Email sent on 14th April 06.
BALI TO FIJI Not quite as easy as one flight... Bali to Darwin - wait 6 hours - Darwin to Brisbane - wait another 6 hours - Brisbane to Fiji!!! In one journey we stood in 4 different time zones! It was such a draining journey but worth it to finally arrive in Fiji.
What an amazing place! Bula! The people are so welcoming and friendly and the majority genuinely just want to make sure you are enjoying their country!
We spent one week exploring the main Island - Viti Levu. We learnt so much about the culture and both the native Fijians and the Indo-Fijians. It was strange talking to people who were fourth generation Indo-Fijians but didn’t know where in India their family had come from. How sad to have lost so much history over only four generations. They all wanted us to tell them as much about India as possible, it was great. We went to a Fijian school and the children told us all about 'Healthy Teeth, Healthy Life!'. It was wonderful! All the children were so eager to learn.
We also visited a traditional Fijian village. Although times have moved forward and the cannibals no longer exist the village is still very traditional. Each village has a chief and he has his spokesperson. The village is still set out in a traditional way with the chiefs Bure (Thatched hut) set higher than the rest of the village. The traditional greeting is still observed today - the yaquona or kava ceremony! The drink which looks like muddy water originates from the root of the kava plant which is dried and then crushed in to powder. It tastes a bit like aniseed and despite everyone else’s protests me and Adam actually quite liked it! It is mildly addictive and it is not uncommon to meet Kavaholics in Fiji. It makes your mouth go all numb after a few bowls and you sleep so well! Whenever a visitor enters a traditional fijian village a kava ceremony takes place to welcome them. Also every evening the Fijians sit around the Kava bowl and play instruments and sing! Its fantastic!
During our week on Viti Levu (which means big fiji) we got very wet and mucky! We went sand boarding down the dunes, bilibili rafting (bamboo), trekking, swimming in waterfalls, bathing in mud pools, tubing down a long river, and lots of other exciting things!
We stopped to recover at a beautiful place called Ellington in the north. From here we did some great snorkeling and also kayaking. Having finally exhausted the main island we felt it was time to explore the Yasawa islands.
We set sail upon a 108ft top sail schooner sailing boat called 'The Spirit of the Pacific'.
It was a really beautiful boat. We learnt to tie sailing knots and various other sailing skills! (I only learnt one knot but it was of course the practical one - 'the how to save yourself from drowning knot!!!' We spent each day out sailing and each night on a tiny island.
The island had no electricity! It was called Bare foot island and it was back to basics! We had a wooden hut on the beach and a torch!
It was really beautiful! The chief of the island took a real liking to Adam and I and so we got special treatment! Adam being the man was dressed up in a grass skirt (actually a real honor) and took part in the ceremonies, and as his woman I got given a large bamboo fan to sit (behind the men of course) and fan myself with! I suppressed the urge to explain about the modern woman and instead respected and enjoyed their culture!
As always the time we had in Fiji flew by and we were left wanting more! No matter where you are you never have enough time! But as we boarded our flight out of Fiji the excitement kicked in for the next destination.... New Zealand!