Never in my life have I met such hospitable welcoming people. Every single hostel we go to, the people seem to get nicer and nicer. Not only that, everyone in the towns and villages are also incredibly nice. The second hostel that we went to was even nicer than the first one. The rooms were very nice, the food was amazing and the two guys, Sosi and Do, were a couple of the funnest people I have ever had the pleasure of spending a few days with. The first day at our hostel we went with Do to the waterfalls. There were three, the first was the tallest and really fun to try and swim underneath, the second was gorgeous and the third, which was an hour hike up the mountain, was the best of all. We spent a good 45 minutes there and climbed up the rocks to cliff jump into the pool of water below. The water was perfectly warm, although Do was freezing the entire time. I guess us Canadians really do have thick blood.
The next day we went on a boat ride with Sosi and Do to a private island and did some snorkeling and we also tried spear fishing. The spear basically consisted of an elastic band with a hook on the end for a big metal rod 'hook'. Thordie actually did very well, as I could barely get the spear moving, he managed to spear 2 fish right off the get go. We both really enjoyed that, however it seems that I just can't help but learn the hard way that sunscreen is a must. We both got fairly burnt on our backsides, but luckily we were only there for a couple hours. That afternoon Sosi took us to the natural watersides. They were absolutely beautiful, but they were...very natural. I only ended up sliding down a couple times, and thank god I did or I wouldn't be able to sit down for a week. The rocks that you slid down on were quite smooth, but there were jagged parts all the way down and the sides of the rocks were not so forgiving. We had lunch on the rocks there and sat under a canopy of thick trees and vines.
Today we had a lazier day, we woke up and played card games and had fun destroying Do's magic tricks for a couple hours. We then went into town with the two of them and walked around there. It is very interesting to see how everyone lives down here, and in a lot of ways it reminds me of the villages in South Africa. It seems that the people that have the least amount of things are the ones who are most willing to give you everything. One thing that I do not understand here is the economic system. Many things that you can buy are dirt cheap and then others are horrifically expensive. One man that we were talking to on the ferry said that minimum wage in Fiji is about $2.90 Fijian dollars (so about $1.80 Canadian) an hour. He also said that more than 20 percent of the population gets less than that. Yet many of the items that we have seen in grocery stores have been over the top expensive. Thordie and I were shocked when we took a box of cereal to the counter and found out that it cost $29.00 fjd. Electronics are also very expensive, and so are all things that are not found on the islands of Fiji. The things that you can get for dirt cheap though, are papayas, mangoes, bananas, hostels, and taxi rides.
If you dont like papaya, kava, or fish, you might as well never stop in fiji. I was amazed at how open minded Thordie has been and the extent he will go to to be polite. Anyone that knows Thordie, knows that he hates fish more than almost anything. Yet we have been served fish at about every second meal and he has managed to clear the entire plate. When I tell him to just eat as much as he can swallow and leave the rest he refuses and says it would be rude. At our dinner tonight he said that he 'might actually leave Fiji liking fish' (and then he told me to never tell his mother that). Another thing that is very popular to the Fijians is beach volleyball. We have spent many hours playing intense games of volleyball, which is a lot of fun, but deadly in the humid heat.
I feel very at home here because all the Fijians walk absolutely everywhere barefoot. They have seriously tough feet from doing so, and even on the burning hot road they dont even bat an eye when walking along it for kilometers. I have loved being able to join them in this and not be stared at like I am in Canada.
Another custom that they heavily practice is drinking Kava. Every single night they mix up some ground Kava root and mix it with water in a big wooden bowl. Then you sit in a circle on the ground and take turns drinking the Kava out of coconut shells. Each time you are given the shell to drink, you must clap once, say 'bula' (a fijian greeting that they seem to use for everything) and then drink. Once you drink you have to clap three times and then say 'matha'. There are many other rules, such as; you can't put the coconut shell down, you can't stretch your legs out on front of you, and so on. The drinking of Kava is a very old practice and from what we have seen it is quite sacred, however they do have their fun with it. Apparently it helps put you to sleep and it calms you down, which is why they do it before bed every night. For the last three nights we have spent at least a couple hours drinking Kava, and listening to Do and Sosi play guitar on the deck of the hostel above the ocean. It is a very interesting ritual, and it seems to be done every place all over Fiji and is very popular among the Fijians.
Tonight we took a boat ride from the island of Tavuni to the island Maqui. This island is supposed to be one of the nicest of all the 333 islands that make up Fiji. I am excited for the surfing lesson tomorrow as well as the incredible rope swing attached to a huge palm tree right next to the ocean, about 10 metres out from out room. At
the moment Thordie is sleeping away on my lap so I should probably pack it in, but we will be sure to take lots of pictures these next few days and keep looking on Thordies facebook for them, as we are having difficulty posting them up on the blog. Internet is difficult to come by so we may not be on for a few days but as soon as we get the chance we will be using it. I hope everything is going well in Saskatoon,
D and T
Apparently Internet is even harder to come by than I thought. We may not be able to access it for a few more days so I thought I might as well write about today in this post because I am so excited about it. Today was truly a tropical paradise, the island we are now on is even more incredibly gorgeous than the others. We spent the morning swinging from the rope swing into the water, which was even more fun than I thought it would be. Since it is attached so high up on the towering palm tree, it has so much give to it and it throws you around so much. It was a little terrifying at times because you can get going so high and so fast.
Once the tide came up at around 2, we decided it was finally time to take a surfing lesson. It was amazing!!! I don't think I have ever done something so fun. Our lesson consisted of a 15 minute on land run through and safety, and then we headed for the water. Surfing is actually a lot easier than I had expected...not to say it is easy, but I was never expecting to actually get up the first time. The very first wave I hit, I managed to surf out for quite a while. I was thrilled when I ran the wave right out and slashed on my back into the water. After that Thordie and I both had great luck popping up on the board to catch some waves. It was truly one of the best feelings to be gliding on top of the water, and the setting we learned in could not have been more serene and beautiful. I am incredibly excited to continue surfing in other places, especially New Zealand, Australia and Indonesia, which our instructor said were some of the nicest places in the world to surf.
Tomorrow Thordie and I are heading to the village nearby for a tour. Apparently where we are going is a very sacred place and you may only enter if you provide a gift of Kava to the chief. The couple that went there today said that it was one of the highlights of their trip so far. After that I plan on trying to surf some more and I think Thordie is planning on trying his luck with spear fishing again. The only thing that i can say about the island of Maqui is that the people here are not as incredible as in Tavuni and bamboo. Also, as willing as i am to try different things and as open minded as i am trying to be, i dont think i'll last much longer eating fish, crab and papaya. I miss food back at home more and more everyday, and as great as some of the meals are here, i cant help but envision a big hamburger every evening. This place is amazing however and it is a great start to our trip, I am very glad that we decided to stay in Fiji longer but I am looking forward to the change in lifestyle and culture when we get to NZ.
D and T
We will be posting more photos soon to thordies facebook, be sure to check em out, words can only describe so much.