Welcome and greetings my traveling friends!
Today we are going to take a winding adventure from the beautiful white sand beaches of Nadi and drive high into the mountains, are you ready to take a ride with me? Let’s go!
This has been one of the greatest experiences of this trip thus far (minus the shark dive of course). Being a photojournalist, these are the kinds of experiences I tend to thrive in because this is where we get to see a snip of the real daily lives in a Fijian village and not just the tourist (man-made by the way) island of Denarau, that we have been staying on over the last week. Today we truly ventured out and saw one of the Highland villages and since today was the high day of Diwali all of the kids were out of school! So let’s get this party rolling!
We started the day early to head out on our scenic drive, once we got off the beaten path out of Nadi we were started seeing small villages tucked off the main road. My heart was racing, this is why I became a photojournalist. To photograph truth – to be surrounded by the pertinacious build up of a life when you visit other countries for tourist attractions and to be immersed into a fraction of culture!
Driving on winding roads our drivers took us to several lookout spots where you stood in the center between the ocean and the mountains. It was BREATH TAKING! The eons of space stretching to the horizon of the sea to the reaching peaks of the mountain sides. When we arrived at the village we participated in the traditional welcoming ceremony, kava ceremony. It is tradition to present the leader (your host) with a Kava root, which you can find at any Fijian market. This will show your true understanding of the Fijian culture and the significance of the kava ceremony.
The kava ceremony focuses around the communal Kava tanoa (bowl). Guests sit in a circle around the bowl which is placed in front of the leader. The ceremony commences with the actual production of the kava. The plant is pounded and the pulp placed into a cloth sack and mixed with water. The end result is a brownish coloured liquid – the Kava gold. It is then strained and ready for drinking.
After this ceremony we were then welcomed into the village and the Chief’s home. The children took us on a tour around the village, this is what I love about traveling as a mom. My daughter was instantly befriended and loved by everyone in the village, especially the children. The women all would come up, sniff her air, kiss her, pinched her face and the kids all held her hands, carried her around kissed her face. After touring around the village and learning about the village’s history and when missionaries came to Fiji and introduced the villages to Christianity and the decline of cannibalism in Fiji began! (Yes, there was a long long history of cannibalism) At the end of our tour we were shown how the villages still cook their foods in many of the traditional manners and with local foods living and finding a way to continue sustaining themselves off the land.
Now lunch was served! I will be sad when we leave Fiji, the food here is absolutely amazing. The flavors are out of this world! The rest of the afternoon was filled with laughter, dancing and singing! I couldn’t imagine a better day; with culture, beautiful sights and delicious food!
Traveling Photographer Out!