Saturday 22nd September 2001, Tubakula Fiji

Brigid used the bungalow sink to do the laundry, after John found that the hut labelled “Guest Laundry” was only moderately better equipped – it contained two sinks! Needless to say, the moment the washing was hung out on the line, it started to rain.

There was nothing we could do about the washing, so we walked up to the Outrigger’s Sundowner Bar for a pizza.

There was one thing we felt we had to do before leaving Fiji with its coconut palms and white beaches. At his ‘leaving do’ back in March, one of John’s colleagues, Peter Crisp, presented him with a custom-made farewell card on which his head had been superimposed on a camera-toting body wearing a tropical shirt and straw hat, against a beach background. John was determined to outdo the card, by sending back a digital picture of himself, similarly dressed, on a real beach. He already had the shirt (chosen on the way back from dinner in Lahaina … and approved by Brigid and Mark Atilano …), but he needed a straw hat and (Brigid’s suggestion) a grass skirt! Since John also needed to cash some money, we caught the bus into Sigatoka for the third and last time.

It was Saturday, and most shops were just closing for the afternoon. In search of an Internet café, we crossed the bridge out of town. Suddenly, from behind us, we heard a heavy “clump”, followed by a metallic grating sound. We spun around just in time to see the wheel fall off (!) a small minibus (similar to the one we caught to Korulevu earlier in the week) carrying about 12 hefty Fijians.

As the wheel bounced away down the road we couldn’t help humming “The Dam Busters” theme to ourselves! Meanwhile the passengers climbed out of the van and left the driver scratching his head.

When we arrived back at Tubakula, it was still raining. As we were due to leave in the morning, we brought the washing in and hung it from every available protruding object in the bungalow.