Thursday, October 05, 2006

Fijian Hospitality

We are adapting to life in Fiji very quickly. Yesterday we hired a car to explore the island but only drove it about 30 miles. We ventured out of Savusavu, drove through some amazing villages, all very neat and orderly with smiling faces waving at us. Tourism is very limited on the island of Vanua Levu so white faces are very unusual to the people here. We went in search of Nakasa village where we had heard there was a good waterfall. After taking directions from many villagers along the way we found the completely overgrown track we had to follow, we parked up after our nerves couldn’t take any more and hiked the rest of the way down to the river. We couldn’t raise anyone in the village so walked out behind the village in search of the waterfall. After hiking for half an hour through dense rainforest we decided we needed help so headed back to the village. We met Carla and three of her children washing clothes in the stream, she was very excited to meet us and said her husband would take us to the waterfall. He was out hunting wild pigs so she called out for him in a big whooping noise (no need for mobile phones in Fiji), a few minutes later Seca fell through the bush on the other side of the river. Seca hiked up to the waterfall with us and we all swam in the pool, the boys jumped in off the rocks. The fall was beautiful and the area around it completely rugged and unspoiled. We returned to the village, collecting coconuts on the way. Carla had prepared food and drinks for us when we got back and dressed in her best clothes. Seca prepared coconuts, the children cuddled up with me and we had a feast of local vegetables. Seca invited us to drink Kava -(the local grog with him but we have heard it makes you very sleepy and numbs the mouth so declined as Andrew had to drive. Seca only drinks Kava on special occasions but smokes special Fijian tobacco. He told us many Fijians drink Kava all the time and it makes them lazy. Seca and Carla were certainly not lazy, they were building their house when they could buy materials from selling vegetables, Seca also worked on the family farm and was a fisherman. We had a lovely time with them and left about 4pm.
On the way back to Savusavu we stopped in a very different village, this village was obviously very wealthy as the houses were immaculate and the villagers dressed well. We chatted with the villagers a while and were invited to stay but had to return the car. We took a picture and when we showed the villagers one of the ladies was so excited she hugged me. Our day was very special and we felt so welcome in Fiji.


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