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Visit with Mom & Dad... ROAD TRIP TO SUVA                                                               

June 1
Abdul, at Vuda Point, again arranged for the rental of a car and we set out on a new adventure, driving the Queen's Highway along the coral coast, to Suva. The road is paved and in good condition but reminded us of Mexico, as there are animals wandering about and you have to pay close attention as all the villages have speed bumps

Arts Village Firewalkers...
We left early to catch the Firewalker Show and Meke at the Arts Village, about a 2 hour drive from Lautoka at Pacific Harbour. We arrived just as the preparations were being made. The firewalkers, wearing full traditional costume, are from the island of Beqa where they are know for their ability of walk barefoot on white-hot stones without being burned. In days gone by, when the ceremony was very religious in nature, the whole village would spend months preparing firewood, appropriate stones, and costumes. The firewalkers had to abstain form sex and refrain from eating coconut for up to a month beforehand and none of the firewalker's wives could be pregnant.

Setting for the ceremonies  centered in a beautiful lagoon The fire is stirred and prepared according to the tradition. The chief is the first to walk over the hot rocks He pauses, standing still on the stones awaiting applause The Meke - a mock battle depicting original Fijian way of life Finally the dancing,  traditional aggressive warriors... ...then the slow moving dance of the women.

We spent several hours after the show shopping, having lunch and enjoying the beautiful gorunds.
Pictured right was the local entertainment.

Continuing along the Queen's Highway we drove through Pacific Harbour where the vegetation became denser as we approached rainy Suva. A variety of venders situated along the road were selling everything from bananas to taro to flowers.

We passed some very interesting villages, this one perched on the side of a hill beside the highway

Suva

Our first stop was Cost-U-Less, a large retail grocery outlet, where I took the opportunity to buy coffee (only place I could find to buy it reasonably priced).

We checked into the Tradewinds Hotel, just outside of Suva and got a great deal on the rooms at $60F/night.

 

The rooms overlook the Bay of Islands We enjoyed a great dinner, mine served in a coconut shell, with live music playing at the restaurant beside the sea.
The following day we drove into Suva for a few hours of shopping while Gord went to the optometrist.

Downtown Suva is always an adventure and Mom caught this photo of a fellow taking his nap in the middle of a busy intersection!

We visited the Fiji Museum in Suva. It was full of artifacts about the history and culture, language, animal life, pottery and accounts of warfare and cannibalism.

A Fijian woman with a traditional earthenware pot

A display of war clubs

 

We visited the Municipal Market and the Handicrafts Centre where Mom picked up some souvenirs.
Left- a woman making grass skirts at the Market.

 

 

Coral Coast...
The road along the southern coast of Viti Levu revealed the apparent split in cultures with separate schools and churches for the indigenous-Fijian and Indo-Fijian. Pictured left is an Indian school.

We stopped for lunch at Naviti Resort, where Mom & Dad had spent their vacation over 20 years ago. A lot had changed and much of the resort had been rebuilt after Hurricane Oscar left its mark on the area in 1983.

Sigatoka Valley...
The fertile Sigatoka Valley is known as Fiji's salad bowl because many Fijian markets are located there. The town itself, population  8000, is bordered by the Saratoka River. We took a drive through the valley which displayed a beautiful scenic backdrop.
The paved road turned into gravel so we pulled over to turn around. It was then that we got a flat tire on the rental car.
Pottery Village...
Once the tire was changed, we continued back toward Sigatoka, taking a turn off the road to follow a rugged trail to the Pottery Village. As soon as we arrived a woman ran out to greet us and began to beat her drum to signal our arrival. We were escorted into a bure where women had their handmade pottery on display. Unfortunately the quality was very crude and amateurish so we politely left as soon as we could. the village itself was an interesting spot though, with grass thatched roof bures.

PHOTOS of the Road TRIP To SUVA

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