The Day God came to Sigatoka

IMG_1039 Afternoon sunset on the beach near Sigatoka Town, Fiji.IMG_1032

The sunset was so clear and intense,

it seemed like God had a spotlight right on me!

Mustn’t have been my time….

 

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Honey, where’s my hat?

Honey, where's my hat?

I loved this makeshift hat – the groundsman is a quiet genius!

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Koronivia Road Peak Hour

Koronivia Road Peak Hour

Not many people ride bikes in Fiji – the road conditions are just too tough. Koronivia Road, a long road that goes from Kings Road Junction to Lokia Landing, is a gravel road with only two states of being – dust or mud – corresponding directly to rain or no rain. This photo was taken while walking home one day in “peak hour”. Peak hour means normally that you can see more than one vehicle.

Moment of Triumph – a photo of Thunder

Moment of Triumph - a photo of Thunder

This is one of the ways kids celebrate New Year here in Fiji – bamboo cannons. The idea is that you cut a piece of bamboo, and make some small holes in the dividing parts. You then stick a wad of kerosene soaked fabric on one end, and blow. After a while a puff of smoke (seen here) comes out one end and it makes a massive “fboommmmm” noise that can be heard for miles. Of course, not an activity for the feint hearted, but one that is allowed for kids here. Note the lit beer bottle to right. This kid at Lovoni village on Ovalau Island Fiji persevered until after about 10 tries, he finally triumphed! The picture actually doesn’t do the sound justice – like trying to take a photo of actual thunder (no lightning). But then, that is the way with Fiji: the photos always look so quiet – nothing prepares you for the noise of Fiji.

Momo and the pigs

 

Turns out we don’t have the only free range pigs in Fiji!  Recently we visited friends who live right on the beach near Rakiraki.  Momo (uncle) feeds the pigs out of coconut shell bowls.  They wander around, walk on the beach, and when they want milk, scamper in through a little hole in the pig pen to mum.

Momo and the pigs

Pacific Princess

Pacific Princess

I love this photo of my friend Kim, who visited from Canada, taken at Naumoidmada Beach, near Rakiraki, Fiji. I love it for two reasons:
Firstly, because she really looks beautiful with her skirt swaying in the afternoon breeze.
Secondly, because it looks like an add for Fiji, as if she is in a resort village, with luxury lurking just behind the scenes, or just out of shot.

In reality, we were visiting my friends who run a little village bakery on the beach, far far away from any tourist amenity. They have dogs, and piglets that think they are dogs, and go walking on the beach with you, and eating their food out of coconut shells with the dogs. Just out of shot on the right of Kim is the pig pen. Behind, you see the village kids taking their afternoon raucous swim. We ate a home cooked meal with Momo (our friends’ uncle who received us traditionally and welcomed Kim and Ari to the village with a kava ceremony at which my husband was the traditional spokesperson or mata ni vanua) – fish cooked in fresh coconut juice (lolo), fresh squeezed lime and fresh chili on the side, cassava and greens. It was the perfect meal and the perfect day.

The Flying Prince

The Flying Prince

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One of the many “Flying Princes” based in Rakiraki Town

So many bus companies in Fiji, all with great names, and old fashioned retro painted bodies. Open air buses are a favourite of mine, and this is my favourite named bus company in Fiji – The Flying Prince – which runs the service around Rakiraki Town. These photos were taken on one of the most scenic and also one of my favourite drives in Fiji – the road between Rakiraki Town and Naumoimada beach – one of the only white sand beaches between Suva and Lautoka. If you ever get the chance, take a bus ride from Suva to Rakiraki to Ba to Lautoka to Nadi. It costs about $20 all the way. The local Flying Prince from Rakiraki to Naumoimada Beach is $1.80. You can get the Sunbeam, Intercities or

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Between Rakiraki and Naumoimada

Vatakoula Express from Suva or Nausori to Rakiraki and then change if you want, or take a few local bus trips around Rakiraki. If you are not sure, the big buses are called “the bus” and they are often express, but the local buses are called “the stopping bus” which means that it will stop anywhere at all along the route to pick up and drop off. This is the most fun way to go as the village kids get off and on on their way home from school. Once I saw an old man walking a bicycle by the side of the road. Tied to the bike was a rope, which led a massive cow who walked behind. I was too slow for the photo, as that time I was on “the bus” not “the stopping bus”!

 

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Between Tavua and Rakiraki

In my opinion, the bus ride from Nausori Town (which is actually where Suva airport is) and Rakiraki which takes about 3 hours is the nicest scenery by far on the main island of VitiLevu. When you get to Rakiraki, the Tanoa Rakiraki is a quaint old hotel with every modern convenience and a nice place to stay. I love it there, the owners make you feel at home, and it has a pool that you can cool off in, lawn bowls, and tennis.

Oh, we were just playing in the sand….

Oh, we were just playing in the sand....

Max and Sophie, my two little friends, made these sandcastles one day whilst just hanging around in the sand at Leleuvia Island. Max, Sophie, one day I will email your mums and let them know we all thought of you after you left when we found these!

Blended Family Fiji Style

Blended Family Fiji Style

My daughter and I – the only time we both looked nice. I had to dig out a nice dress and my makeup to go to a function in Suva. Normally we are both covered in the trappings of pig cleaning and feeding! Blended families are an oddity here and often we feel the strain, so it is lovely to have a smiling photo to remind us that all is not lost.

Boys in sulus – skirts for men

Boys in sulus - skirts for men

Fijian boys singing a hymn in church. It is customary for boys and men sit on one side of the church, and girls and women on the other.