Day 2: A Visit to the Village

After a night of mostly trying to get to sleep, the morning seemed good. It was nice to listen to the waves crashing last night and the temperature is just how I like it. However, it's a little on the humid side - okay, a lot a bit. I had a good breakfast; a mushroom omelet and three slices of toast made from homemade bread. I ended up visiting the tour desk to figure out what to do for the day and to try to book the rafting trip that I had found online before I left. I probably should have booked before I got there because I ran into some problems. My credit card kept getting declined, so I had to call my credit card company. They said that there was nothing wrong with my card, nothing had been denied and that it must have something to do with a third party. Turns our that the electricity was down in Nadi so they were going through another hotel and that wasn't working. Looks like I will be meeting up with them later this afternoon to try again or drive to a resort to stop at an ATM.
Benji and Danny

I had heard that there was a handicrafts store that offered transport, but the Indian guys that were working the tour desk said that they would just drop me off. I went into the store and got sucked into the tourist trap, but I knew that I needed to get Christmas presents still. The Fijian guys in the store, Benji and Danny, were so funny. They kept wondering why I wasn't married... ugh. They gave me juice while I shopped and we talked story about life. Danny brought up the fact that Indians and Fijians don't get along. He said that the Indians were originally brought in by the Fijians for labor in the sugarcane fields. However, over time, the Indians coming over were wealthier and more educated than the Fijians. They are currently buying and controlling land, limiting what Fijians can do with it. He also said that their money is so poor that they even only make FJ$2.50/hour at the store. They help keep their village surviving by bringing people over there, like me, who will give a donation that's shared three ways in the village.

Danny arranged for me to take a walking tour of the village with Poate (Poo-ah-teh), the village pastor. The first thing that I noticed walking down the street was a Royal Poinciana tree, which are also found in Hawaii. He said that when you see the red and green, you know that it's almost time for Christmas. He showed me the village hall where they have gatherings and whatnot. It was a simple structure, and most the houses were too. He told me that the people in the village are Methodist. He took me inside the church and told me that everyone sits separately. The choir sits up in the front, the children are in the middle, the women are on the right, the men are on the left, and there's a special spot for the village chief in the front. Poate also told me that it's a good time for me to be here and lucky because they used to eat people with my skin color and that only one person got away. I told him that I was glad too, or I probably would be in Fiji. 

Poate's cousin with baby
Inside the church (choir seats on left)
Town Hall
He brought me over to his family's bure and let me come inside. He said that it takes 3-4 months to complete the construction of a bure. The pillars of the structure take the longest, as they must be buried underground seven feet deep in order to withstand the hurricane season. It has a thatched roof and the floor has a mat that is woven from banana leaves. The leaves must be cut, boiled, and then dried in the sun before they can be woven together. Poate showed me a necklace that had an orca whale tooth on it. He said that in the older times, it would be used if someone liked someone and would be given to them like asking them out. It was also given for other special occasions. His tooth necklace has been passed down in his family, so now he just keeps it hanging on the pillar in his bure. Poate told me that a holiday to Fiji is nothing if you don't stop at a village and see how real Fijians live. He said that some villages do homestays and that you can also partake in their activities. "Once you visit, you're like family." He said that if I wanted to donate some money, they village would cook a going away dinner as tradition with friends. I'll have to think about it. It's cool if it doesn't happen that often, but I don't want to fall into a money trap. Oh, I forgot to mention, there was a funny moment when he was wondering why I wasn't married yet. I wasn't sure how to respond so I just told him I didn't know. Then he asked me how old I was and said that it was too late for me! Yikes. Way to make me feel old. However, it was a great experience being able to see the village. Danny dropped me off at the resort and encouraged me to eat dinner at the village.
Poate's Bure
Bure Entrance

Poate in his bure
Orca tooth necklace
Beam structure inside bure 

Chairs in Poate's bure
Village Chief's houses
When I got back, I killed some time on the beach before the Indian guys came back. They said that my card worked on the third try and I was good to go for rafting tomorrow. I was able to get a cheap massage at the resort. Since I wasn't doing anything extreme today, I thought I'd make it a relaxation day. The lady was nice, but made me think that Fijians have different thoughts on nudity. She was setting up on the beach and told me to take my shirt off with five guys sitting nearby. I just was shocking saying, "uhhhh, here?" She then moved me inside my bure where I had more privacy. It seems like they're all very religious here and listen to Christian rock. She left for Church service after and I wondered if they go twice to service on Sundays.

Shells from the beach that I wasn't allowed to take home
A hermit crab running away from me
 I had a great dinner and company tonight. I thought that I was going to go to bed early, but ended up a little later. When I went to dinner, there were only a few people. One of the waitresses finally introduced herself as Kini. I told her about my day and somehow we started talking about fishing. She loves to line fish and invited me to come try with her before or after work sometime before I leave. She's going to try to bring her line tomorrow so we might fish after I get back from rafting. Dinner tonight was prawn linguine. I got followed to dinner by a stray dog. I really wanted to pet her because she seemed friendly, but I'm in a different country and she's still a stray dog. I haven't named her yet, but will before the end of this trip.
The stray that I started calling, "Bessy," for some reason.

I went and talked with Sera at the front desk. She's so nice and always asks how things are going with me. We talked about fishing too because it turns out that she's Kini's oldest daughter. She said she only goes fishing now only when she feels like it because her mom always made her go fishing. She never catches anything and her mom catches everything. She told me a story about this one time she went fishing with her friends and she was swinging the line overhead (like a lasso motion). When she let go, she hooked her friend in the head! Sera burst out laughing when she was telling this story and she has one of the greatest laughs that only makes you want to laugh too. I said that maybe I should stay away from her mom. She said that her mom is good though, but I said that it's for me, so I don't hook her. Ha ha. We talked about the say and then we started talking about kava. She drinks it every night after work with her aunties. She said she woke up late today to the church bells because she drank too much kava. She said that if it's really strong, it makes your lips go numb, you slur your speech, but instead of getting loud drunk like alcohol, you get quiet. I said that they should serve kava at bars because that would be a lot better than a bunch of loud people. She also told me that she uses facebook and they have notebook computers. I'm starting to think that it might not be as bad as I thought before, or that maybe it's just like that for those that are lucky enough to work at the resorts. I don't know. Anyways, I have fun chatting with them. It makes me feel like I'm not alone at all in this trip and makes me wish I could stay here longer.
In front of my bure


Errol Copder said…
Nice day. I was halfway expecting you to be offered the Orca tooth, and him proposing to you! :)

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