What is the first thing you desire, after spending a couple days perpetually wet, and after going through the worst ferry related ordeal of your life? For me, the only thing I desire after these sorts of experiences is a hot, hot, hot shower.
A hot shower, that’s all I ask for.
We were lucky to arrive safely at Port Denerau wharf, and I was ecstatic to be off that ferry. After spending some time recollecting ourselves, we went to seek a taxi. This was easier said than done, as all the taxis had been ordered to stay home due to the extreme flooding. The only ones permitted to operate were the large vans with the power to get through the water and debris on the roads.
The rain was still coming down heavily, and I rode in the back of the van in a sort of stunned silence. The roads were completely destroyed. I never knew that flood water could cause so much damage to something so hard like concrete. I knew that ice could wear away at concrete over time, but I had no idea that liquid water could cause so much damage in such a few days.
We past homes and other buildings, it was hard to tell what they were, totally collapsed and sinking into muddy heaps in the flood water. Some roads were even impassable due to the water. In some places the sidewalk had totally crumbled into useless bits of concrete at the bottom of steep ditches.
The destruction was everywhere. I never thought that rain and wind could cause so much damage… and this storm was not even technically a cyclone yet.
We passed from Port Deneraeu and headed to Newtown beach where several tourist resorts and backpacker hostels are located, feeling it would be our best change to find a room. With tourists still arriving daily (this was before the inbound passenger ban was put in place), and no one able to leave, almost all the hotels and hostels were fully booked.
The bridge which we crossed collapsed later in the day.
We arrived at Newtown beach and went to one of the more prominent hotels, craving comfort at any price. We got the very last hotel room available…. with an ocean view.
Throwing down my backpack, I went straight for the shower. Jumped in, turned the hot water to maximum… and… nothing. The shower head gasped and gurgled, but no water came out.
The entire region had no water.
Now the source of my frustration wasn’t that Nadi had no running water. I can understand that. The annoying thing was that the hotel staff kept promising water in an hour, and then in another hour, and then in another hour, in an effort to not have to give us a discount on the hotel room whose price was already grossly inflated due to the amount of stranded tourists.
Sometimes, things just don’t go the way we would like them to. It is in these situations that we need to put on our problem solving hat.