At Home with the Fijians

It is with surprising frequency that one is invited into the home of a local when traveling through Fiji. Sharing is the name of the game out on this Pacific island group, and I have met quite a few people offering much more than just directions to the bus station. Here I will try and condense some of the good times spent in the homes of some Fijians so far, though they each deserve much more appreciation than what a mere blurb in the blogosphere can dish out. Continue reading

The Road to Nananu-I-Ra and Small Island Life

My partner Alicia and I chose a tiny island called Nananu-I-Ra for our next destination. Looking through guidebooks and asking locals, we deemed it an economical and fulfilling place. Diving and snorkeling are supposedly quite good, and transport and lodging on the island were within our backpacking budget. Onward then! Continue reading

Ear Infections Abroad and Dealing with Them

A very slow waterslide in Pacific Harbor

My friend Alicia and I are on our own in Fiji now that my parents and sister have returned home. Lingering in Korotogo for one more night, we drank the overalcoholic local rum called Bounty (which gets more painful with each sip) and browsed two Fiji guidebooks for advice on SCUBA diving and lodging for cheapskates.

The next morning, after scraping a rough plan in the sand, we took a snazzy air conditioned bus from Korotogo to Pacific harbor with the idea that we would be doing some diving. Arriving late in the morning, we checked into the cheapest accommodation around, Tsulu apartments above the cultural center of town, and began a walking journey to the two nearby diving companies so we could compare prices.

I was worried about my ear, since I awoke that morning with a feeling of soreness in my left hand aural cavity. I just slept on it funny, I thought, but the problem persisted no matter the incident angle between skull and pillow. I expressed my concern with Alicia, saying “There is no way I am diving tomorrow if my ear is still hurting.” Diving is a game of pressure balance with your air-filled cavities, and so it is ill advised to head down unless your eyes and ears and mouth and nose are in good working order. Continue reading

Fiji Time: Plan On It

Fiji Time happens when you put the beer in the coconut and shake it all up

Descending into Nadi on our Pacific Air flight a few days ago, my dad struck up a conversation with two stewardesses who were seated facing us in their crew seats. He went on about how when he had first visited Fiji back in 1980, there was no TV and only two radio stations. The ladies confirmed this and we began to compare Fiji to other destinations they visit regularly as airline employees like Hong Kong or Sydney. “Too busy,” they say.

“Yeah,” said my dad, “They don’t have Fiji Time.”

Laughing, they wonder, “You know about Fiji Time?!”

Indeed, everyone who has witnessed this remote, volcanic atoll knows about Fiji Time. Continue reading