Day 275 of 400: Savusavu, Venua Levu – Fiji, South Pacific

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We arrived this morning to the island of SavuSavu.  Instead of jumping in a tour group, we decided to walk around a bit.  We’ve heard this island is known for its pearls which are harvested from the oyster farm around the island.  We walked in the direction of the oyster company until we saw their big sign and white building.  Once in the parking lot, we saw a little shack where 3 women were shucking oysters to find the hidden pearl inside.  We peeked over their shoulder and saw a basket of oysters.  They would grab one to pry it open, then with gloves on…dig through the flesh, find the pearl, put it in a pile with the others and start over.  They do not waste any part of the oyster, the pearl is sold either by itself or in a setting.  The meat is sold to restaurants for customers to enjoy and the inside of the shell called, mother of pearl is made into all kinds of things…mainly jewelry.

We went upstairs into the white building and saw a couple small cases of jewelry all made with pearls or mother of pearl.  They are particularly known for the black pearl…which is more rare than the other colors and of course very pricey.  We were actually surprised as we looked through the different price points and designs…pearls are expensive!  The nice ones were $500 and much higher.  So…we decided to admire them via window shopping but nothing more.

We walked back to the main town area and saw a few local buses picking people up.  We decided it would be fun to jump on and see where it would take us.  It was sort of a beat up looking public bus, with all open windows…no glass.  We grabbed a seat and had fun both watching the scenery pass by as well as the locals getting on/off going about their daily routine.  The bus took us down the coast to a resort and then brought us back to where we caught it before leaving again for its next destination.  We jumped off the bus and bought some fresh pineapple which they peeled and cut for us before getting right back on the bus for another ride.  Again, we had no idea where it was going but the first ride was fun so we thought the second ride would be too.

This time the bus drove into the island instead of the coast, to a small village.  We passed banana trees and gorgeous lush green panoramic views.  We also got to see some typical homes while people going to/from various places got on and off the bus.  We were taking pictures and probably stood out as tourists on a local route.   Once back into town, we found a little bar/restaurant and sat down for a cold beer and coconut.  They had live music and the bar was outside giving it the island feel.  We also ordered some cassava chips which looked like french fries but were actually made from a root (so I guess that means we were eating a vegetable…not greasy fried starch) which were pretty good, something like turnip meets parsnip meets potato.

Back on the boat, we enjoyed our dinner and movie before bed.

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