Sugar City: Lautoka, Fiji
Laying on my stomach on the bed typing while the rain pours from the heavens outside. All the windows stay open in Fiji, so I have to turn up Amos Lee on my laptop to hear him sing about windows rolled down and the moon hanging low.
It rains every afternoon here during the rainy season, which we are in, of course. We walked home in the rain from Lautoka the first day we were in Fiji. Headed there the air was hot and humid. Saki took us on a shortcut into town. We walked through dirt paths next to cassava plants and rounded the corner at the police station.
The town itself was bustling. Not a big town by any means. Most of the buildings seemed to be on the verge of falling apart and car exhaust filled the air. We walked past a movie theatre, a host of clothing stores, some cell phone providers, and plenty of Internet cafes–one of which we visited. It really wasn’t anything more than a room with about 25 computer cubicles. The kind you might find in libraries with a little wooden door on hinges that closes behind you.
It was such a strange dichotomy to realize that yes, I was still in Fiji, the lush, exotic, tropical paradise we see in magazines, while I walked past Indian owned stores smelling of incense and heard Katy Perry’s Firework blaring from the stores then following me down the sidewalk.
But our second exposure made me realize that Lautoka is a beautiful city filled with beautiful people, not just car exhaust.
We walked with Kelera to the park by the ocean yesterday. We took a different shortcut up a hill by the hospital, which afforded us some gorgeous views.
Our final destination was the Lautoka park by the ocean, where we saw people running and walking on the path next to the water. Kelera told us this was also where teenagers would come for secret dates, since dating is not really allowed here until you turn 18.
Leaving here is so bittersweet. We are excited to move on to the next chapter in our journey (and see our good friends Ashley & Justin!), but even after one short week, we’ve made life-long friends here in Fiji.