There were 10 of us who lived in the Waqavuka (flying canoe) flats. On the first floor: Phil our only non-American (he’s German) and Brandon from Connecticut; on the second floor: Matt and Dave roomed together and the two Christophers; on the top floor: Morgan and Elise, and then Olivia and I.
USP- Matt’s Photo
The flats were tucked away in the back corner of campus, at the top of a trail filled with breadfruit, coconut, and paw paw trees. For some reason, the two tiny hills and set of stairs at the beginning would always feel like such a trek. Our campus was filled with coconut trees and a mixture of Fijians and Indo-Fijians. Accross the street from campus was Sports City– land of Cost-u-Less and Govindas. Cost-u-Less aka Cost-u-more looks like a Costco/ BJ’s/ Sam’s Club and is the only place where we could get American goods. Govindas is an Indian take away/ restaurant with the best vegetarian curries for a decent price (expensive for us poor college students but comparatively cheap; with USD$4 you could get 2 roti’s, 2 curries, and a samosa).
Getting around Suva was very easy. Anytime we wanted to go to town, we would walk to the bus stop no more than 2 minutes away, catch a bus who’s music was more often than not blasting the typical pop garbage we’d head back at home. These buses with their open frame windows would take us to town for just FJD 70 cents. The most beautiful route to take was the Lucala Bay bus which would take us along the sea wall.
The shopping center in town called MHCC was the place to be. 3 floors high, it seemed always to be packed with shoppers and hungry students. The whole 3rd floor is a food court decorated with Fijian, Chinese, and Indian cuisines. The Market in town provided us with dollar heaps of fuits and vegetables. Fresh pineapples dripping in their golden juice sold on a stick, paw paws the size of babies heads consisting of a beautiful sunset color halved by an inner circle of black fish egg looking seeds, eggplants coated with a skin of majestic purple, and bananas tasting of sweet sugary cream sold by the dozen– these were just some our must buys every time we visited the market. Towards the end of my stay there passion fruit- black seeds surrounded by a sweet/tangy goo encased in an egg-like shell , avocados- smooth skinned, dark, & heavy, and mangoes- strings of sweet flesh that would stick in between your teeth for hours finally came into season. Right by the market, there was a walkway where Fijian ladies would sell their delicious treats. Dollar roti wraps became part of our rituals every time we went to town. Only one lady sold vegetarian rotis and I would have to settle for a samosa (just as good) when she didn’t have any.
The plethora of culture was all around us; on one hand there were the native Fijians running the market and on the other there were Indo- Fijians who filled the local “ma and pop” shops. Scattered in between were Chinese take aways/ restaurants and nick-nack shops.
Suva is definitely not what you think of when you hear about Fiji and I must admit this upset me at first, especially because it constantly rained the first few weeks upon arrival. However, I learned to love it because it is the culture capital of Fiji and the true Fiji free from the tourists who encompassed the west side’s Nadi.