A Travellerspoint blog

JAN 16: OUR LAST DAY IN FIJI

Visiting the Fijian Cultural Village


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Our last day. Checkout at 10, but they store our bags and we can swim and hang out till we need to be at the airport at 7 pm. We decide to spend the day taking transport to the Fiji Cultural Village. We are welcomed with song and a Kava ceremony. Now used to these traditions it is fun to watch a family from China trying to understand the kava protocol. We then share a lovo - a lunch cooked with hot stones in pits covered in banana leaves, very similar to the Tsawout cook pits except with taro, kasava, and sweet potatoes along with chicken and fish. After lunch we tour the living village, with bures depicting life in the old days. There is a separate bure for each activity. These include meeting the chief in the chiefs house, and participating in demonstrations of fire making by rubbing two sticks together, the carving bure, the weaving bure, the pottery bure and others. It’s a great way to spend the afternoon.

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KAVE CEREMONY AND DANCERS

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THE FIJIAN CULTURAL VILLAGE CHIEFS BURE

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FIREMAKING, POTTERY AND WEAVING BURES

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COCONUT CRAB

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TURTLE TABLE

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PRACTISING ARCHERY WHILE WAITING FOR OUR PICKUP

We get back to the Aquarius by the Sea in time to each get an outdoor massage from an excellent masseuse, have a dip in the pool and shower and head off to the airport. We leave Fiji on the evening of the 16th, arrive in LA before lunch on the 16th, and are in Vancouver before 6. Everything has gone so smoothly without a hitch as we travel the world, till ironically we try and catch the flight from Vancouver to Victoria on Air Canada. We learn of a 4 hour delay due to mechanical problems and a potential overnight in Vancouver. A four hour delay gives time to finish off this blog except for some videos we will try to include once we get home. Now it’s confirmed. Overnight in Vancouver courtesy of Air Canada, plus a $64 food coucher and covering the cost of our accomodation in Victoria. At least it should be a good nights sleep. It’s been a great trip, especially since Mani (who usually finds travelling quite exhausting, has really enjoyed the trip. VINAKA from Mani and Rob.

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A FINAL MASSAGE

Posted by RDILL 19:41 Archived in Fiji Comments (0)

JAN 14 JAN 15: LAST DAYS COCONUT BEACH:

The Rains Finally Come

rain 28 °C
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JAN 14
We are down to 4 couples. One Australian couple that have been here for a month, and a new German and young Australian couple. The staff out number the guests. Last night it rained and this afternoon started up again with brief thundershowers. It has been the first rain on our trip It has been a lazy day of reading punctuated by a swim in the ocean in the rain. The rain and the ocean are the same 28C temperature so it is quite refreshing.

JAN 15
Our last day at Coconut Beach. A morning snorkel along the reef with Mani, pack up and lunch. The stafff place flower leis around our neck, sing a farewell song to us, and we wave goodbye as their boat takes us to meet the Yasawa Flyer, a large catamaran that will transport us back to Vito Levi, the main Island in Fiji. The trip takes 4 hours, stopping at resort locations along the way to pick up and drop off more and more travellers. The first half hour is a bit up and down as we head into open swells on the outside edge but it gradually becomes a pleasant ride in a comfortable setting. Once debarked, we are bussed to our hotel, in time for dinner by the pool with the ocean waves lapping on the sand beach in front of us.

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ROBERT AFTER SNORKELLING

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SAYIING FAREWELL TO ANOTHER COUPLE

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A HAPPY COUPLE

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CATCHING THE YASAWA FLYER AND EN ROUTE

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EVENING SUNSET

Posted by RDILL 21:45 Archived in Fiji Tagged last days Comments (0)

JAN 13: SAWAILAU CAVES AND FIJIAN NEW YEAR

It’s a hard life

semi-overcast 31 °C
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Every morning and afternoon the resort provides activities that guests can take part in. Mani decides to go to the Sawailau Caves while Rob decides to go snorkelling along the reef on his own. She goes with a neat Czech family of four that have just arrived. Although apprehensive at first, Mani discovers that she loves the Caves. The boat ride there takes about 40 minutes. The group goes up a staircase, along a bridge and descends down a second staircase into the first cave. It is bright and spacious with light coming in from above through a large crevice. The second cave is through a small entrance with about 4 inches of air space above it. They swim through with snorkelling gear, including a 3 year old (without the gear). It’s pitch black inside except for the bright lights from our guides. The children are afraid and return immediately where they quickly forget their fright and enjoy playing on the rafts. The 2nd cave is amazing with high ceilings and lots of chambers — mostly to be explored only with diving gear.

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THE CAVES

Rob meanwhile heads offshore to glide along the drop-off. He sees a good sized shark and enjoys being able to drift on his own while still cautious of being hundreds of metres offshore on his own, especially after finding out the sea snake ( banded sea kraut) he encountered yesterday was highly venomous (but supposedly docile unless provoked).

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THE REEF

The owner and his family leave around lunchtime. A fun custom of the Fijian new year is for the men and women to spray each other with water and this is done here by throwing buckets of water on each other when least expecting it. The ritual goes on for two weeks after the actual new year so we get to watch the giggles and laughter and fun as the Fijian staff run around the compound trying to surprise each other. They decide to show their fondness for the owner by dowsing him as he is about to leave.

In the evening, we enjoy another Kava ceremony and learn kava is called yagona in Fijian, the bowl is called tanoa, and the coconut shell bilo. This time I enjoy 4 full bilos and can feel the tingle on my tongue. We have a wonderful fish dinner with live music and then get up and dance and embrace the ambience. We share stories with the the Czech family late into the evening and the seven year old shows us impressive videos of her dance troupe performing back home in Brno.

Posted by RDILL 21:30 Archived in Fiji Comments (0)

JAN 12: THE BLUE LAGOON

Mani stars in the.Next Movie


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JAN 12
Mani and I are transported by boat by one of the staff to the neighboring Island and the Blue Lagoon Beach where the movie was shot. Beautiful sand beach where we snorkel, feed the fish, and hang out for a few hours looking back to our own little paradise . I get to see a black and White Sea snake about 3 feet long and while swimming with it it decides to swim right at me and I feel the skin rubbing against mine as I try to move away. The afternoon is spent relaxing, reading, and finally getting caught up on the blog.

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Posted by RDILL 00:49 Archived in Fiji Comments (0)

JAN 11: SNORKELLING, DRINKING KAVA, DANCING

Lazing about on Coconut Island

sunny 31 °C
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JAN 11: SNORKELLING, DRINKING KAVA AND DANCING
The morning is spent lying in the sun and swimming in the warm South Pacific waters. It’s great having all your meals served. In the afternoon we decide to go snorkelling but the water is a bit to rough for Mani so Rob goes out with Brian, one of the Fijian staff. The coral isn’t as brilliant or as abundant and varied as the Maldives but still nice to explore. We see one large Turtle and the biggest Parrotfish I’ve ever seen. The afternoon is spent walking the beach.

AT 6:30 we all get together for a Kava ceremony. Kava is made from the root of a pepper plant. It is a mild relaxant. I am made honorary chief. The kava is mixed and then the chief takes the first bowl. It is served in a half coconut shell. I shout out BULA ( welcome) clap once and then drain the drink while the others clap three times. I then return the empty coconut shell to the server, clap three times saying VINAKA (thank you). We take turns sitting in a circle around the kava bowl. Not nearly as strong as the kava in Vanuatu where the young boys chew the root and you say goodnight before the first sip and soon lose all muscular coordination while sitting round the nakamal. It is an acquired taste and we enjoy a second bowl. By now there are three or four Fijians joining in and playing their guitars and singing away in the most melodious voices.

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DRINKING KAVA

The music continues while we enjoy another wonderful dinner. The Australian owner Alex and his son and their partners are having a holiday here. The rest of the guests are from Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. We are the only guests from the Northern hemisphere. We sit at a big table getting to know everyone. Then the Fijian men and women entertain us with traditional dance including fire dance, and soon we are all up dancing into the night

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FIREDANCE

Posted by RDILL 19:48 Archived in Fiji Comments (0)

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