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Remembering Fiji
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Remembering Fiji
  Viti Levu Travel Tale

by Lorry Patton . . .

fijirain.jpg Fiji is some distance from Canada and not a country I get to very often, however, now that Air Pacific has twice weekly flights from Vancouver to Nadi with no plane changes (there's a brief layover in Honolulu), it is definitely more enticing. Consequently, Fiji has been on my mind lately.

What I remember most about Fiji is the people. Their smiles are genuine and very contagious, their conversations sincere and their invitations a surprise. Twice we were invited to a Fijian home for dinner and conversation. Perhaps it was out of curiosity on both our parts, but, nevertheless, memorable drinking Yagona from a ceremonial bowl is not one of my nightly habits.

Children, too, were a pleasure to be around. During one of our oddball activities we were boiling lobster over a hot geyser in a vacant field next to our resort a young soccer team watched us with amusement they practically doubled-over with laughter as we fumbled with the lids, finally holding them down with big rocks. It was not as if we were the only ones there. Several villagers had their rice pots buried on top of vegetables and meat wrapped in leaves and cloth over the dozen or so hot spots. But we were the only "foreigners" there, and certainly the only ones with white-enameled decorated bowls that I bought at the local hardware store. Well, I thought they could double for salad bowls at home.

Other recollections are sensuous, like feasting on whole mangoes the size of coconuts and getting the sweet pulp all over my face or sneaking out at night and lying in the sand looking up at the moon and letting the warm and rough surf wash over me. (Three days later I was still washing sand out of my ears and hair.) I remember walking in the rainforest just after a tremendous downpour; the giant leaves sparkled with raindrops and the air was so thick and humid it lay heavy against my skin. I can smell the heady fragrance of ginger and I can still see ruby-red birds, wispy rainbows, private bays, fireball sunsets and empty white-sand beaches.

Tourist-type memories include trying to weave a hat out of coconut leaves, overindulging at a banquet and watching in amazement as tall and burly men walked on hot coals.

As for accommodations, they come in all shapes and sizes. We stayed in simple two-story inns with the local villagers, in luxurious bures on private islands and in modern sprawling resorts with landscaped lawns, tennis courts and golfing greens. They all had one thing in common. I'm smiling now just remembering.




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