Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Road To Waidroka

This picture is of a road on Fiji. Viti Levu the main island. The grey wormy line from Queens Road at the top is a dirt road that descends and splits into its branches.

We stayed here at the bottom of this road at the Waidroka Bay Resort. It is right in the nook of the bay. You can see the little ‘fish hook’ at the end of the road. What appears to be a open space is actually a big grassy lawn.

We had arrived on Fiji the night before in Suva from Oz. Stayed at a hotel. Rented a car to explore and come here.

We drove down the 4 kilometer, two and half miles dirt road and followed the arrows at all the intersections (4). It was a cool place. We liked the whole scene. Ocean front property. Huge wide open grass lawn. Boats at the dock to take the quests scuba diving, snorkeling or surfing. We were there for the surf. There is a place out in the ocean on a reef called Frigates. That’s what we had come for.

We made a decision to stay for a week. What do we need a car for? We didn’t. It was mid morning. We moved into our cottage and unpacked, ate lunch and decided to take the car back to Suva and turn it in. We could take the bus back to Waidroka, we were informed, and so off we went.

In Suva we returned the car did some quick shopping and got on the bus. Little did we know that by bus it was a 3 hour drive. We stopped at every single village. No, that is not true. We stopped at each patron’s home in each village.

When we arrived at the road entrance to Waidroka Resort off of Queens Road it was now night. No street lights. And if this was not exciting enough, it was raining. That’s right, no star light and the moon did not even appear as a glow above the thick clouds. So, as we stood there and watched the tail lights of the bus , our only light, fade away, we said, ‘Oops’, in this growing complete darkness.

‘Wow, this is interesting!’ As we voiced to each other in the absence of anything that could be seen. Suddenly I discovered, as our ‘civilized’ eyes became adjusted to our environment, we were not in complete darkness. Natalia’s watch emitted an ever so little glow. ‘Oh, how cute. A little light.’ And my watch had reflective arms and if I held it facing Natalia’s watch I could make out the time. But otherwise, as far as being able to see with either of these, were useless.

As we took inventory of our situation we noted the road was a dirt road. It had two wheel worn tracks with grass in the middle. We remembered that there where intersections and little posts with arrows. Little arrows that were carved, not painted, ‘thank goodness’ on them. Following the road in this complete darkness was, as you see (we couldn’t) a challenge for our limited senses. I chose the rut to follow of the left wheel track. Natalia took the high ground. The slight rise in the middle. She avoided the puddles. She hates puddles. I didn’t care about puddles. I just wanted to stay on track.

Walking, or more like groping along in the complete darkness trying to find your way, as we were, distorts time. In fact it distorts time, because you are not even giving time the time of the day. Time ignores you the same way you have ignored it. Natalia’s watch with it’s little glowing face became our most treasured asset. It is amazing what the mind does in complete darkness when it has no visible input. Believe me you do not want to go there by your self. Consequently Natalia and I became the conversationalists of all time, as it were, all the way to our destination as I prodded through the puddles and she through the wet grass, mowed as it was with the passing cars.

We stumbled along. At each intersection determined by either me suddenly crossing paths with Natalia or her suddenly descending from the grassy rise, we made mental calculations as to which fork to follow by determining as to how worn, ‘deep’ the track was. We reasoned that the more worn, deep track was to the resort. And where were the little posts and their arrows? That would be a nice little confirmation! One of us would stay put and the other would fumble around ‘looking’ for the post as we would guess where it might be in proximity to the road. And the ‘fun’ part of this was that these signs tended to be just far enough off the road so they would not be hit by vehicles. Walking out off the road not knowing where you next step was going to end was a little spice to the excitement of our adventure. “Ah! I found it. It’s that way!” Other voice: “Where?”, Other voice: “That way! Keep talking, I’ll show you”, Other voice: “I’m here. I’m here. I’m here. I’m… oh."
We continued.

To this day, I wonder how we managed to get there. I mean, look at this road. It seemed like an eternity. You would not believe the elation upon seeing the first glimmer of light which only came as we rounded the last fish hook curve as you see on the map. We only made one wrong turn. It was the first one which we figured out only as it started ascending a hill. We knew that the road went down, all the way. Don’t even ask me how we found the second intersection. I think that I bumped into Natalia as the track was more warn going to the right than straight. This was a judgment call. Neither of us wanted to believe that it turned right. One voice in the darkness said to the other voice: ‘Shouldn’t it go straight?” The other voice: “But it is more worn to the right.” Other voice: “Yeah, but I bet it goes straight.” Other voice: “Well, what do you want to do? If we are wrong, we will end up at somebody’s house, and who knows how far and what if they have a dog?” Other voice: “Okay, let’s go with the deeper track road”. Other voice: “Okay’”

After a while, One Voice: “Well, it seems that we might have made the right choice back there.” Other Voice: “Are you just now figuring that out!” Other Voice: “I didn’t want to speak to early”. Other voice: “We already went past another intersection.” Other Voice: “We did!” Other Voice: “Yes. It went to the right and I could tell that it was not enough of a drop to be the correct way.” Other Voice: “You remember how far back it was if we hear barking?” Other Voice: “It was about 50 meters from the intersection we choose.” Other Voice: “Really, I don’t remember two intersections that close together.” Other Voice: “If I had remembered anything about this road, we would probably be eating dinner now.” Other Voice: “Oh Good!, mention food” Other Voice: “Do you think they will save us any?” Other Voice: “What time is it?” Other Voice: “It’s 8:03” Other Voice: “Oops.” Other Voice: “You think they won’t have anything for us?” Other Voice: “Well, we got noodles, chips, peanuts, and sardines, if they don’t.” Other Voice: “Wait. Did you notice a turn or intersection?” Other Voice: “It feels like a big turn to the right. No intersection.” Other Voice: “Okay.”

Our Resort hosts had saved us our dinner and checked on our cottage to see that we had actually moved in.

You know, light is such a ‘taken for granted’ condition of civilized societies. Talk about being thrown back into the ages of Caves.

Was it a fluke that we actually made it to the Resort? I look at this road now and Geeez, No thank you. Not at night! Not without a light!

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