Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall charting our adventures as we sail around the world. We're sailing up and down the east coast of Australia after a summer back in Britain.

Monday, 14 July 2014

On the buses

We had a lovely day out on the buses today! Having discovered that the biggest town on the island of Taveuni, Sosomo, had a supermarket, we caught the bus for the 10 mile trip down the west coast road. We were, of course, the only foreigners aboard so took care to study all the notices and instructions.

A stern notice by the front door warned us it was an OFFENCE not to take a ticket as we boarded and so we paid the $3.40FJ fare and clutched our tickets nervously for fear of being found without. The next sign told us that the bus' capacity was 60 adults, 84 school children and we weren't entirely sure if that was 60 adults and 84 children; luckily there were just a couple of empty seats near the front for us.

We noticed the sign for the emergency exit above the window opposite our seats, which was mildly amusing when you saw the bus in its full glory:

The only emergency exit.....

.....in a windowless bus!
Once under way we couldn't help noticing that the engine noise was quite impressive but its power clearly wasn't so the driver, who obviously knew his vehicle well, was kept busy stirring the long, curved gear lever that sprouted from the floor some three feet behind his left shoulder. Once into top gear, though, a gentleman sitting in the first row of seats behind him then took hold of the lever to stop it dropping out of gear. It's probably some kind of apprenticeship scheme where you have to do a couple of years as gearstick-holder until you can progress on to becoming a driver. 

Holding the gearstick
It's just occurred to us that he might just have been an ordinary passenger and that it's just expected that you'll help out if you sit in that seat.

The view from the road, with the coral exposed at low tide

A shaky photo as the bus approached top speed of about 35mph
 It was a very entertaining journey, much better than the supermarket, and we liked Sososmo, and particularly the primary school overlooking the beach:

Sososmo Primary
The reason for the journey is that we have a friendly-looking weather window of south west winds for the next couple of days - ideal to head south east to the Lau islands without having to fight our way against the usual south-easterly trade winds. So we plan to leave tomorrow for the 160 mile overnight passage down to Fulaga. 

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