nb: more about Fiji weather and floods here...
Rhys wrote this in an email the other day...
Heard you had some rain there, are your roads like these ones?"
and attached was a very nice power point presentation of some Russian roads, here are some examples... (these two photos below are taken from the power point and are definitely not mine. to whomever took them, thank you for the use!)...
Actually it was pretty fascinating (thanks Igor) and reminded me of when Charley and Ewan took on the Road of Bones in Russia in the series Long Way Round, an absolutely amazing TV series which is now out on dvd. If you haven't seen it then go and buy a copy, its great. Myself I am absolutely in awe of the skills of their motorbiking chief cameraman, Claudio VonPlanta, the cinematography was beautiful. But I digress... I was discussing the weather of course.
Well it started raining last Friday, and raining with a vengeance. GB was out in town, and we had a farewell to go to- Louise, Murray and their three children, off to Brisbane (where's that sad emoticon when you need it!). I foolishly blow dried my hair, and went to catch the boat...it was the Seahorse 1 (our open sided cargo boat). When we arrived, head to toe drenched at Vuda, I commented it could've been worse- it could've been the Seahorse 2 (a "long boat" previously seen here in the mad dogs and Englishman post...). "Actually" said Toby "it could've been the Seahorse 3"! To explain- the Seahorse 3 is little more than a raft, built by our six year old,Tom. It does however have a little cup for bailing (the bilge cup) and a very nice Fijian flag on the back!
GB and I headed into town for the (no kids under 30) farewell, and since it's still pouring with rain with several hours to kill we go to Bulaccino for coffee and tapas. The river is well up, and all the local kids have gathered to jump off the bridge, with lots of whoops and yells in the persisting rain (you know what I mean- it was persisting down)(D200 and 18-200VR lens for the GAAC girls).
It continues to pour down, and we nearly don't get the boat back due to adverse conditions, but it eases off and we go (yay for GPS!). Just as we thought we were going to have to be one of those dodgy couples who check into a hotel with no luggage... Shame... Back at the island it's raining heavily too (unusual- it often rains on the mainland, but not out here at the island), and our house is filling with water every time it gets extra hard. Monday am, still raining, and I empty six buckets of water from the house out the back door, another six by lunch when the maintenance guys arrive and in desperation tie a tarpaulin over the whole roof!
But while I'm playing Mrs Mop (with help from Yabaki) we have of course put the kids on the boat to school (they leave 6.30am), with extra dry clothes to put on when they get there! The school rings just after 8am- they're closing, would we like the children to catch the bus back or will we pick them up? Why? Nadi is flooding... Alice tells us when they get home off the boat that they were riding along in the school bus and things didn't look right. First at the bridge by Vuda the water was nearly over the cane train rails- but it wasn't even near high tide. Then closer to Nadi there was a two story house- but only the top story was sticking out of the water! They arrived at school, but no classes started. Then they were put back into bus lines again, and were off home, this time not along the back road (which unbeknown to them was now closed) but across to Nadi and home via Namaka. They were shocked at Nadi to see the water was nearly right up to Bulaccino's balcony (where I had been taking photos from), but otherwise got home without incident.
What happened next we saw on the news, in the newspaper, and heard from the Bulaccino staff. The river breached its banks and flowed into Nadi town. The military moved in and blocked off town to stop looters and help with evacuation. At Bulaccino the water didn't get in, though it did come right up to the balcony. They continued to trade, in fact they had a stranded bus of tourists, so as the barista said " the faces were unfamiliar, but we were busy!" (Bulaccino is a bit of a locals haunt- the sign of a good eatery of course). These photos are also not mine- from the morning papers on Tuesday...
On Tuesday, with Nadi's main street now resembling Rhys's Russian road pictures, the schools are mostly closed, including ISN. So the kids stay at home, but GB is flying out to Australia on the first leg of a trip to Europe and Japan, so we go out on the early boat to take him to the airport. As we pass Vuda one of the families is at the bus stop (!), so we pull up and say "Mate! School's closed!" to which he answers, lightening quick "I don't care, I'm going to send them anyway!!"
I run GB to the airport (more sad emoticons required here Marla), but with time to kill before Air NZ opens, and the next boat departure from Vuda I decide to sneak into town for a look/ coffee/ some raisin toast (well the boat did leave home at 6.30am). The river had dropped, but was still running very high. It may not be Russia (much warmer that's for sure), but I'll put in the photos for you anyway...There's one off the balcony, and one of the balcony!
So sorry Rhys, you can't back out- on the way home that day I paid for your tickets! Have a good week everyone else...mcb
PS guess what we did with the kids at home- we went snorkeling! ... and despite the foul weather it was great. A whole lot of people saw apparently the most amazing school of squid (I missed that), and remember we said the turtles love jelly fish? Well we discovered fish like them too (poor things).