Despite the hours, we slept great, and almost without realizing it we were embarking and, surprisingly, leaving on time, towards Suva. In any case we had already looked at the land option to go by bus, but it was not necessary to use it.
Today Isaac has risen somewhat upset stomach. Trying so many meals has to take its toll at some point, although some serum is sure to be phenomenal.
Land at Nausori International Airport, Suva (they call it international, but it is not much bigger than that of A Coruña) at dawn, leave a nice image of a populated area of Vitu Levu, with the sun rising in the distance and the fog rising at this time in the morning. We have reached our destination
As it is early, we have not had too many laps, and we have planted by taxi (40 FJD) in the accommodation that we previously booked days ago in Lami Bay, northwest of the capital, leaving a little of the maremagnum that awaits us there. Today we have to have some luxury, hot water, views of the bay, lush gardens and a deserved breakfast (65 FJD) to start the day. We keep trying to combine cheaper days with slightly less tight days.
But to compensate, the visit of the day will be much more modest than what any traveler can consider in Fiji. We will leave the tourist areas for another of our steps around here, and we have planted ourselves in a local villa about 1 hour from the capital. How we decided to come here is another very long story. In our search for information online, we found Mike, a Fijian who tries to make more eco-sustainable tours on the islands. We ask you to see how rural people really live and here we stand.
If we saw this in Spain, we would talk about shanty towns. The distribution of houses made of wood and sheds throughout the interrupted towns, almost always raised with a kind of improvised piles to avoid floods or floods (apparently common in the rainy season), is quite chaotic. However, in every agglomeration there are zlimited neighborhood onas, with a large park and a school. Here the children are in school and we have even seen passing job training centers (carpenters, etc ...)
They direct us to what the main house looks like. Today we are your guests (not to mention that we are alone, it is not a villa for tourism), and they will teach us their main customs. The first, the thousand and one uses of coconut
It's really amazing to what can take advantage of a coconut and its coconut tree. If it is "scratched" and squeezed, they are able to extract a coconut cream, which is so good to accompany the fish in a complete dish, as for the skin of the body as an aesthetic formula.
The leaves of your tree are braided and used for house roofsbut also to do baskets and other crafts, after letting it dry.
!! Not to mention his excellent water !! sweet taste, and the taste of the coconut itself, with which in so many adventures our inspiring survived Jorge Sanchez
But without a doubt, what we were looking for the most is knowing the great ceremony of the Kava, so famous on these islands and so different from each other. In Vanuatu we didn't get to try it, and in Solomon Islands was "replaced" by the narcotic effect of betel nut They spent all day chewing and spitting in the streets. Here they start a kind of rite, which cannot begin without the arrival of the "Chief" of the town. It is a kind of organizer or wise person of the place, and welcomes us with a smile
He kava or yaquona is a ritual drink made with the dried roots of the pepper plant that they make as a concoction. The root is ground and diluted in water, usually coconut. Then the first sip is offered to the boss, who saying a kind of monologue pats and drinks it. The blow must be strong for the face it puts. From there they begin to serve others.
Paula decides not to try it, but Isaac I think my stomach can't get worse and maybe it will help me cure it, haha, so I accept the offer. Its flavor is like a kind of serum mixed with the pond of the rains in which we have all fallen as children, generating a first effect of dizziness and loss of sensitivity in the tongue. Curious, it will be necessary to continue testing it in other countries, but at more nocturnal hours, to fall round in bed.
They also invite us to have a lemon tea and some bananas while they continue round after round and the children play with us (Juve would have loved this moment). In the end comes the exaltation of friendship and they take us out to dance. The rest better not to tell, hahaha
It did not occur to us to ask them about their macroeconomic knowledge, their differential with the German bond, and their fear of the risk premium. We intuit that either because of their lack of culture, or because they are absurd and unintelligible concepts, they would simply distribute a new round of kava. We ask again, as in other trips, if we have really evolved or evolved into happiness in the West.
Time to continue our trip, after leaving a donation to the local school willingly (50 FJD) and approach the nearest local bus stop. Mike helps us.
Fijian buses are another adventure. Here they almost sit on top of each other when it starts to fill up. What most attracts attention is that they do not close the front door and people almost get on and off, in addition to the original doorbell, with a string distributed throughout the bus so that people can claim their call.
Another aspect that we had noticed these days is that in both Vanuatu and Solomon Islands we had barely seen the Coca Cola brand, common all over the world, even in the most underdeveloped countries. Also that the Chinese have eaten almost 80% of the hospitality businesses perhaps except in Honiara, where they were forced to leave, although they are already regenerating. In their peaceful and silent conquest, without a doubt, they are eating the world. Here we see both combinations
The other big one that has monopolized all the banking business in all these islands is ANZ, the great New Zealand bank, and where we have taken money in ATMs these days.
After about 45 minutes on a bus to the top of people, we have reached the central station of Suva.
Suva is the capital and the heart of Fiji and one of the most important in the South Pacific, being a reference center for the entire region and with numerous foreign embassies. Some 150,000 people live here, representing more than 50% of Fiji's urban population. It is a multiracial and multicultural city, where churches, mosques and temples abound
In Suva you can see that everything is big, starting with your central market, very different from that of Port Vila or Honiara, with an exquisite order, two plants and a certain hierarchy. The fruit and vegetable part has especially rare tubers for us.
But nothing is what it seems. The second floor is COMPLETE AND INTEGRALLY dedicated to the sale of products for kava. !! What a market! It must be incredible what can be consumed here. So are the Fijians, happy all day.
Suva has a magnificent landscape, in a beautiful bay, crossed by canals, and surrounded by mountains. It also houses a peculiar architecture mixing its colonial past and indigenous constructions. On one side of one of the canals we can also see a fish market
But what has caught our attention the most is that It has been eaten by foreign businesses and large commercial centerss. Gone are the Melanesian migrations that made up the current population towards the 6th century BC and developed one of the most advanced cultures in the Pacific. They were different times. In 1789, when the English captain Wiliam Bligh gave the Europeans the first detailed description, he caused that the British crown, affected by the lack of sugar at that time, formally annexed a century later in 1874 the archipelago for the cultivation of cane and the control of the natives. His influence is still observed, but increasingly surrendered to Chinese businesses, open in 60% of the capital
Also in 1830 the first Christian missionaries would arrive from Tonga. Today the country is almost entirely practicing christian, and as an example, its beautiful cathedral very close to the main street
The rest of the morning is dedicated to stroll along Victoria Parade, the biggest street in Suva, where shops line up (we buy some souvenirs for 28 FJD), banks, nightclubs, colonial buildings (Grand Pacific Hotel, the Governor's Old House, Botanical Gardens ...), the biggest cinemas in the country, more shopping centers and streets mixtures of different cultures
!! More Chinese! But are we in Fiji or in Guangzhou?
We try to find something to eat. We are worth any Italian, Japanese or similar. Some spaghetti would reach us. !!IMPOSSIBLE!! McDonald, Chinese, Chinese, Chinese, Indian, Chinese, Chinese. But, please, they have a very large country. We go up to a mall with about 10 places to eat. Chinese, Chinese, Chinese, Indian, New Zealand, Chinese, Chinese. Buaa, then a new zealand dry chicken and ice cream (17.50 FJD)
It also catches our attention that of people asking in the street. Suva is seen to have grown a lot, and the country as well, but not all of them, and here if I know some people misera that we do not get to see in Vanuatu or Solomon Islands, although here tanbuén carry the "kerekeke" "where everyone takes what they need and not more (the concept of private property is not understood as we are).
With this concept it seems ridiculous to think about setting up a business or a store in a remote town, since the Fijian takes what they need, they live up to date, they don't store, they don't care about the future. This is one of the great ingredients of the happiness concept that they manifest, no doubt much more than us. It is a matter of mentality that, unfortunately, we can never understand.
We just ate and we will return to the Novotel Lami Bay to spend a quiet afternoon, reorganize our plans, rest, contact the family a little and redistribute the backpacks
Tomorrow we will definitely go to Funafuti, Tuvalu, the most isolated country in the world. The flight leaves at 10'00. The return we have taken for Thursday at noon. Nor is it that we have chosen a lot, since THERE ARE NO MORE OPTIONS,
Upon our return, following our initial idea and if the flights do not fail (which they do, more than a shotgun), we will try to reach the only Kingdom in the area, Tonga, a country that calls us a lot and where there is a lot to see, history, culture, ancestral remains and a place we talk to Jorge Sanchez, the Vavau archipelago, one of the most spectacular places in the South Seas.
!! Taxiii !! !! Your taximeter! Ahh yes ... It's 10 FJD. Here they also drive on the left as in Solomon Islands and unlike Vanuatu. There are much more roads and traffic, but in just 20 minutes we reach our accommodation.
Some internet session (37.95 FJD), bar and a slow dinner (the "fiji time" concept take it to the table) for 78.50 FJD ...
… they say goodbye to a day full of culture and good times, hoping that tomorrow will bring us new experiences in a truly peculiar and isolated country of the world, TUVALU.
Paula and Isaac, from Lami Bay, Suva (Fiji)
EXPENSES OF THE DAY: 316.95 FJD (approx. 144.07 EUR)