Week in Fiji

Trip Start Nov 03, 2005
Trip End Nov 08, 2005

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Where I stayed
nabua lodge

Flag of Fiji  ,
Wednesday, December 21, 2005

On Fiji
Situated in the South Pacific far off a large landmass, Fiji was absolutely beautiful. Think Bali Hai. It was a great first stop after leaving the US. After 12 to 14 hours in the air from Los Angeles (with the time change, losing a day and the long hours, some spent sleeping it was hard to assess the actual number of hours in the air), I landed on the island of Nadi, the largest of the Fijian Islands. Within a couple of hours of landing, I'd found a travel agent, booked a local bure (local island accommodation-a palm-frond hut of sorts), and was on a 4-hour ferry taking me to Nacula Island, where I spent five relaxing days at Nabua Lodge.

Fiji is conducive for slowing down. The weather was sunny, breezy and warm-but not hot. I took lots of naps, read, snorkeled, hiked to the other side of the island, played volleyball with some of the locals Fijians, met the local village chief, participated in the traditional cava ceremony, and had fun talking over breakfast, lunch and dinner and playing drinking games with the other travelers from Britain, Sweden, Austria and Switzerland. Though I'm generally past the age of drinking games, I had quite a good time getting to know the others through these. My favorite was the one which you made up a gesture to go with an animal of your choosing. You said and gestured your animal and another person's, like playing "hot potato." Those who said the wrong animal or made the wrong gesture had to drink.

I have to say I feel very much alive when I'm in such multicultural environments, sharing experiences and opinions about home countries and the world in general. It offers new perspectives on life and is fascinating. I was very fortunate to be at a resort with extremely nice travelers and locals.

One evening dinner was "curry night" where we were made a delicious Indian meal on round silver platters. I would never have guessed that Indian food was popular in Fiji. Another night we had traditional lomo oven-cooked food, followed by local village entertainment (dance and music), parts of which were participatory.

Interesting Tidbits:
- "Bula" is a handy word to know in Fiji. It can mean hello, how are you, and thank you.
- Cava is made from the root of the cava plant and is mixed with water as part of ceremonies. Tastes like dirty water. In theory, after 50 or so half coconut shells full of the stuff you get tipsy. This never happens.
- Lomo is a traditional style of island cooking where meat is wrapped in banana leaves tightly and placed in the ground with hot coals above and below.
- There are huge wasp-like creatures that are approximately an inch and a half long with gangly legs. I had to trap one between the window and screen that was flying around in my room-didn't want that landing on me during the night.
- Just outside my bure (hut) was a tree full of mangoes
- Watermelons are plentiful on the islands-who'd a thought?
- Fiji brews and distributes its own beer, Fiji Beer - comes in Gold and Bitter flavors
- Fiji money has the same denominations and size coins as Australia and New Zealand
- Went snorkeling in the lagoon where the Blue Lagoon was filmed.\
- The nation of Fiji consists of over 500 islands, and only about 30% are inhabited
- Fiji is not very accepting or welcoming to gay people and many gay travelers have boycotted visiting the country.
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