Nadi Travel Blog› entry 56 of 93 › view all entries
BULA!!! I don't think I'm ever going to forget that word. Especially as Em keeps shouting it at me randomly and asking me to do the Bula dance, which is the 'traditional' after-dinner party dance in the Yassawas and very much like The Macarena, in fact I don't know which came first...
Shattered from our overnight flight and missing Hawai'i alot, we stayed at New Town Beach for two nights and the first day was practically written-off as we caught up on selep and only surfaced for a great Fijian curry and a 'Kava' ceremony. Kava is a mild narcotic plant root that is ground, placed in water and strained to make a drink that is the colour and consistency of dirty dish water and tastes a lot like mud. Still, it has a lot of signifigance to Fijians and the whole little ceremony is quite fun.
The next day we headed to Nadi on the local bus (air conditioning came courtesy of rolling the tarpaulins up) to stock up on supplies for our islands trip and found a run-down town that was a bit dodgy to say the least. We must have commited cardinal sin one and looked like we were lost, as a friendly Fijian began chatting to us, asking where we were from and where we were going, before giving us some friendly hints on where to buy the only 'authentic' Fijian-Fijian (as opposed to Indo Fijian) souvenirs. Before long we were in a gift shop involved in a Kava ceremony and cultural lesson (complete with props to illustrate the meaning of the coins - nice touch) so thorough and intense that we couldn't possibly leave without buying something. When we decided on the small kava bowl and another little souvenir, rather than the ornamental carvings and expensive jewellery he was touting, he became pretty surly and didn't want to know.
Now I may be cynical, and I'm sure that Fijians are amongst the most genuinely friendly people on earth, but to me it seemed that they were able to get money out of you with way more charm and panache than they can in say Asia or South America.