Moving to Suva, Fiji

Expat in Fiji

Tips for living in Suva Part 1

So there is a major lack of information online when it comes to information needed for living in Suva, despite it being the capital and main business hub of Fiji. Apple Maps can’t direct me to the street around the corner. There is definitely no ‘street view’ on Google (so you can’t look up my house!). I can’t check the opening times of shops. I don’t know the products of shops. There’s no online bus timetable.

In Fiji they have the “coconut wireless”. It’s the equivalent of saying “I heard it through the grapevine” except the coconut wireless is much more effective than the grapevine. Everyone seems to know everything through verbal communication and news spreads extremely quickly. But if you’re not a part of the coconut wireless, you know nothing (that’s me!).

So I’m going to blog away about the shops, and the buses and everything I’ve learnt about moving to Suva. It won’t be 100% accurate because I’m still learning about everything myself! But if I update as I go I’ll remember all the things I wanted to know before I got here, and could have been better prepared with. And one day, one new expat moving over here to Suva is going to seriously love me.

 

Weather

I’m from Brisbane which is a hot, tropical climate. The taxi drivers like to tell us that Fiji is just like Brisbane. It’s not. It’s definitely hotter than Brisbane here. In addition, you underestimate the amount of air conditioning there is in developed countries – shopping centers, schools, workplaces, cars. Here, even the shopping centres aren’t usually air-conditioned so not only is it hot – you feel the heat more. Because of cultural considerations (to be referred to on another day) it’s customary to wear clothes that cover most of your body. Also, if you don’t have a car, like 90% of the people I have met, you have to walk through the heat to and from work, to and from the shopping centre. So… bring a hat.

Other heat thoughts

  • There’s no need to exercise here. You can lose your weight in your sleep as you sweat the night away.
  • Showering three times a day is awesome. This my friends, is a serious luxury.
  • There’s no need for a hot tap, the water comes out hot anyway.
  • At several moments throughout the week you will seriously debate shaving all of your hair away.

Storms

Brisbane is the home to 3 o’clock storms which come along, make a lot of racket and then leave about an hour later. In Fiji it’s more like torrential rain. One minute it’s sunshine, the next minute it’s spitting and then BAM. Serious torrential downpour. Fifteen to thirty minutes later. BAM. Torrential downpour over and you are back to sweating away your entire body again. Bring an umbrella and a rain coat.

Winter

I haven’t had a winter yet but from what I’m told it can get pretty cold, and expats end of wearing big coats.

If you’re not moving to Suva:

I do know that the Northern areas of mainland Fiji (e.g. Raki Raki, through to Nadi) are even more humid than Suva. I can’t comment on anywhere else.

In summary, if you are moving to Suva:

  • Mentally prepare yourself for some serious heat and bring a hat
  • Have a handbag large enough to permanntly carry suncreen and an umberella
  • Maybe consider a heat appropriate hair cut before you get here
  • But don’t forget your jumpers

Follow my adventures!

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    Gemma
    March 21, 2016 at 10:03 am

    Thanks for this! Not a lot of people are aware that Suva is the capital, not Nadi… Good read 🙂

    • Reply
      Emma Margaret
      March 22, 2016 at 5:44 am

      Oh good point! Yes I feel like I have to map the whole country for the world to get a better picture of how big Fiji is!

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