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Published: October 14th 2012
6 October 2012 Saturday. We arrived in Suva, Fiji at 8 am as we were having breakfast. The rain had followed us from Samoa, but it soon changed to overcast skies for the rest of the day. We disembarked and walked along the waterfront to a Catholic Mission that Mike had volunteered at 3 years ago. We talked to the priest for a bit; but he wasn’t the priest that Mike knew from his last visit so we didn’t spend much time there. We then walked down the hill to the botanical garden and Fiji Museum. There were mostly canoes on display. Linda bought two necklaces from a lady who had two small girls who looked like they could use a good meal.
While the girls headed along the main shopping street back to the ship, Mike and I walked back to the waterfront where we had seen some outrigger canoes preparing to race. We learned that this was Fiji’s National Day so there were many activities going on including the canoe races. We talked to a professor from Scripts Institute in La Jolla, California about how his Pacific Blue Foundation was sponsoring the reintroduction of the outrigger races, which
was a prominent event many years ago, but was only recently brought back. We asked what time the race would begin, but no one knew for sure…island time dominates. I noticed that few people wore wrist watches so no one knew the time even if there was a set starting time. We decided that if the races hadn’t started by 1:30 pm we would leave anyway; and then left at that time. Who knows how long it was going to take to start the race.
We headed towards the main street on the way back to the ship, but soon saw many people in native dress, and drums and chanting coming from a building. We followed the noise, and discovered a dancing competition in progress. Each village had sent a team that was dressed in different colored costumes; all sitting around in groups in this large room. One group would stand, dance and sing, and then sit down. They were followed by the next team. There were no foreigners around…purely a local event. In this age of canned tourist events this was extraordinary for us to witness, as their only audience was themselves. Here there was a shipload of
perhaps 2,000 tourists and no one announced this event. We had to discover it on our own. Mike and I spent quite a while watching this before we had to return to the ship as they stopped serving lunch at 3 pm.
After a late lunch, I spent the next hour reading and responding to my important email, and completing and publishing my travel blogs from Lahaina to Samoa. Tamara and Liam and our animals seem to be doing ok, although Tamara did lock my car keys in the car when she took Liam and Bonnie for a walk in the Garden of the Gods. Tamara is learning to take care of everything without us being around to help out. We are missing home, but are also happy to get away for awhile.
I then joined Linda to watch the ship pull away from the dock and pass through the coral reef surrounding the island. Our next day is another sea day as we travel to Vila, Vanuatu, some 600 miles to the west.
That evening after dinner we went directly to the song and dance show the theme of which was Pure Country. Even Aussies like
American Country Western, and they got to see some of the best. Before going to bed we set our clock back another hour.
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