The journal writing has been a bit slack this week, so here’s a quick rundown of the events of the last 7 days.
Day 17 – Sunday 27th September
I went to church at 7:30 and returned to Ragg Street. My hosts were hosting the local Bahai group downstairs. I wrote dozens of pages of letters home by hand. If you’re really special your letter should be arriving in the next couple of days, if it hasn’t got there already. I kept plowing through my collection of podcasts and sermon recordings.
Michael awoke at midday and arranged for us to go to the movies with Lawrence, the producer from Mix FM. During the previews before the previous week’s horror horror movie, Case 39, we had seen the shorts for the new Bruce Willis movie Surrogates and that’s what we went to see. it was good, set in the current day in an alternate timeline where a corporation has convinced the market that living is too dangerous and would be much better if we all stayed inside and lived through robotic “Surrogates” (why we would go to the bother of manufacturing robots when we could link up to an electronic Matix-like system I don’t know).
Day 18 – Monday 28th September
On the way to the station, I posted a whole bunch of the letters I had written the previous day. At work, I finally finished arranging the music library by decade. This allowed me to give the program director, assistant program director and IT guy an introduction to StationPlaylist, the new automation system that they are considering buying. Mavis, the assistant PD was very impressed when with the click of a button and a 1 minute wait I scheduled enough music for a week, a job that usually takes her hours with the current system.
Day 19 – Tuesday 29th September
I arrived at work to find that the scheduled announcer meeting had been postponed, an not-too-common occurrence during my visit. I gave some more detailed training in StationPlaylist to the PD and had a good meeting with the Station Manager. Australian Business Volunteers require me to write a number of reports during my trip and we did the first one together. I wished we had done this closer to the start of my trip as it provided some background and brought up more areas that require attention.
Day 20 – Wednesday 30th September
We woke up before 6am and hurried to get down to the Post Office to catch the bus that would take us to Port Denarau. The ATM was not working, so Michael ran to one down the street to try and get some more spending money. That ATM was also not working.
Piling in to the bus, we listened to Mix FM during the heavily air conditioned trip to the Port, via Nadi. Port Denarau itself is a very posh area, with lots of middle-aged ex-pats going for their morning run.
We took seats on the top deck of the catamaran that would take us to Beachcomber Island (map). This was the first time Michael had ever been on a boat (this trip has held a lot of firsts for him). After stopping at 2 other islands and taking lots of photos we boarded the little boat that transferred us to “the Party Island”. As we hopped in, a young lady who had been staying there was boarding the catamaran to go back to the mainland. She looked a little green and recommended going easy on the rum.
Beachcomber Island itself is a postcard. It takes about 10 minutes to talk around the entire shoreline. The beach itself is not so much sand as very small pieces of coral, which is a little tough on my usually beshoed(?) feet.
We swam in the morning. During the afternoon, I stayed inside and read Frankenstein while Michael fell asleep in the sun. I gave him some panadol, but his sunburn still prevented him from getting a good sleep.
Day 21 – Thursday 1st October
Breakfast at Beachcomber finishes at 9am. As is typically for me on holiday, I slept in too long to partake in this legendary occasion.
Arising a little later, I made my way to the main eating area where there is a large flat screen TV. Anna Coren, formerly of 7’s TodayTonight, was reading the news on CNN and informed us of an earthquake and tsunami in Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga. The first we heard of any threat to Fiji was that the tsunami warning had been cancelled.
Unperterbed, we continued with out regemen of swimming and staying out of the sun.
Day 22 – Friday 2nd October
Our final day on Beachcomber began with breakfast! They lay on quite a spread. I had the last pancake and a beautiful ham and cheese omelet, which was cooked in front of me.
Our bunks had to be cleared before checkout time, 10am. It wasn’t much fun dragging my little backpack around the island for the rest of the day, but I still had a good time.
At 5pm we boarded the catamaran back to Port Denarau. I could say that it was sad to go, but I was actually looking forward to getting back to the mainland after a refreshing few days. That’s a bit sad, isn’t it?
The bus trip back to Lautoka took longer than I expected, but if it had been just a little longer I could have finished the last 8 pages of Frankenstein.
Michael and I walked from the bus terminal to Mix FM, where we expected the staff to be waiting for us. Apparently they had either forgotten that Michael was flying out the next morning, or had just stopped waiting for us. Michael said goodbye to the announcer on duty and we headed back to Ragg Street.
Day 23 – Saturday 3rd October
Michael’s alarm went off about 5 am. His flight was due to depart at 9 am, which meant being at Nadi International Airport at 7 am. I went with Verona to drop him off. It will be strange being here on my own. He was looking forward to getting back to Australia, although his sunburn will likely be giving him trouble for days to come.
Verona and I did the Saturday shop, visiting a couple of shops and the local market. I then went in to Mix FM with Richard. I had expected to meet with the announcers at 11 am, but a message came through the night before saying that it had been called off. I spoke to the manager about it and he rescheduled it for 10 am Monday morning. I set up my laptop in the production studio and worked on a basic introduction to StationPlaylist.
Soon we went to Shirley Park to check arrangements for the attempt at making the world’s largest Kava mix. Mix FM is running the event on Fiji Day, but I’ll miss out on it as I fly out that morning.
Back at the station, I sat in on the events team’s planning meeting for the record attempt, then went back to working on the introduction book. It was slow going and when Lawrence and Kim suggested going to lunch, I jumped at the chance. We went to a nice little place owned by friends of their mother. It took a little while to be served, but the lasagna was delicious!
Returning to the station we worked for another half an hour, but decided that 2 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon wasn’t a very productive time to be working, so we tied up our immediate tasks and knocked off.
I wrote a blog post for our church blog, GracePresbyterianWodonga.wordpress.com, about the service the coming day. Dad would be out of the parish for the ordination of a new elder at Yea, so members of the congregation would be leading the service of worship and preaching. I wished I could have been there.
Day 24 – Sunday 4th October
For my last Sunday in Lautoka I had hoped to visit a local Presbyterian Reformed congregation, but I put off getting their details until late on Saturday. Richard and Verona informed me that they were going to visit friends at Singatoka and I would be most welcome to join them, assuming I would be ready to go at 9am, the time I usually got back from the early service at the Methodist Church. I decided that it was easier to stick with my usual arrangement, although it meant missing out on meeting some Fijian Pressies.
The Methodists were having a pulpit swap, so the preacher was the pastor of the church at Ba (40 km up the coast). After saying goodbye to the folks there I got picked up for the 2 hour trip to Singatoka. Even the trip to Beachcomber Island hadn’t taken me more than 30km from Lautoka.
Austin and Kim are friends of Richard and Verona’s form the Bahai group in Suva. We were shown the many projects underway at their farm in a valley half an hour’s drive from Singatoka. They are trialing a number of crops and buying more land for revegetation. They were very welcoming.
After the drive back to Lautoka I settled down to listen to some podcasts, then had some lovely pumpkin soup that Verona made from a pumpkin Austin and Kim gave us that afternoon. Yum!
It’s less than a week until I return to Australia, so I have to get all the little projects I’ve been working on finished or passed on to someone on staff. The work I’ve done and the training that’s been going on will have to continue long after I leave.
Labels: Bahai, Fiji, Methodist, Presbyterian