Each time I see a new place, I privately play the game of, "Would I be happy living here permanently?" My reactions for Fiji, mostly happy ones, aren't based entirely on Fiji's miles of white beaches, her rattling palms, the variety of her villages, or the dramatic hill country. I can find these things in dozens of Pacific destinations and, as much as I love most of them, none are choices for my declining years.
Fiji has the required qualities - among them, space, and lots of it. Viti Levu, the big island where Suva and Nadi are, has 4,000 square miles. Vanua Levu, the next island in size, has 2,000 square miles. And then there are the smaller ones: Ovalau, Taveuni, Koro, Kandavu, Bau, the Lau group - and hundreds of other tiny dots of land.
The people, 700,000 of them, are varied too. There are native Fijians, Polynesians, Indians, Chinese, and a fair sprinkling of expatriate Australians, New Zealanders, English, and Americans. Some of them like me require a city, perhaps not to live in, but at least available. Suva is such a place. It's small, in places it's tatty and hodge-podge, but it fits my specifications. When you're hungry, the best Indian and Chinese food in the Pacific is available. Mexican, Indonesian, and Italian food can be found too, or you can dine in splendor at a wide range of stylish restaurants. When you're thirsty, you can drink in an English or Australian pub, and when you feel poorly, good medical and dental care is available. For housing, something like $75,000 will provide you with a nice home in Suva, or you can live in the country-club environment of Pacific Harbor, 35 miles away.
The University of the Pacific provides cultural resources if you want them and, because Fiji is such a Pacific crossroads, flights leave daily for Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Europe, and the Far East. This is the most comprehensive guide to these islands. Where to stay, where to eat, how to get around, what to see and do. All of the practical information you need is spelled out in detail. And hundreds of color photos bring the islands alive!
©2013 Hunter Publishing (P)2014 Hunter Publishing