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We're off! Our departure form Heathrow was largely uneventful, with the exception of Oli attempting to take knife, fork, spoon and a small pair of scissors on to the plane with him. Being clearly terrorist items likely to cause death and destruction they were duely confiscated.
The first flight to L.A. was aboard a jumbo jet. We were seated at the front of the plane so were more or less first in line when the champagne (OK, sparkling wine) came round to celebrate the new year (British time). Quantities were disappointingly small, not helped by the fact that the steward managed to pour it not only into my glass but also on to my trousers. Given that it was not just the New Year but Oli's birthday as well, I collared the next passing flight attendant and requested more chanpagne. Unfortunately stocks of this had been depleted, so instead Oli sampled the delights of two New Zealand beers whilst I enjoyed my first Gin O'Clock of the year.
Arriving in L.A. we were fingerprinted and photographed like the terrorists we are before briefly exiting the terminal and breathing in a few breaths of night-time L.A. air. Then it was back on to a slightly smaller but wonderfully empty plane for a further eleven and a half hours in the air. As soon as the seat belt sign was switched off I nabbed a row of 3 seats across the centre of the plance and, armed with pillows and blankets, slept through most of the flight, although I awoke in time to enjoy the sparkling wine handed round for our second new year (American time).
On arrival in Fiji we were greeted by two loudly dressed Fijians playing two equally loud guitars and singing whay I can only presume were traditional Fijian songs. They were actually quite good and were a welcome, if some what bizarre, serenade as we waited to clear customer and immigration at 2am in the morning. Although our plane ticket out is dated the 30th of March, the visas we were issued are valid for only one month, but this should be easily extended once we meet up with the Greenforce people in a couple of weeks.
After a few hours kip at the Nadi Bay Hotel, we dicided to go and see what tNadi has to offer. By chance we met up with two lads who had been on our flight and we took the traditional Fijian bus (open sides, very old) for a bargain 50c (that's about 17p). Nadi itself is rather boring, consisting of only one main street of shops and some housing at the side. Walking along the road we were accosted by a very friendly Fijian who invited us in to his shop. Oli and George (one of our newfound friends) joined him for a traditional Kava ceremony whilst Ed (our other newfound friend) and I politely declined. Somewhat predictably, our visit there ended with the guy trying to force Oli and George to buy a lucky charm - asharks tooth necklace. George bought it, Oli managed to extricate himself from the situation.
Given the lack of 'things to do' in Nadi (both sides of the main road having been duely tramped) we returned to the hotel for lunch and spent the aftenoon lazing around and planning where to visit in the two weeks we have prior to our Greenforce expedition. A few nights by the Namuka Bay Lagoon followed by a cruise to the Yasawa Islands sounds tempting to me...