|Ok, yes, as loyal readers, you do deserve a bit more information about Fiji than was contained my last post!
We have now been here, on the Coral Coast, for 10 days and are so relaxed - does it show? Our hotel, is supposedly a 3*, but the service and the food are easily 5*! (we found out that the restaurant here features in the Lonely Planet Guide) Consequently, we booked initially booked 5 nights and are still here after 10! The Fijian people in general are so friendly, as you walk along the road, they all shout "Bula!" (Hello)with such passion, from their cars, or as they walk past. At this hotel in particular, they are completely delightful, even after travelling as much as we have, they are a pleasure to be around,very laid back and friendly - it is hard to believe they were once considered to be amongst the most fearsome warriors and apparently practiced cannibalism as recently the beginning of 20th Century! (They seem quite proud of this fact and the tourist shops are full of cannibal's tools of the trade, such as highly engraved cooking pots and forks!).
We were absolutely honoured when two of the waiting staff (a father and daughter) invited us to their home in a local village, Lase Lase. It was a fascinating(and humbling) experience as they live a very basic existence, but with seemingly complete contentment. One of their daughters took us on a walk round the village, which turned out to be populated mostly by their relatives, everyone was shouting "Bula!" as we walked by. Their houses and lifestyle seem so simple, but they are happy and smile and laugh constantly. When we first arrived, Ben produced a massive machete and proceeded to chop open a coconut straight off the tree in their little "garden" and pour us the lovely sweet juice. Later on we all sat round in a circle outside on a large mat to eat a curry lunch prepared by their daughter. It was served with tapioca, which was very different from Ambrosia's version! We chatted about all sorts of things and it was a lovely relaxed atmosphere.
Yesterday, we took an excursion on a sailing clipper around 5 nearby islands. It was a EADAMAYL cruise (Eat and Drink as Much as You Like!) but I restricted myself to just a few glasses of champagne (yes, I really have changed!). After about an hour and a half, in the distance I could see us drawing nearer to a small desert island, fringed by a bright yellow sandy beach, and with just a few palm trees and 2 thatched huts on it - this was our destination for the day! I could not believe how wonderful this paradise island was - it was tiny, and would take only 2 minutes to walk round (if the sun had not been so hot that we just had to rush for the shade of the trees!). The only inhabitant is a caretaker! Anyway, we all spent the next 3 hours snorkeling and eating an amazing hot lunch which had been prepared by the chef on board the clipper during our journey there - what a day!
Being in Fiji, we have been unable to escape the famous "Kava Ceremony" (unfortunately, that is Kava with a "K"!). This is taken very seriously by the Fijian people and involves sitting round in a circle and drinking "tea" made from the ground root of the Yaqona tree. It looks very like muddy water and the taste is equally uninspiring. However, within seconds your tongue goes numb and you can see that the hallucinogenic properties are having an effect. The Fijians drink it in huge quantities socially with friends and family, basically any excuse. Once was enough for us, so I don't think there is any chance of us becoming addicted, as many of the Fijians have - today I read in the local paper that the elder in one village has banned his villagers from drinking Kava because it is causing them to lose interest in everything else except their next drink!
Afraid I have been unable to upload any photos either to this site or to the Truprint site - the food here may be 5*, but the computer is not! Will work on it.....
Tomorrow we fly to LA, it is probably as well because we have become so laid back we have passed the horizontal, and are currently at about 60 degrees!