Fiji - A quick recap


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Oceania » Fiji » Viti Levu » Coral Coast » Pacific Harbour
May 23rd 2009
Published: May 23rd 2009
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Fiji HibiscusFiji HibiscusFiji Hibiscus

Fiji's National Flower
It is our last day in Fiji, we have now been travelling since last September, I know a bit late to be starting a blog, but I have to confess that this is not the start, I just thought I would add a post a summary of each destination we visit to a travel dedicated site.

Those of you who are interested in my Blog can find the full blog, a day by day account of our journey at www.travelswithbaggage.blogspot.com. I will start with this summary record at Fiji, not the start of our trip, but where I happen to be sat at the moment waiting for our flight to Hawaii.

You can also get a different perspective on our trip if you look at my daughter's website, www.beingbaggage.com, where she keeps a video diary and we publish a few of our photos along the way. Take a look and see a year of travel through the eyes of an 11 year old.

So what do we think of Fiji?

Well when we got here two weeks ago it was dark and raining, the 2.5 hour drive from Nadi to where we are staying in Pacific Harbour
Fijian BoaFijian BoaFijian Boa

A Fijian Boa at Kula Eco Park
was a nightmare. Dogs, pigs, horses and Fijians, all in the road and all poorly lit, pot holes the size of moon craters and drivers coming towards us who seemed to prefer our side of the road to theirs and did not seem to know how to operate their headlight dip switch! By the time we got to our lodgings I was beginning to wonder what on earth we were doing here.

Then we woke up the following morning, the sun was shining, the palm trees swaying, the sea lapping against the shore, and the people were just so friendly... well the last of those was true anyway. It was still raining, but there is just something about the place, it grows on you, and after two weeks here none of us really want to leave today.

Pacific Harbour is a great place, unfortunately tourist numbers are significantly down as a result of the current economic climate and the perceived political instability of these islands and unless they pick up resort areas like this may well fall as casualties. The south coast of Fiji is the wetter coast, therefore it is just so lush and green, and alive
Navua MarketNavua MarketNavua Market

A market seller and her wares
with birds of many shapes and sizes. We had opted to rent a villa here, travelling with our daughter we prefer to stay where she can have her own room and a bit of privacy rather than us all being under each others feet 24/7, though we have made good use of the resort hotels, Uprising and The Pearl, both of which are excellent and in keeping with all Fijians we have met, staffed by very friendly people.

You do not need to hire a car in Fiji, both public transport and taxis are very cheap, we decided to however and have spent the past fortnight driving around in a 4WD flat bed truck, that has been different, but at least the size of the wheels has meant we could traverse the pot holes whilst only actually falling in the 'really' big ones.

So what have we done whilst we have been here, well one thing is rest and recuperate, we have been travelling on this trip since January and had decided long ago that when we got to Fiji we would enjoy a bit of pool time, though that has not entirely stopped us getting out and
Fijian DancerFijian DancerFijian Dancer

A traditional Fijian warrior dance with a spear and very scary fan!
about:

Navua Market - we went here for a look at how the locals buy their produce and to get our own vegetables, it was just so cheap we bought about three large carriers of all manner of fruit and vegetables for less than £5.
Zip Fiji - A trip through the tree tops of a tropical rain forest suspended from a strand of steel, well maybe a bit more, great fun, would recommend to anyone.
Sagatoka Sand Dunes - A walk through the dunes and down to the beach, one of Fiji's national parks and a heritage site. A really nice walk though the beach could have done with a bit of a clean up when we were there.
Kula Eco Park - A chance to see some of Fiji's native flora and fauna, a nice park, clean and well presented, and the animals seem well cared for also. When we were there we got to hold a couple of Lizards and a snake, well the wife did I passed on the snake, and our daughter got to feed Green Sea Turtles. Also well worth a visit.
Pacific Harbour Arts Village Cultural Show - If you want a
About to ZipAbout to ZipAbout to Zip

Our daughter gets a head for heights zipping through the rain forest in Fiji
look at how Fiji was before the white man, when human flesh was the delicacy at the dinner table this offers a good 'sheep dip' experience. For $80, a little over £20 at the time of writing, you can spend the day there taking a boat tour around a display of traditional crafts, visit a reconstructed temple and a Chief's house, including partaking in a cava ceremony, enjoy a lovo lunch, traditional fayre cooked in the ground, and watch a display of fire walking and traditional dancing. Unfortunately when we went we were the only three people in the audience, but that did not seem to matter to the cast who put on as good a display as they would have to a packed house. A really enjoyable day, and a good insight into Fijian tradition for our daughter.
Cava Ceremony - You cannot visit Fiji without participating in one of these, we managed a couple during our stay. Cava is the National Drink of Fiji, it is a muddy brown substance made from the root of the Cava plant by crushing it and mixing it with water. The taste is not dissimilar to aniseed. Traditionally you drink it from half a coconut shell and have to knock it back in one. After the first drink you get a numbing sensation in the lips and tongue, after about 5 you start to lose control of your limbs. Apparently as your body numbs your mind clears and you get increasing clarity of thought to help you put the world to rights. Guess you could start with Fijian politics, most Fijians seem to! We have not managed to get as far as the clarity of thought stage as I was driving each time we participated, so we picked up a bag of cava in the market and will clear our thoughts later on in our trip.

To sum Fiji up, we love it here, though it would be good if you could remove the mosquitos and possibly ask the birds to refrain from their early morning chorus until a slightly more civilised hour.

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