Fiji consists of 330 islands scattered across 20,000 sq. miles. They lie on the 180 Meridian, so they are the place where the first new day occurs! The biggest island is Viti Levu , where I will be arriving and spending most of my time. Nadi is considered the tourism hub of the country, and offers all types of shopping and accommodation. The average temperature around this time of year (their ‘winter’) is 84 degrees. English is the official language, but natives also speak Fijian and the large Indian immigrant population of Fiji speaks Hindustani.
Some Fijian words:
Bula Vinaka- a warm hello
Ni sa moce- goodbye
Vinaka- Thank you
Mai kana- let’s eat
Walu- king mackrel
The Fiji tourism bureau claims that you cannot go to Fiji without getting sung to, and you cannot go to Fiji without being welcomed. The Fijians are known as extremely welcoming and nice, and have a world-renowned reputation for opening their arms to visitors. There are many traditional villages left in Fiji, and they frequently welcome tourists to stay overnight (home stay) or to visit their schools and churches. Kava (or ‘yaqona’ in Fijian) bowls are one cultural oddity of Fiji that deserves mention; the kava, made from a slightly narcotic plant, is served in a traditional coconut bowl, in a special ceremony. Some of the most popular souvenirs to bring back from Fiji are things like ‘Bula’ shirts, carved tanoa bowls, traditional woven baskets, Fijian replica war clubs, ‘cannibal forks,’ and Fijian combs. The most popular souvenir, however, would definitely be the ‘sulu,’ or sarong. I was told before I came to get a sarong as soon as I get here, because that is the fashionable outfit around Fiji, especially in the evenings. Because it is a all-purpose, one size fits all garment that can keep you cool in the smoldering heat, the sulu is worn by both men and women.
One thing that surprised me is the popularity of Fiji for many activities. Fiji has world-class scuba diving, surfing, and fishing. For diving, Fiji is considered the ‘soft-coral’ capital of the whole world. There are many different wreck dives you can choose to go on, and there are even shark dives (with HUGE bull sharks!). The surfing is also well-known, and places like Cloudbreak and Frigates Pass have been featured on many different surfing documentaries. As far as fishing goes, charters pull in everything from mahi-mahi to sailfish and (black and blue) marlin.After reading all of this, I just can’t wait to land- I will update the blog with more very soon!