Tuesday, June 21, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 39

Day 39: (21 June 2011):
- Shark tour cancelled due to only me interested. Offer free snorkel gear, I take fins.
- Walk through a forest trail to secluded beach for snorkelling. Nice views, mountains. Cove. Waves. Mostly rocky beach.
- Very murkey, better farther out. ~10m deep. Very tall coral towers & mounds. Fish not skittish. Each coral mound has group of fish. When murkier, large shadows of coral in distance intimidating. Can see silt spreading through bottom portion of some coral.
- Walk back: Shed by path: generator on.
- More snorkel at main beach. Easy diving with fins, but fins too big, feet hurt. Boat arrive while I snorkel.
- Walk down to see dome-shaped hill with chunks missing from dome. Chat with some new arrivals.
- Play with sand: broken shell fragments & pumice.
- Lunch outside. Nap. Relax & write in hammock. Walk to other side: waves.
- More relaxing in hammock.
- Walk over to watch sunset. Tiny path to pier? Dips in water. Waves. Pounding kava. Met couple from Belgium, only people to come directly from Europe & not through Aus/NZ.
- Talk to Swedish girl travelling alone, but found travel buddy in Nadi.
- Change to pants for kava welcoming ceremony.
- No photos allowed. No talking. Put shell forward, drink for "chief" & "talking chief."
- Then drink & take photos. Traditional dress for people performing ceremony.
- Fijian food cooked in umu. Delicious smoky taste. Spinach or taro leaf? Spinach?
- Rain start just after dinner.
- Traditional performances. Nice beat with bamboo tubes. Welcome & good-bye song. Men's hunting (?) fighting (?) dances were cool: switch from slow to fast. Remind me Japanese stuff for some reason. Notice some had the sickly coconut smell. "coconut people" popped into my head.
- More dancing together. All shake hands.
- Announcer dramatic voice.
- Chat a while outside until notice some tourists in the place where they drank kava.
- They say welcome to join. I sit, French travelling alone invite me join him. Chat in Chinese. He say he love China & Chinese language, culture. Want live there? Study 3yr Chinese in France & 3 month in China.
- Drink ~1 giant kava bowl, 2[3 large shells, ~10 small shells. Clap, bula each drink. Person giving clap, some others clap before & after drink. "Bula my stomach".
- Drink until past 11pm. Shirt off: hot, they say OK. Notice here, wearing shorts is more offensive in some places than not wearing shirt. Same with other Pacific islands.
- Music, sea, stars & moonrise. Talk together.
- Electricity still on when get back, so start charging & go to bed.
- Kava here only grows on main island: inland. Too hot to grow here.

Photos available at: http://mandarinmanmarktravelbriefs.blogspot.com/