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  • Day46

    Day 45 ~ 15,900 Miles, Suva Fiji

    February 19 in Fiji ⋅ ☀️ 82 °F

    Day 45 ~ 15,900 Miles

    BULA! Bula means “hello” and is one of the first words learned upon arriving in Fiji.

    Fiji. Just saying Fiji and my mind immediately conjures up visions of miles of mother of pearl colored sandy beaches, palm trees blowing in the trade-winds, sparkling turquoise waters, and a cocktail served in a coconut. I know this fairytale vision exists on some of the 332 islands that comprise Fiji, but it does not exist on the island of Viti Levu which is the largest island and the one we have visited for the last two days.

    Viti Levu provided me a realistic look into a South Pacific paradise where the minimum wage is $2.32 FJD per hour or $1.06 USD per hour. There was poverty throughout the countryside we toured but there was also beautiful, friendly, welcoming, and happy people.

    Our guides reminded us that cannibalism is part of Fiji’s recent history, equal rights for women has changed their country for the worse and has lead to dramatic changes such as caning your children as punishment is longer acceptable, crime is more common and the crimes committed are now more serious, and women are not required to be buried alive with their husband when he dies (pre-missionary) nor cut off their pinky finger (post missionary) to be buried with him. Damn equal rights.

    The villages we visited are trying to preserve the country’s culture and traditions while it seems the cities are becoming westernized. Conservative dress for women is still mandatory in villages. Kava is the traditional and still popular beverage and both men and women wear the sulu, which is a type of skirt. Our guides also told us that the homes are now westernized, which only means there are fewer and fewer thatch roofs not that they have indoor plumbing, running water, or even windows and doors.

    Our time here has ended and we are headed to New Zealand. I pray that arrival is in strict military time as has been Captain Aivo’s practice and not in Fiji Time.

    Moce (mow-they) Fiji.
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