Fiji: Village visits, Bamboo rafting and mud pools
We started day 3 with a tour of Suva, the capital of Fiji. Here we saw Parliament buildings, Embassies and Universities showing a much busier side to Fiji than the remote islands and bush land. Most children to not leave their home village until the age of 18 years, after which they leave and head to the City to Study.
Down a long and bumpy track we reached Nasautoka Village where we were greeted with flower necklaces and everyone including the boys had to wear sarongs. We were welcomed into the village with a tradition ‘Kava’ ceremony – whereby a chief and spokesperson lead the procedure. All the ladies of the village attended the ceremony as well and afterwards we were given a taste of their local food…of course it was mandatory to have at least three servings!! After Lunch we went Bamboo rafting, which as it sounds is made of about 5 bamboos held together by string. Of course Jerry was jumping in and out trying to capsize us and in the meantime lost his sarong or his ‘sexy’ as he called it. Our Bamboo ore was not doing us many favours so one of the locals took pity and dragged us half way down the river. As we floated back into the village all the kids were out playing in the river and it was not long before we all joined in covered in dirt. Back in the Village we saidgoodbye with a traditional dance to local music sang by the ladies and men – each one of us were picked by a partner and taught the basic forward and back steps – then we lead with some of our styles much to their amusement. That night was spent at VoliVoli Beach Resort, more basic than the others but had amazing views over the sea and hillside…we were all looking forward to our lie in, in the morning.
A quick little sunbathe in the morning before it was back on the Bus to head back to Nadi. On the way we stopped off for an Indo-Fijian Lunch, which was a mix of chicken and vegetarian curries made by a local family. We were also able to make
our own Roti on tradition hot iron plates which was interesting when half the group had set theirs on fire!! It was then onto the Sabeto Mud and Hot Pools. Now when I had pictured mud pools I was thinking of a relaxing, floating experience; However, this was literally a tub of mud you coated yourself in, then jumped into the pool which had about half a meter of mud at the bottom which nicely squished between your toes. Then it was into the hot pool which reached about 40 degrees to wash it all off (there was also one which was bubbling at 70degrees). To be honest though at the end I felt far more relaxed and cleansed than I had before. Before heading to our resort we were able to visit the only Orphanage in Nadi, which cares for about 30 children with 11 cares and only 7 at night. You could see the children were very happy to play and keep themselves occupied; it was a shame we had to leave so soon as both us and the ladies could have benefited from our visit.
Overall, the whole experience has been amazing; learning about Fiji from the cultural visits and having fun in the mud to the resorts and scenic bus drives. It has definitely been worth getting a real taste of Fiji around the main island and seeing a side of Fiji you wouldn’t on the islands. The tour leaders where really helpful and many people decided to stay at some of the resorts to scuba dive or take further trips as they wished.