Monday, 9 February 2009

Day Thirty: Lautoka Fiji

We woke this morning to see islands going past our windows and rapidly rose and rushed up to deck 12 to watch the ship gliding towards the islands that make up Fiji. As we approached the dock the police band struck up and we were given a demonstration of brass band music Fiji style. They continued while the bow lines and the bow springs were fixed (see Julian we do read and memorise your comments) and proceeded to play even when the first of the passengers were disembarking. I left Hilary watching the docking while I nipped out to get a bite of breakfast and then it was a quick rush to the theatre to join B1-5 group for our morning tour. This time it was all done very efficiently and we were on the coach (air conditioned this time) well before 8.30am. Our first stop was at an Orchid Garden that was originally owned by Raymond Burr (remember Ironsides and Perry Mason?) and although it was impossible to follow the guide the orchids were stunning and between us we took over a 100 pictures, some of which are included with this blog. We were also given a lovely fruit punch drink with mango, guava and passion fruit. It was then back on the bus and a slight delay to our next destination as the orchid gardens were so popular that five coaches and three taxis were fighting for space on a single track road, it was all sorted out amicably and we were off to The Village.

There are strict rules regarding going into a Fijian village, no head covering for the men (it shows disrespect), no bare legs, sleeves down to the elbows and don’t show your feet if you are sitting down. We followed these rules religiously but we did notice that some others didn’t and there were also some grumblers who complained that there was no where to sit down in a chair and the walking was too much. Everyone is well warned via the tour brochure and the tour talk as to the degree of mobility required but some still sign up for a tour and then complain afterwards. We witnessed the Cava ceremony, a couple of war dances, some songs from the ladies and then it was time to go back to the coach. On the way we were given a shopping opportunity of gifts made by the locals in the village and what did we buy? What else but a giant wooden turtle, where the hell we will put it when we get home I have no idea but we will always be able to remember Fiji just by looking at it. While Hilary was not looking I bought her a necklace that took my fancy, nothing expensive but it just looked as if it would suit her and she seems to like it. And then it was time for the bus to take us into town for another shopping opportunity where we avoided the main tourist shop to begin with and went to the produce market looking for nutmeg and vanilla pods, we managed to find the former (we think) but it was difficult to make the sellers understand us, most of them appeared to be Indian and apparently are the descendants of workers brought over to harvest the sugar cane which still makes up for a large part of the Fijian Gross National Product. We then had to hit the tourist shop to buy some postcards and a ‘fridge magnet before wandering across the road to pick up our coach back to the Oriana. One little thing that we noticed was that no one obeys the Walk/Don’t Walk signs, they cross the road in front of cars, buses, taxis etc and just expect them to stop or drive around them. If you waited for the Walk sign they thought you were crazy.

Back on the ship we rushed to lunch as Hilary had missed breakfast and then we settled down for a short stay by the pool. I had a good swim but I did wear a T-Shirt and cap today as contrary to everything that I said yesterday I managed to get a bit red both on the top of my head and shoulders by swimming around without sun cream on. Today I went in the Crystal Pool which is normally divided by a barrier that effectively cuts it in half but today the barrier had been removed and it makes a nice long pool to swim in, plus I think that it is a bit deeper than the Sapphire Pool. By the time that I got out Hilary was suffering from the heat – it is in the 90’s Fahrenheit today – so we decided to go back to the cabin to cool off where Hilary could scrap book and I could blog. As I type this she is down on Promenade Deck 7 watching another band doing the Sail Away farewell to Oriana and I have no doubt that this will continue until both the bow lines, bow springs, aft lines and aft springs are released so that we can head off to our next stop in New Zealand which is the city of Tauranga. With that I will turn you over to Hilary for her take on the day while I make another cup of tea and worry about what I will wear for the casual/tropical evening tonight.

Tiz I. No I didn’t stay to see the lines loosened but I was able to enjoy some lovely traditional dancing by the police and other dancers. I hope there is no crime in Fiji just now because most of the police officers are here entertaining us! It has been another amazing day, the people are so friendly and smile all the time. We are due to pull away very soon but there quite a few passengers missing – just can’t bear to leave the island I expect. The island is not so developed as Kauai and not quite as pretty but it is still pretty impressive and so friendly that you don’t miss the other stuff. If only I was not quite as similar as Dad – I really cannot take the heat as he could not. What a wimp I am. Lovely day though. I understand what Mum was talking about now, she loved Fiji and its people. She was right! Julian I will ask about the propulsion method of the ship – I wrote down your question and will get back to you with an answer. Good luck with the end of the course. I will be thinking of you. I hope the weather improves so that you can get home next time. Sam your trip sounds amazing too. It must be so lovely to be with the young ones and discovering new places together, I loved doing that. I have not been able to keep up to date with Jess’ blog – the internet is so expensive on board, I will catch with it all when I get home. The carved turtle is big and no I don’t know where it will live at home. I just wanted to buy something that had been made in Fiji and he was it. He will always bring the memories back to us when we get home. Good news is that Brian is planning to meet us in Sydney – that is very exciting as I have not seen him since 1979. I expect that we have both aged although he still has dark hair! I need to be in the dining room in the next 15 minutes – again like Dad I will have to be ready for the queen in 5 minutes – the dining room is 4 flights of stairs and a long corridor away! Take care, God bless.

We went to the cinema tonight and walked out it was that bad. A graphic sex scene to start and liberal use of the F word and we lead a mass exodus!

1 comment:

samw7 said...

Hi There
Glad to hear that you enjoyed Fiji and that you are going to meet Brian in Sydney. Jess and I didn't do much of anything yesterday except sit around and relax and watch a TV series, Entourage, that we are working our way through. Last night was the end of Chinese New Year (it lasts 15 days) and so there were red lanterns outside the shops. We walked around a little with fireworks going off everywhere and then we picked up an ice-cream (white chocolate and strawberry, delicious,) before heading back to her apartment. She is on the 11th floor and so we couls alos see the fireworks from her windows. It was something to behold.
Love to you both.