30 July We finally arrived in Fiji chcking in in Suva the capital of Fiji.
According to the Lonley Planet…
Fiji was once known as the ‘Cannibal Isles’ and its people were believed to be fierce and hostile; a recent history of coups has done nothing to dispel this notion in the minds of some travellers. Despite this, Fiji is beautiful, it has a pleasant tropical climate, the diving and snorkelling are superb and it has excellent facilities for tourists, whether they are on a tight budget or indulging in the luxuries of a plush resort.
Fiji has a unique history in the Pacific and today it is an interesting blend of Melanesian, Polynesian, Micronesian, Indian, Chinese and European influences. For nearly 50 years, until the military coup of 1987, the indigenous people of Fiji represented an ethnic minority in their own land. Fiji was the trade centre for the South Pacific during the 19th century, and the British claimed it as a colony in 1874. During the century or so that Fiji remained under British colonial rule, tens of thousands of indentured Indian labourers were imported to work on sugar plantations. Indigenous Fijians, however, managed to hold onto their traditional rites and practices – mekes (narrative dances), bure (house) construction, kava ceremonies, tapa-cloth making and pottery( Courtesy www.lonelyplanet.com)
Suva, Fiji Fiji’s capital, is on the south-eastern coast of the big island of Viti Levu. While Nadi, in the west of this island, is the tourism centre of the country, Suva is interesting as the country’s political and administrative centre as well as the major port. Suva and its urban surrounds are home to half of Fiji’s urban population, and it is one of the South Pacific’s largest and most sophisticated cities, housing the University of the South Pacific, the fascinating Fiji Museum and many interesting colonial-era buildings. It’s a multicultural city with many mosques, temples, churches and cultural centres. The Roman Catholic Cathedral (1902) is one of the city’s most prominent landmarks.
The waterfront area is very interesting, and the Suva Municipal Market is a must-see for visitors for its exotic fruits and vegetables, kava, fish and seafood, and spices. It has an exciting multicultural flavour, with vendors selling brightly coloured Indian sweets and savouries, and fruit drinks from glass tanks. (Courtesy www.lonelyplanet.com)
We relaxed and explored some of Suva including the National Museum. But our days in Suva have been marked with almost constant rain so we have decided to move on to Bega just 20 miles away.
14 August We spent a few days anchored in a well protected bay along the south coast of Viti Levu, one of the big islands in Fiji. The locals strive to keep their traditions alive and we enjoyed several meals and evening times with them. After learning a bit of the Fijian history in at the museum in Suva it was nice to find a group honoring their past. When they were traditionally dressed and painted it was easy to imagine the young men as warriors. However they were universally friendly and we weren’t overly worried about being a main course for dinner.