The Lights of Fiji

**This is a longer post. We will have a Fiji movie collage up as soon as we get to a better internet connection. For now, a few pictures are at the end of this post.**

It was easy for us to fall in love with Fiji-the beauty of the Yasawa Islands, the friendliness of its inhabitants,the slow pace of the islands, and keeping Fiji time. The days went by at a nice steady pace; not too slow, not too fast. In some ways its hard to believe its been two weeks since we have arrived. It feels much longer in a good way. We have loved being able to do too much because there is only so much you can do on a island. Living the island life does have its limitations though. We have not seen a single political add in two weeks and are clueless to the current price of oil and feeling pretty good about it. On the other hand, we haven’t been able to choose what we eat or been able to travel more than three miles in any direction without hiring a boat (we know none of you feel sorry for us at all). We have thoroughly enjoyed our two weeks in Fiji but are really excited for whats ahead…New Zealand!

Here is a list of our “lights” of Fiji-the lowlights and highlights of our time in the South Pacific (in no particular order):

  • John had a close encounter with a bus outside the airport (who would have thought that the buses would be driving on the left side of the road.)
  • We were greeted by singing at our first resort, Waya LaiLai Eco Village
  • Loved the nightly entertainment including
    – Fijian dancing
    -fire dancing
    -village children singing with motions
    -village entertainment group with traditional songs
    -kava ceremony-kava is a traditional drink in Fiji, if you want to get an idea of the taste, take your dishrag at home, get it wet, wring it out into a cup drink it and that is pretty much the flavor of kava. What you won’t get is the numb tongue from the kava root.
    -trio of guitar and ukulele strumming musicians who played Fijian tunes, Eric Clapton covers and even a rendition of “Leaving on a jet plane” which made us think of our niece Kylan.
    -the Bula dance-at first glance this dance was reminiscent of line dancing with Grandma Williams.
  • Snorkeling with reef sharks as well as snorkeling on the reefs near our resorts.
  • Volleyball with the locals. Fijian scoring practices are much looser than those in the United States. When they say the game is done it is done.
  • The first illness of the trip. Erin had a 101 degree temperature and chills. Decided to take a sick day and was back to the hard work of doing nothing the next day.
  • Rice, potatoes, mystery meat, coleslaw, fish, coco fritos, fresh mangos, curry, octopus, fried donuts, lamb, chicken (I mean chicken bones), watermelon, coconut, orange Tange, Fiji bitter beer, coconut cookies, and afternoon tea.
  • Fiji Day Rugby Tournament- at which we experienced our best meal in the Yasawas, a meal that came out of a random woman’s kitchen in the middle of a Fijian village.
  • Fijians know how to make a reservations but don’t know always know how to hold a reservation. See previous blog.
  • Kayaking around the island of Waya Sewa with a hole in our kayak. When the water was up to our waist we knew it was time to come to shore and take a dump… of water that is.
  • Conversations with other travelers, the majority of whom are also on an extended trip like ours (so much for being original). We are begginning to understand how influential the US is and our reputation is around the world. We have met travelers from the UK, Germany, Noraway, Sweden, Switzerland, New Zealand, Japan, Holand, Ireland, Australia, Finland, and Canada.
  • Attending church in the village. There is definitely western cultural influence: a picture of white Jesus with flowing chestnut locks, cellphone ringing in the middle of the service, pews to sit on, and a flower arrangement on the pulpit.
  • Hanging out with the locals-John became somewhat of a celebrity by the end of our time and had quite a following:
    – Johnny the scuba dive instructor who taught Mel Gibson to dive
    – Big Jerry the activity coordinator
    – Sau, another dive instructor, who invited us to stay at his house for a few nights
    – Nancy, the volleyball playing, weaving, dancing, netball playing woman who now has our Neosporin – Joe-Joe the rugby player who invited us to eat under his shaded area
    – James, the man who would sing John an rhyme about “Johnny” something or other when he would seem him coming
    – Manu the 20 something, university educated guy who returned to his village to give back. Sidenote: also a very tough rugby player and caught a poisonous snake with his bare hands.
  • Not seeing the news or other media sources for 14 days. Having watched the news this morning it appears that the economic sky is falling, but all seems to be well in Fiji.
  • Lots of hammock time.
  • We have located the European body double for Derin Williams, our cousin. His name is Johann and he is from Sweden. It was just uncanny how his mannerisms and general demeanor were so similar, not to mention is physical appearance. We couldn’t help but stare. John tried to hang out with him as if he was Derin, but it just got awkward. We showed him a photo of Derin and he could kind of see it, but wasn’t convinced he had a long lost twin. We look forward to finding more body doubles of other friends and family as we travel.

We spent last night in Nadi, ate some delicious pizza at Mama’s Pizzeria, and had a good night’s rest. We board the plane tomorrow morning and fly out to Auckland. Pictures to come!

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3 Responses to The Lights of Fiji

  1. Joel Bock says:

    Wow. Beautiful images, friends! John, you’re a celebrity on Fiji? That’s awesome! I had a friend from fiji in highschool, he loved his home. Now I see why.

  2. Sounds like you guys are having a great time. it is so fun to read you blog. I can picture some of the things you write about and just laugh. Thanks for sharing it all with us. I look forward to hearing more!

    was there surf in Fiji??

  3. Katie Elmes says:

    I realize I’m a little behind, but I’ve finally caught up with you guys and I just wanted to say thanks for the mention of Kylan…I’m sure her rendition of Jet Plane is better though!

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