|The van stops at roadside fruit and veggie stands on the way back to Savusavu|
|Dr. Kumar is very popular with the cruisers|
“I've never heard of a gum boil,” I said. It sounded scary, but it was almost Christmas so I imagined a red striped, liqueur-filled candy instead. But when Dr. Kumar said, “This is a serious infection. It's in the bone,” my Sugar Plum vision crumbled. After cleaning my teeth AND filling a cavity, I was sent home with a baggie of antibiotics. (Yeah, I know. Gross.)
|Jim in Dr. Kumar's office in Labasa|
And that's how we went on vacation.
|Because I knew you were dying to see inside me|
COST OF LABASA DENTAL CARE:
Jim: Ultra-sonic cleaning and exam - $28
Carolyne: exam - $2.50 (yep - that's right)
Meri: Ultra-sonic cleaning, exam, compound filling and antibiotics - $45
X-ray at hospital - $17
Second and third consultation without appointment - free
HOW TO GET TO SUVA
Suva is on the big island and meant either we flew, we sailed our boat or we took the ferry over. We chose the ferry, which crosses during the nighttime and is much cheaper than flying. We booked a “sleeper” room, a dormitory-style room with separate bunks in air-conditioning. It's a far cry from what the airlines call “first class”, but beats the heck out of sleeping on mats on the hard floor in the heat... which is what the economy class does.
COST: $35 one-way per person on either Bligh or Grounder Shipping
|Scenes in Suva|
|Gorgeous flowers at the market|
|Mother and daughter puletasi|
WHERE TO STAY IN SUVA
We arrived in Suva early – before 8am. After coffee and breakfast, we asked a taxi driver to recommend a safe, economical hotel. He took us to South Seas Private Hotel.
We didn't have a reservation when we arrived at 9am, but were granted early check-in. Our room was spartan, but clean. The building was like a historic dormitory with polished wood floors and stair banisters. No A/C was in the room, but overhead fans were fine during summer in December. Nice, quiet grounds with tropical flora - Large community kitchen with ample seating and roomy fridge - Museum and Thurston Gardens next door. It's within walking distance to downtown.
|South Seas room|
|South Seas corridor|
There are no electrical outlets in rooms to charge devices. None. However, you can sit in TV room and plug in if you have hours to keep an eye on your belongings. Also, we got locked INSIDE our room at 10:30pm when one of us got up to use the community bathroom. Half-an-hour later we'd jimmied the door with a pocket knife. The night manager said she had to get permission before allowing us into another room. We rigged the door that night so we could lock it, but get out if we needed. The manager on duty the next morning was upset the night manager hadn't moved us into another room when we told her of our "Hotel California" experience.
COST: $30 per night for all of us
|In the window at Proud's Dept. Store|
PROS: Air-conditioning! Kitchenette! Color TV! Refrigerator!
Good location and nice staff. Early check-ins allowed.
CONS: Floors were dirty; we wore flip flops inside. Hot water in shower is fickle. The breaker blows if you plug in too many things into the outlets.
COST: $75 per night for all of us
(Carolyne and I returned to Suva for my follow-up appointment a month later. We shared a double bed at Studio 6 Apartments in a smaller room with a fridge, A/C and TV. Cost was $42.)
|Japanese lunch at Daikoku Restaurant - we highly recommend it!|
|Not all of Fiji is Third World|
|Dancing and music at the Fiji Museum|
|Carolyne in the large exhibit room|
|Carolyne's photo of our exquisite lunch|
|Ladies selling flowers at the market in Suva|
STEWART STREET DENTAL IN SUVA:
Dr. Singh has a lovely office downtown. His modern equipment and cutting edge technology made my diagnosis easy. I had a dead tooth (now an infected dead tooth) and I needed a root canal. I had a couple X-rays taken in his office and he scheduled the procedure immediately. He was so gentle I almost fell asleep in the chair - and that's without anesthesia. No joke.
COST: CT Scan $85.... Root Canal, follow-up and all other X-rays $300.
|Contact info for Dr. Singh at Stewart Street Dental in Suva|