Monday, January 31, 2011

Videos from Fiji

We've got other videos, too, but they're too big for Blogger. :-(

Our first steps in Fiji:

video


Our first discovery of the beach:

video


Kooky footage of the waterfall (you may need to adjust your head):

video

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Our last day in Fiji

For our third - and last - day in Fiji, we decided to take it easy. No more hikes to any waterfalls! Plus our feet were so tore up from hiking in flip flops, we couldn't have done much if we wanted to.

Since we were staying at a surf resort, the logical on-site activity would be surfing. However, learning to surf and then being boated out to where the surf actually is was a lot to try to accomplish in one day. Mike suggested we try paddle-boarding, which neither of us had done before, and Brian (owner of the resort) was happy to give us a quick lesson. The beauty of where we were staying was that the resort was nestled against a lagoon that provided clear, calm waters for most of the morning, and a beautiful reef to admire as far as the eye can see.

Mike on his paddleboard

Brian giving me a lesson



On my own


We paddled around for a while until the breeze started to pick up and we had less and less strength to battle it for control over our paddleboards. We headed back to the resort to wash up for lunch (I, for one, had fallen in the water 3 times - PROUDLY! - and needed to wash the salt off). Plus we were told to save our energy for a kava ceremony that would be held in our honor after dinner.

Then we waited for the conch shell to announce lunch...

The view from our bed

After our last lunch in Fiji, we went for a 45-minute drive to the nearest shop to buy some souvenirs from home. Side note: How awesome is that? In the 2-hour drive between our place and the airport in Nadi, there is ONE souvenir shop. Plus they give you free coffee. :-)

View of the village on our way to the store

One of the MANY types of animal that wanders along the sides of the road

After our shopping excursion, we drove back to the resort, picking people up and dropping them off along the way. It was a lovely way to meet many of the local people, and an interesting Fijian cultural trait: part of many of the locals' daily routines is to hitchhike their way to and from work.

The lazy day continued with wandering along the beach until happy hour.


One of a bajillion crabs

Making my way to the beach from our bure

Me, Tony & Shirley (the grand dame of the resort) at happy hour

The Aussies waiting for dinner

Look closely

After yet another delicious dinner (this time fresh Mahi Mahi) tables were cleared and room was made for the kava ceremony.


Preparing the kava ceremony

Getting the kava ready, and singing a few tunes

Mike entertaining the group while we waited to begin

As we waited for the kava to start flowing, the sun started to set...and we got our final, perfect, Fiji sunset:








Now for the kava ceremony:


It is a common and traditional aspect of Fijian culture to partake in a kava ceremony. Traditionally, kava ceremonies were performed only when visiting a village, and the guest would present a gift of kava to the village elders. Kava itself is the root of a plant that's part of the pepper family. The kava is ground up, placed in a cloth sack and mixed with water in a tanoa (bowl), turning a brownish color. The kava is then poured into a bilo, or coconut shell, from which it is drank.

There are strict rules for accepting and drinking the kava:

  • Clap once
  • Say "Bula!"
  • Drink in one gulp
  • Clap three times
  • Say “Maca!”(pronounced "ma-tha")



 

Once you have had your drink, the kava is served to the rest of the people in attendance, all in the same way. Once everyone's been served, you can then talk, sing, dance, etc...Until it's time for another round and it starts all over again!


 




After quite a few bowlfuls of kava, we were ready for bed. We said our goodbyes to everyone at the resort. as we were leaving at 4:00am for the 2-hour drive to the airport. Then 3 hours till New Zealand!


Next post: New Zealand, Day 1 or "A Man and His Pouch"

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 2 in Fiji


Our second day in Fiji started with a delicious breakfast of coffee, fresh fruit (papaya, pineapple, sweet little green bananas, melon, and coconut) and cinnamon pancakes. Sorry, guys, there are no photos because we were too busy eating. :)

There are, however, photos of some of the local chaps out on the water:



After breakfast? Our first activity:

Today's activity? Hiking to the waterfall!

The hike to the waterfall was actually a lot more complicated than just hiking. First we got a lift to the local store, where we then took a cab to a village where we *began* the hike to the waterfall.

Local house on the way to the village

The ride to the village took us over numerous hills

Once at the village, we went to the "market," or community hall

Villager outside of the community hall

The villagers had all kinds of local wares, from jewelry to decorative masks to kava bowls

After we went "shopping", we began the hike. We were told it was a 15-minute hike to the waterfall. Ha.


Rickety bridge (and no, that bag is not full of my purchases)


We wore flip-flops since the hike took us through tons of cool, refreshing creeks.

First creek and me making a lame attempt at a hair flip

Kevu: guide/activities coordinator extraordinaire



Wading through the creeks was actually the best part of the hike. It was hot and humid, and the 15-minute hike turned out to be more like 45-minutes each way. The creek water was calm and cool, and aside from losing my shoes on numerous occasions, they were a welcome relief.

Finally, we found the waterfall:




We couldn't hike all that way and not take advantage of a swim. The water was freezing, but ridiculously refreshing, and the waterfall itself was so powerful we could barely get near it.




Kevu had the resort pack up lunch for us, which consisted of sandwiches with meat and fresh vegetables, and fresh cut pineapple for dessert.Yum!




While we were enjoying lunch, some local kids came to hang out and decided to climb the rockface to jump off and in the waterfall:



If you look close, you'll see the kid tumbling in mid-air

We wrapped things up and Kevu offered to show us his village.


The walk back from the waterfall







Back at the village


This store was formerly the local airport

Vunaniu Village (Kevu's village)

On the way to Kevu's village

Kevu's daughters coming to greet us

Walking through the village with Kevu
(the hubby also calls this "Politician meeting the local constituents"


When we told Kevu that we hadn't yet had coconut water in Fiji, he summoned his son to climb a tree and throw some down to us


Yep. That's a machete. Six coconuts later and they were all dry. :-(

After visiting Kevu's village, meeting some of his family (and a debacle with a tent they asked us to help them with), visiting his church, and striking out with the coconut water, we got a lift by boat back to the resort.


Back at the bure after our epic hike

We took a nap before snacks and happy hour and waited for the conch shell to be blown for dinner. (Wait - have I mentioned this??? They tell you it's time for dinner by blowing a conch shell! So awesome.)



Snacks (spinach fritters) and beer (Vonu - local Fijian beer)

Tonight's menu:
Rourou soup (fresh spinach cooked in coconut cream)
Local filet mignon wrapped in bacon or
Thai-style crab. Yum!


A man and his beer

Contentment

The Situation?

Christmas decorations

Anticipating dinner!

Next post: Our final day in Fiji!