This evening dullwittedness may have protected us from catching the land bug on our first exposure to land ownership in Fiji. It was after five when we loaded into our friends Steve and Iretta's new four-door 4WD Mazda truck for the drive up to their new place. As we turned right and left and skewed this way and that up the steep and muddy dirt road, they talked about what a nice walk it was up to their place! Perhaps, but we haven't a clue where we went, except generally west along the southwestward jutting point leading to Point Passage.
If You Bury the Anchor, Will It Grow?
Steve and Iretta's one-acre lot is high on a ridge in the midst of dense rainforest, and the view NW down a V-shaped valley looks out across the expansive Savusavu Bay to the layered mountain ranges of Vanua Levu. The new house, about three weeks shy of completion, is a sensible 1000 square-foot, two-bedroom abode with a nice-sized living room and kitchen opening onto a full deck across the back. A team of local guys has been busy clearing out the various plants and vines that run rampant if given half a chance, and Steve and Iretta have been moving in the more decorative flowering and fruit-bearing species. I saw banana and papaya and coconut, as well as a bush with tiny little hot peppers. They say you can plant a hammer here and it will grow! A creek chatters by along one edge of the property and towering rain trees spread their beautiful canopies overhead. We took the tour hearing the vision of gardens here and a guest bure there (all right!), and then, as dark settled, lit the lantern (no power as yet) and cracked open the cooler full of iced Fiji Bitter to the music of forest night critters.
Steve and Iretta are not sole pioneers in their home-building here. More than a few other cruisers we've known have done the same, and now of course, we're meeting the local gang -- some new investors, others who've been here for years and years. Normally, Don and I are suckers for this kind of thing; our imaginations taking flight at the mere suggestion of an opportunity. Here is the best of Fiji, a beautiful terrain, a friendly town, decent provisioning, good air service. There's even a simpatico yacht club watering hole and a truly fine new restaurant seconds away. They even speak English! What's not to like?
So it's got to be jet lag, the heat and the long project list that's got us moving so slowly. Maybe a little grandson withdrawal to boot. Already, having the sails back on and the boat cleaned up has sparked our spirits. What we need is a few nights on the hook and a good swim!
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