Saturday, May 27, 2006

We have to go back to Fiji

We're home. We arrived at Fort Lauderdale airport at 6am yesterday, after 27 hours of travel. 6am here is 10pm Fiji time - the next day. We were pretty tired and jet-lagged. We got home and said, oh doesn't that bed look good! We slept all day, only waking up long enough for Jim to visit his parents' and pick up Odie. But, we have to go back! There's so much more to do there. We were very disappointed that our river rafting got cancelled. Check out the website for Rivers Fiji. We were booked to do the rafting on the Upper Navua river. Doesn't it look great?! Due to a broken bridge, we were unable to do that river trip. The little bit of traveling around Fiji we did after leaving the Nai'a dive boat just whetted our appetite for more. We'd like to go back and raft that river. We'd like to go back and visit the land-based dive resorts on Taveuni island. We'd like to cruise with the Tui Tai. And, of course, we'd love to dive with Nai'a again. This Fiji travel guide mentions many more things I'd like to see and do in Fiji. It's beautiful, the people are very friendly without being pushy, they speak English, there's diving, kayaking, hiking, biking, and lots of beaches. Apparently, lots of backpackers go there. I didn't see any RVs though. Here's a map. Our Upper Navua river trip was scheduled for Wednesday. The Rivers Fiji folks suggested we do the Luva river trip scheduled for Thursday. But the schedule was just too tight for our comfort. The trip concluded about 5pm and we needed to catch our ride to the airport no later than 5pm. So, we didn't go on the river, but they let us ride in the bus to where they dropped the kayakers off, then we just rode in the empty bus back down. I'm really glad we did that. We saw the beautiful rainforest of the Fiji highlands. On the map above, we stayed in Pacific Harbour, on the south side of the main island, Viti Levu. The drive started at Navua town where we saw people with Kava root taking it to market via river transportation. Then we left the main, paved road that hugs the coast and started up the dirt road into the highlands. This is rainforest, with the biggest tree ferns I've ever seen. When we got to the highest point on the road, about 3,000 feet I think, the bus driver stopped and let us take in the view back to the ocean. Continuing on, we found ourselves in a gorge with sheer rock walls. Wow. And beautiful streams. Have you ever seen orchids growing in the wild? The Luva river flows thru land under the control of a village, so we stopped at the village and had a Kava ceremony with the Chief to get his permission and blessing. This is the real thing .. not a village set up for tourists. Our guide from Rivers Fiji is from this village, and, in fact, the chief is his father. This was a very special experience. And, the villagers seem to genuinely enjoy our visit. Here is one of the more shy villagers showing herself from her window and shouting 'Bula!'. One of their sources of income is from harvesting Kava, which is a root that makes their traditional drink. Here is some Kava root drying. (another source of village income is from prize money for Rugby tournaments!) On to the river, where the inflatable kayaks are waiting. Here's where the rest of the group gets off the bus and we leave them to take the river back down. Boo Hoo - I wanna do that. But, I'm really glad we got to see this part of Fiji. We gotta go back! Next post will be a recap of our 10-day liveaboard dive adventure. Gotta go get the film developed for the little underwater camera I took. and .... gotta sleep ... jet lag is real! We woke up for a few hours last night, and a few hours in the middle of the night, then it was back to sleep for most of the day today. I'm adding this note at 5pm and am just now feeling a little awake. It doesn't help that we both ended the trip with little colds.

3 comments:

Gypsy John said...

Chris/Jim,

WOW!!!

I don't know HOW YOU COULD ever have gotten back on that airplane to come back to the USA! That scenery is SPECTACULAR. If I had a 27 hour flight facing me, I would have figured out some way of staying a month or two. Sign me up!

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