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Fiji – Should You Go?
Maybe. If you are on a budget and want an experience in the Pacific Ocean or Oceania, then Fiji fits the bill. As a traveller you can find cheap hostels on the beach and get some surfing and snorkelling in. We stayed on the main island, Viti Levu at a backpackers place about an hours drive from the capital, Suva.
The coral reefs are pretty good for looking at fish, the food is cheap and there is plenty of kava to try and get high on. The beaches are lined with tall palm trees and very scenic.
Initially, I flew into Nadi (from New Zealand) and spent the night there. The place was not very impressive to be honest and next time I would give it a miss. If you’d like to go to the world’s loudest nightclub then it is in Nadi. My ears are still ringing, but at least I learnt to lip read.
Kava is the powdered root of a type of pepper plant. It’s mixed with water into a muddy-looking liquid and then you drink it. It’s bitter and vile to taste (but not hot) and it makes your mouth go a bit numb like at the dentist. There is a chance you’ll get a very mild high from it. The most interesting part of the whole thing is the kava ceremony. The drink is made fresh as you sit around the table, and you all share a wooden cup. When it’s your turn, you have to down the entire cup in one go (good luck with that), hand the cup back and clap 3 times.
Fiji was one of the last places on Earth to abandon cannibalism. I was amazed to learn that the inhabitants were eating each other right up until the late 1800s. The practice gradually died out due the arrival of Christian missionaries who told the locals that eating each other was not nice, or something like that. Now this is not funny at all – one of the missionaries, a reverend Thomas Baker, got himself eaten! I guess the Fijians had a keen sense of irony back in the day. Like I said, not even remotely amusing.
Suva, the capital, is good for a day trip. The weather was horrible the day we went, but there are some interesting sights to see. British colonial architecture is everywhere.