Sunday, July 8, 2007

Fijian Adventures

In general my journal entries tend to digress into menus. That is, I have a habit of keeping good track of the food I’ve eaten, tasted, or seen. This trip is a little different. The star attraction here is not the food but the adventure.

Yesterday we did something called the Levena Costal Walk and Waterfall. This was an incredible hike along the north-east coast of Taveuni. It proceeds along the beach, through the jungle and up to an incredible box canyon with dual waterfalls (‘cause one is simply NOT enough now is it?)

Beauty splendor, splendor beauty.

Our guide, Simone, a 40 year old father of 6 shamed us all with his incredible strength and fitness. He climbed cliffs and waterfalls I though impossible to scale - helping the kids up on the way. He carried the pack with our lunch, camera, dry clothes, towels, etc, and did it all in a pair of flip flops - one with a broken strap.

And there we were with our most righteous Keen sandals, anti-blister socks, and moisture wicking adventure wear t-shirts. It was sick - but unbelievably cool.

All the while he told us about the how the different plants are used in traditional village life. Then, as we were hiking out, he took us along the beach at low tide. There were tide pools everywhere and he spent the better part of an hour finding cool things to show us. Baby eels, bright red crabs, a cobalt blue starfish, sea cucumbers, shrimp, and tiny brightly colored jellyfish that looked like Christmas candies. “Don’t touch” he said. “They sting you bad”. Then he proceeded to pick one up with the toe of his flip-flop – expertly flinging it into the ocean.

We passed through traditional villages on the way. The people here live very simply in one room houses – doing most of their living out of doors – among the chickens and pigs that produce their food.

“Bula” is what you say in greeting, and we heard choruses of it wherever we went. Children especially would yell “Bula” over and over again until they could no longer hear our reply. Everyone had a smile on their face as they were doing hard physical labor – digging and piling plants to be used at a new resort being built on another island. Everyone stopped to say hello, to smile and nod and welcome us. It was incredible!

The day ended with a nice surprise - a lunch they had prepared for us. Fresh octopus curry mixed with lo-mein noodles, cabbage, onions and green beans. This was accompanied by a and spicy fish curry with sweet mango and onions, white rice, and taro (a potato-like root vegetable).

So I guess I got the adventure-meal combo this time. Lucky me!

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