(Post published by Lorenzo Cipriani on Milanto Expedition: click here for the original post )
The period of English colonialism in Fiji is so distant that few vestiges of those years remain. In Suva, the capital on the island of Viti Levu, only the Grand Pacific Hotel still retains its memory. After the Second World War, which was also attended by Fijian contingents, Queen Elizabeth stayed in a room, during an official visit, which today bears her name.
A young maitre d ‘guides me inside the hotel and with an accomplice takes me to see it, then he is keen to show me also the one more recently inhabited by Henry and Megan. He also leads me to the roof, a very forbidden place in his opinion, so he plays the part of what, in order not to be seen by the reception, makes me hide on the balcony and run from one staircase to another. The action is aimed at the hope of a hefty tip, which in any case I would have gladly given him even without all this pantomime. Later I will meet him again in the hotel rooms and every time he will wink at me as if we were now accomplices in who knows what bravado. This apparently insignificant episode lends itself instead to recounting a widespread character among the inhabitants of Fiji: a republic with a high level of corruption,governed by a president who has an interim term obtained in a military coup in 2006 and is still in office.