Duckman, Bernice & Corn
-
fed
 

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1 hundred reads
Suzanne Ineichen added this note
really really wish we were with you, but if nothing else I can read about it for now. Depending how things go, we plan to visit so we need regular weather report's on the best time to come to Fiji (not rain like last time). Nothing but rain here at the moment so you are not missing anything, Flower show last week so town was full of visiter's. Whish I was in Fiji!
Malcolm Keyte added this note
What a great read Rhi and John - a far cry from Harrogate! It was funny to read that John is 'expecting' his first birth of spiders I suppose that is what happens now John has gone native. I bet he reading Robinson Cruseo as his bedtime reading. Just becareful that he doesnt expect you to do a Joanna Lumley and use you bra as shoes. Now if you need a delivery of Marmite just shout. Malc. Xxx
Dave Pratt added this note
I too feel a book coming on, several if what's happened in the past two months is anything to go by...

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