Fiji in the perfect picture

When you think of the perfect picture of Fiji, you would probably imagine a beautiful sunrise or sunset over the ocean, palm trees, sandy beaches, etc.  That is certainly all here in abundance, but there is another side that the average tourist may not spot from a resort.   The picture above has it all.  Here are my friends and I stretching on the side of a taxi stand after a "race" of sorts.   It's raining hard as I took this shot (typical Suva).   You can see a bag of smashed kava root hanging in a white grocery bag hanging on the side of the stand.   This is used to make grog or kava.   There are two plastic bowls there with bilos (coconut shells) in the bowls used to mix and drink the grog from.  There is also a rag hanging, used to strain the kava.    The two random office/car seats seem to be everywhere where people may wait or gather (car wash, taxi stands, etc).  To top it off, there is the Suva Bowling Club sign (lawn bowling) and a Fiji water bottle right there.    I also have to mention my two awesome running buddies that make Suva more of a home to me.    LOVE this picture!

After my run, I came home to Andie having ukulele lessons and voice lessons with Mr. Tim and her friend.  LOVE that she is feeding that creative side of her personality and learning the uke too!  

Yesterday I dropped Mere off at school for her second term.  I felt like such a dumb expat. I dropped her off at her old dorm thinking that I would be in and out in 10 minutes.  Of course, nothing like that ever happens quickly in Fiji.  I had no idea what a process it was!   We got told to go to the office where Mere and I (and my girls + friend) had to wait in a forever line to be checked back into school.   Once we reached the front, I realized that I wasn't even thinking and didn't bring any money to pay Mere's school fees.  I was thinking, "Oh well, I will just tell them I will bring it tomorrow morning."  When I told the administrative assistants this, they looked at me with raised eyebrows and said I needed to wait to ask the principal about that.  ANOTHER long line.  I waited and he said that I had to pay something at least or she would not get her spot in school, nor a bed.   I ransacked the car for money, drove all around the area looking for an ATM, and finally came up with a very small amount of cash stashed away in the glove compartment.   I ran back in just in the nick of time, and secured her spot and bed!   The whole time, I felt like such a dumb American who had no idea of school processes and formality here.  The girls and I finally left over an hour later, starving!   I did go back today to pay the rest.   Mere is in school and doing well! Phew!