Today was an incredibly special day. My colleagues and I hopped on a bus and took a ride down to a port where we boarded little green motor boats and headed up the Navua River. The landscape was breathtaking. We cruised up the river for about 45 minutes until we reached a little narrow walkway. We followed it to find a gorgeous waterfall with a little watering hole that we proceeded to jump in immediately. It was quite the sight. On the way back we hopped onto a bamboo raft and floated along the river for a while. After this adventure, we headed over to Koromakawa Village where we were greeted as chiefs with the sound of a big drum and the blowing of a conch shell. We started the tour of the village with a visit to the lovo pits where they prepared our food underground (depicted in the photo with the men in the grass skirts). This was followed by a traditional kava ceremony and then they presented us with dance and song. We learned about the village way of life and the masculine-feminine hierarchy. It is truly a beautiful culture that is full of rich tradition and a collectivistic way of life. XO! JT
After a bit of work this morning, I set out to the local markets on the hunt for some photos and crafts. I made friends (as usual) with a few of the kids in the market. We sang some songs together and afterward, they decided to follow me around the market for a while. The eldest of the three had a smile that lit up the whole building. Later, my friends and I popped over to the Fiji museum where I sang with the local Fiji band. Playing music with people is the same no matter where you are in the whole world. I don't need to speak the local language, I just need to speak music. XO! JT
My time here has continued to be filled with so many friendly Fijians. I am fairly convinced that adopting the Fijian attitude toward contentedness would be a smart and healthy choice for an American girl like me. Although the weather has been quite wet and windy, the heart of Fiji shines through the clouds with smiles and warm greetings. Every. Single. Moment.
Today we made our way through the Botanical Gardens to the Fiji museum where we learned about Fiji's rich history. Afterwards, we found the Presidential Palace where we unsuccessfully attempted to make the guard at the gate smile. He was obviously very good at his job! ;) We then navigated through the bustling streets of Suva to find the beautiful flea markets filled with traditional Fijian textiles. I had the privilege of meeting some young boys who were happy to sing some songs and take a photo with me. So far, Fiji has been nothing but warm and welcoming. I am honored and thrilled to be here learning about this exceptionally beautiful culture. XO! JT
Bula from Suva!
After over 24 hours of cumulative travel time, I finally arrived safely in Fiji. So much has already happened that I can't wait to share!
- I met with part of my group at the airport ahead of the flight.
- After 2 flights (one of which was 11 hours), I took one last flight from Nadi to Suva! It was a hopper and only held 15 people. Thank goodness I took some dramamine.
- Drank Fiji water IN FIJI!!
- Walked into town to grab a quick lunch and promptly hopped into the Grand Pacific Hotel pool that overlooks the Suva Harbor. I swear, I'm not on vacation.
- Watched the sunset while in the pool (that's me in the pool!!)... again, not vacation.
- Went to the craft and food markets!
The photo below shows taro root- very sweet and used in cooking/drinks.
Happened upon the New Zealand Rugby team! They were having breakfast at our hotel. Very sweet group of guys. ;)
Experienced the heart beat of Fiji at a rugby game!! Chiefs vs. Crusaders!
This is Amani! Our local guide and friend who works at the Grand Pacific Hotel. He was nice enough to help us navigate getting to and from the game. Go Chiefs!
I have much more to post, but will do it once I can get the photos off of my phone. If I don't post often, it is because the internet follows the Fijian way of life... slow and relaxed. ;) Xo! JT