Cruising the South Pacific with Tackless II
Tackless II, along with her two captains, Don and Gwen, cruise from Fiji to Australia
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
15 June 2007 Palmlea – Part 2 – Intro to Labasa
I am foreswearing champagne. We both woke the next morning with headaches but hustled ashore after breakfast to catch a ride into Labasa with Joe and Julie.

Labasa is a very different town from Savusavu. It is bigger, with an actual downtown several streets deep. And it is livelier with barkers announcing store specials and crowds of people hurrying along shopping. And it is much more strongly Indian. Since Indo-Fijians own the lion's share of all "businesses" in Fiji (while the ethnic Fijians own the lion's share of the land), that may seem like it would be obvious. But in Labasa, most of the shoppers are Indians, too, the ladies scurrying along wrapped in their saris.

First stop was Asco Motors for a new propeller. Out of stock, but will have by Tuesday, after the upcoming three-day weekend. Same story at Vodaphone, where we ordered an external antenna for our Fijian cellular broadband card. (Sitting at anchor off Palmlea we are picking up a signal from Labasa. The antenna will just make it stronger!) Our next stop was the post office where we worked hard to post a thank-you note to James & Pearlie. The address on their card was not really a mailing address, but the workers knew who were they were, so the letter ended up posted on a bulletin board to be passed on when they saw them! Then we nipped in a store to look at a proper sulu for Don, but left without as they didn't have his size in a good color.

Next stop was the open market, which was also quite a bit bigger than Savusavu's. Julie was looking for fish, while we were looking for eggs, tomatoes and lettuce. The market was followed by a stop at the Labasa Morris & Hedstrom supermarket (M&H), which may have between twice the size of the market in Savusavu, but offered substantially less in "gringo" products. Still, we could restock on the basics.

Upon our return midday, the tide was out again, so J&J were "forced" to feed us lunch. Their kitchen gals whipped us up a round of cheeseburgers, while Joe plied us with his notebooks full of DVDs to watch while here (in exchange, of course, for ours!) Mid-afternoon we went back the boat to stow our groceries, before coming back in for another fine dinner of Basque chicken. Without other guests, we were much more prompt about getting back to the dinghy, about two hours after the 6pm high tide.

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