Location: Suva, Fiji

In the chart house of Argo, there are three books that the captain and crew regularly refer to prior to arrival in a new locale. They are (1) South Pacific Anchorages, (2) Landfalls of Paradise, and (3) The Pacific Crossing Guide. Each are travel guides intended for the south pacific cruiser. Their pages contain typical “information” that a traveler would want to know before making landfall (e.g., weather, culture, entry requirements, location of anchorages, etc.). However, I use the term “information” loosely since it might unfairly convey a promise of accurately “informing” the reader, which is not always the case. For example, on the topic of clearing Fijian customs, one book says the process may take “hours to days” – a statement so vague that it merits nothing. As it turns out, if you arrive on a Friday, you can expect the latter (we just cleared this morning – nearly 48 hours after our arrival). Yet another book states: “Fiji is unsophisticated, so even a city like Suva may lack supplies that you might expect in a small town.” Again, true if you’re looking to buy sour cream (apparently they don’t have it on Fiji) but apocryphal when you’re standing in the heart of Suva City in front of a three-story, multi-screen cineplex featuring Christian Bale in “The Dark Knight” and Eddie Murphy in some movie I didn’t even know was out (see July 19 blog for details). The point here is that everything is unpredictable, regardless of how many books you have. And for most of us, whose lives contain a large dosage of daily monotony, it is deeply refreshing to be in an environment where you literally never know what’s around the next bend.