Day 274 of 400: Suva, Viti Levu – Fiji, South Pacific
As soon as we got off the boat today, we saw a bunch of locals selling various tours for different parts of the island. We enjoyed the private tour at the last island but didn’t want to spend so much, so jumped in a small van with 6 other people.
After driving for about 45 minutes on the curvy road going too fast, many people were car sick which was not a great way to start the tour. We reached our first stop which was at a resort on a nice stretch of beach. We all went our separate ways for a bit…Giff and I and one of the guides walked slowly on the sand admiring the tranquility of the ocean. There were many coconut trees along the way and Giff attempted to get them out of the tree…for the record usually someone climbs up the tree and cuts the coconuts with a knife. Giff found an old bamboo stick lying around and multiple times, heaved the stick upward launching it at the coconuts which didn’t budge.
We settled on picking a couple of coconuts that were already on the ground and took them back to the resort. They opened one for us to drink the juice before getting back in the car. We drove a bit further to a touristy outdoor mall…where vendors were selling their crafts and restaurants were hoping to get inflated prices for local cuisine. The lily pond outside of the shops was pretty but besides that, it was kind of a waste of time.
The so-called tour drove us back the 45 minutes to town where Giff and I walked around downtown Suva for a bit to browse around the area. We saw that they had a big open market so had fun walking through all the goods and taking pictures of the random piles of produce and the people selling it.
There were women outside the market selling their baked goods so we decided to try what they call bila which is their version of bread…it comes wrapped in leaves and is baked in the ground. The consistency is very starchy and chewy, we decided not to finish it as it was not so good.
Upstairs from the fruits and veggies were many vendors selling kava. Not the ready-made version we tried in Vanuatu but the actual root of the plant. They not only had the roots which are purchased by the bundles, but they also had the powder which is already ground from the root and sold in a paper bag. We had a good time at one of the stalls as he explained how to make it properly and that you cannot have too much the way you could have too many drinks (not sure that is true). He equipped us with a half coconut shell which is what they traditionally use to sip the drink, the ground powder and a thin cloth. Basically, you put the ground powder into the cloth, fill a bowl with water and then keep squeezing the ball of powder until the water looks like mud. Then you dip the coconut shell into the kava and drink the bowl quickly before handing it to the next person in the group. We bought it thinking it would be fun at some point. He also showed us the pure tobacco he had which literally came off the farm, but of course we were not interested…for smokers this was the real stuff…no chemicals.
We walked back to our ship with our bag of kava, freshened up and had dinner in the formal dining room.