Saturday, 11 December 2010

Viti Levu, Fiji

I flew from Auckland to Nadi, Fiji and was greeted with torrential rain! Not what I was expecting! Apparently there was a cyclone on the way. I waited 2 hours at the airport for my resort transfer, I was now on Fiji time! It happens when it happens! It was still raining the following day so I caught the local bus into Nadi town. The bus has no window panes so I got a little wet even on the bus. Nadi is a small town with one main street, there is a market selling fruit and vegetables, and a craft market. I wandered into a craft shop and ended up sitting down at the back to join a kava ceremony. We sat cross legged on the floor, the kava is made from a ground up herb which is put into a cloth and then dipped into a bowl of water, the water turns a muddy brown. Surprisingly it does taste like muddy water too! It made my tongue go a bit numb. I ended up buying a sarong, a kava bowl and a turtle necklace, for good luck, none of which I knew I needed when I went in. The following day I started my tour of the mainland with Feejee Experience. First stop was Natadola Beach, however the weather was still wet and we couldn't really enjoy it. Then on to Malomalo Village, a traditional Fijian village. We all had to wear sulus (sarongs), even the boys, and ensure our shoulders were covered to be respectful of their culture. We wandered around the village, made up of large square wooden houses. The village children followed us around and found us amusing. Afterwards it was sandboarding in the rain! Not my idea of fun, but some of our group had a go and got filthy. We stayed at Mango Bay resort that night and took part in a kava ceremony, the taste is growing on me and it made me feel relaxed, and my lips slightly numb. After dinner there was Fijian and Polynesian dancing which I enjoyed. The next day we drove to Pacific Harbour, it was still raining, the cyclone had been expected for 3 days now. It was disappointing because we couldn't do the rainforest walk as planned due to the road being flooded and without sunshine there isn't much to do inside. I tried a local dish for lunch called Kokoda, which is raw fish marinated in lemon, with chillies, and coconut cream, served in a coconut shell with cassava chips. It was delicious. The following day we went to Suva, the capital of Fiji and visited the Fiji museum. The road from Suva was flooded so we had to retrace our journey and go all the way back round the island to get to our last stop at Volvoli beach, as there is only one main road around the island. We stopped at a children's home, Treasure House, to give them some gifts, the children seemed well cared for and happy. Afterwards we stopped at another Fijian village where we were treated to another kava ceremony, traditional singing and dancing, and then we all joined in dancing. There was a massive tropical storm that night at Volivoli and then the next day it was brilliant sunshine and very hot. At last! Although I knew it was rainy season here, I thought it would be short sharp showers and then wrong I was! I finally spent the morning sunbathing before heading back to Nadi in the afternoon. We stopped for a curry at lunch time, it was very good as 30% of the population are Indian, descendants of Indian contract labourers brought over there by the British in the 19Th century. We stopped at some natural mud pools where we got covered head to toe in mud, then baked in the sun before rinsing off and then climbing in to a very hot pool, so hot in fact, that I wondered if the Fijians were still cannibals as it felt like I was being cooked alive. The good news was that the cyclone had finally passed and the weather had turned glorious, around 30 degrees...fantastic!

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