Before setting foot in Fiji we didn’t think we would find ourselves in a local village considering the amount of planning (zero to none) we did for this trip. We were so lucky that things worked out the morning of our last day in Fiji – we were going on a road trip! I have recapped the first half of the trip in my previous post, this last half sums up our last hours before boarding the plane back to Sydney.
We initially wanted to go to another village (i think Navala village) which was recommended by tourism sites and it looked pretty cool with the traditional Fijian style homes, ‘thatched huts’. However we were told by the manager at our resort that those places are so “touristy” and pretty much staged. You had to sign up for a tour to get there, and there was no chance we’d get ourselves there on such short notice. So she told us about Abaca village or otherwise known as “ABC village” where it is quite remote to the point that there is no electricity.. so forget about seeing a TV, or any kind of kitchen/home appliance.
Abaca village used to have thatched huts until several years ago the village was hit by a land slide and wiped out everything and just about every one… but 3 people. With the help of the government they eventually rebuilt the village to the state it is in now and there is just over 100 people living there.
About an hour drive from Nadi, you will first be greeted by this little red and teal building where you have to sign in at and pay a fee (I think it was FJ$10 for us all) before proceeding to the waterfall and other look outs. We stopped at the village on our way back and got to meet some of the locals there.
We entered one of the lady’s home, it was so simple inside, little furnishings and no solid dividing walls. Their dividing walls were simply pieces of fabric draped on a string.
We stayed a little longer in Abaca purely because the other guys were so keen on trying kava, apparently we were lucky that they even served it to us because they don’t usually. I entered the house so certain that I will not have a single drop of kava… because I didn’t have that kind of curiosity. I was immediately defeated when the bowl was passed around, caved in a took a sip too.
Kava is pretty much the root of a plant which has been grounded down and mixed with water. It is usually served at group gatherings, people drink it slowly as their chat the night away. APPARENTLY, the initial preparation stage involves them chewing on the kava root to make the effects more intense… so there is a chance that there is saliva mixed in the whole thing…. I did not hear the end of this when I told my parents I tried Kava. As in, parents burst out laughing and in disgust.
Never ever thought I’d try kava in my life, but I did so unexpectedly and it was an interesting experience. Though with a sip you won’t be able to feel the full effect of it, the very least was feeling my tongue go numb, much like after having Strepsils.
We stepped out to do some exploring of the village, we spotted the kid above looking out the window and within seconds, more kids came out of the house and ran towards us.
They were surprisingly friendly and quite liked our attention, especially when we have our cameras pointed at them. Although for a place that has no electricity… hence no such thing as iPhones… they somehow know how to *swipe* across screens… which was what they kept doing when we showed them photos on our cameras.
They were surprisingly friendly to me because, some of the locals I grew up around in Vanuatu were bullies 🙁 Any asian kid who grew up there would be able to relate to being mocked by them trying to speak our language, e.g. *Ching Cho Lah!* and a lot more other nonsense sayings. Well I guess with these kids we couldn’t understand what they were saying and they don’t seem to know what we’re saying either. From what we can tell, they seemed like happy carefree kids who passes their time by running around, chasing each other, rolling down the hill and such. That seemed to be their idea of fun.
Long drive back to the resort, we drove back through the bush fires and dust.
With our personal tour guide, Riaz!
Final toast of coconuts over a late lunch before we head to the airport!
Job well done team! now back to the daily grind…..
Overall, traveling to Fiji to shoot a wedding was amazing and couldn’t think of a better group of people to experience it with! It was exciting shooting in a difference place, where weddings don’t exactly run the way we are used to, e.g. being on time and orderly! Now, I can only hope for another opportunity to Fiji (or else where!) to come along, because to be honest… I do want to see more of Fiji! (and the world) 😉