In a personal essay included in the March/April 2005 issue of Pacific Magazine (Honolulu), inveterate traveler Dr. David Stanley describes how he was once chased down a street in Fiji by an irate hotel owner who, after answering a barrage of questions from the author, had received a mere thanks in exchange for all his information. No wonder Stanley now pleads for respect of his anonymity if you spy him on one of the Pacific islands—it’s downright dangerous out there!
Anecdotes aside, Stanley has once more done himself proud by producing the 9th edition of Moon Fiji, the leading guidebook to the 322-island Fiji archipelago. Not only does Stanley update his guides with meticulous care, ensuring that each edition is jam-packed with the latest information, but he also goes out of his way to make sure that the guidance that he gives is relevant and pertinent to all travelers and tourists in the region, no matter whether you’re a backpacker or a flashpacker. Due to his personal knowledge of Fiji, he is able to provide detailed insight into all aspects of the islands, including the sights, entertainment and shopping opportunities, recreational facilities, accommodations from budget to high flyer, the local cuisine, and that most handy to know—services, transportation and where to find out even more information, once you are treading the native soil. The 9th edition of Moon Fiji has been specially designed to compliment other media, and internet and email addresses are provided aplenty.
Despite Stanley being aware of how quickly things change, he argues the advantages of guidebooks over the internet in so far as the latter tends to reflect either personal and subjective insights into an area through which a traveler might only have passed once or twice, or else the promotional hype of specific business concerns. The objectivity of Moon Fiji is indisputable, as the author receives no backing from any specific promoter, enabling him to make his listings of, among others, accommodation establishments comprehensive and fair. Stanley’s humble and unassuming approach is all the more remarkable when one realizes how well travelled the author is, as well as the many guides he has produced for a wide range of countries. In fact, he has spent much of the past three decades on the road, crossing six continents overland and visiting over 212 of the world’s 245 countries. Despite his international reputation, which is held in the highest regard by leading tourism authorities on a global scale, he prefers to do the foot-slogging himself, rather than sending out a posse of researchers to scout out the field for him. The author maintains, “I’ve always researched my books incognito. I prefer to arrive unexpected and uninvited, and to see things as my readers will see them.”
Stanley’s readership is very much what he keeps in mind in compiling his guidebooks, as can be seen in Moon Fiji. Knowing how limited your time is, he suggests itineraries and travel strategies of how you can get the most out of your trip to Fiji. The entire guide is amply illustrated with photos and maps that are clearly labeled for ease of use. Signposting and use of bold for key terms is done consistently throughout the book, so that you can easily find what you are looking for at a flick of your thumb. In addition to a Background chapter that provides an in-depth introduction to the islands, Stanley gives the lowdown on all you need to know about such basics as visas and officialdom, conduct, and health and safety. In short, Moon Fiji is an indispensable guide to this fascinating archipelago that once earned notoriety as the “Cannibal Isles.” Intriguing and captivating, the mystique of the islands lingers on. Why not explore it too?
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