Before I let everyone in on my travels, I would like everyone to know that my Grandfather "Alex Ormiston" past away on Sunday 30th March. My Grandad was a very special man and I hope he is at peace now. My thoughts will be with everyone attending the funeral on Friday at 11 O'clock.
Our travels in Fiji have been a different experience altogether. Here is our time spent so far;
Wednesday 26th March
We arrived at a small airport outside Suva, we got riped of by a private taxi company but you live and learn. Now when I mean small airport I am talking the size of a house. We had to pay extra for our heavy baggage due to the plane being so small and we could see our bags being put into the back of the plane. The plane was a 8 seater and the pilot was right in front and our backs right behind us.
It took 12 mins in the air at 1000ft, the sea floor was amazing. When we started decent and I got worried as I could not see the airport, little did I know it was a small landing strip in the middle of the forest with an airport the size of a tin shed.
We never had a taxi booked and didn't realise how remote it was. A fijian man had a shuttle so we got on that, it had a cracked window at the drivers seat and the roads were all dirt based so many pot holes along the way. We had to cross many small bridges and throught villages. Everyone waving at us and shouting Bula!!!! The place had a magical feel to it.
We reached Levuka town and were taken to our accomadation (Levuka homestay)which was run by a couple who moved from Oz 8 years ago. This place was amazing, with spectacular views from the balcony at night and in the morning. John and Marilyn met our every needs during our stay it was 1st class.
At night we wondered into the village (There are no street lights) so we took a torch. We came across lots of the locals and they were all nice, crime is zero in the community. Dinner was at the local restuarant called Whale's Tale which was really nice and cheap.
There were not a lot of tourists on the Island we were lucky to be 2 of 6 maybe but we went to Levuka as it is the real Fiji and the old capital of Fiji. We knew that night we would enjoy out time here.
Thursday 27th March
We had a huge breakfast in the morning that John and Marilyn provide, you leave stuffed, so due to this we thought we would walk through the town. We cam across the old treaty signings by the royal family including Prince Charles releasing Fiji back to them and also where Prince Charles was based during his time in Levuka.
On the way back to the village we talked to a Fijian man who used to be in the Army and had travelled the world, he was really nice and told us a few things about the town. We had to get back to the homestay for 1 as we had arranged for John and Marilyns member of staff who did guides to take us out. His name was Know but we found out this was his nickname from rugby his real name was Noah. Know became a friend over the few days there as he was a true gentleman.
Knox took us in the taxi to another part of the Island, We reached the St John's School where sports day was on for the kids, knox wanted to see how is Nephew was getting on as it was a boarding School and his Nephew wasn't from Fiji. We watched sports day for a while as it was too hot to start trecking. The kids were all cool and we spoke to lots of them and they even gave us chairs to sit on. We felt a bit strange as it made us feel important when we were just the same average person as they were.
It was real fun though!!!
Knox took us through villages back toward levuka and we met many of his friends, his auntie who was a nun and generally talked about Levuka his family, what he does and he made it a very intersting and whorthwhile trip.
We headed home and by that time it was dark so went out to Whales Tale and had some dinner.
Friday 28th March
We got up today and had a huge breakie again. Knox gave us a coconut demontration on how they open them, different ways to drink the juice and how to shave the coconut for using to cook. Tasty!!!
We arranged to go to Lovoni village which was the first fiji settlement on the Island. A Brittish lady called Joanne came to meet us, she was the wife of Epi a fijian guide who lived in the village. Joanne 8 years ago gave up a massive job in London and moved to live with the love of her life. This made the papers everywhere but still today she refuses to do an interview.
Lovoni village is very remote it took us over an 1hr to get there and our taxi driver who was Fijian Indian could talk for Fiji. Very nice man and so kind and hardworking. He shared his stories and thoughts along the way.
Joanne and Epi have 3 kids, 1 adopted and 1 which was born fair skinned, which they thought was bizarre due to the black jeans theory. Epi was waiting for us and we sat talking to him about how he got into the business before heading for lunch in the village.
Lunch was all from the village harvest (Aubergines, watercrest, taro leaves, taro root) all covered with coconut. This was served on the floor of Epi's sisters house. The food was good and Epi talked to us about the history of Lovoni and how the people were tricked by the supposed Fiji king and sold to Settlers as Slaves. Great story and one I will share in great detail when we get home. He also told us that Britian did not invade Fiji, we bought it due to this supposed kings debts and he was in trouble so we helped them out and made them part of the commenwealth for 100 yrs. Didn't know that!!!!
Epi took us through the village showing us many things along the way and he also took us to their plantation and explained many plants that had natural medicine. He even gave me some for my Mosi bites.
Epi was such a nice man full of stories and interesting information about the lsland.
We headed back into town at 5 as Knox said he wanted to take us out and drink Kava with him and watch the world cup 7's as both Fiji and Scotland were playing. We got back and went to a chinese for food, Knox turned up there and went behind the counter and started making the Kava. We thought this can only happen in Fiji as you wouldn't see anyone going behind restuarants bars and just start making your own home made brew.
Kava is a social drink in Fiji with the locals, It is not Alcohol but a narcotic which makes you sleepy, if you drink enough you might halucinate. By the time we had finished dinner the doors were shut, lights out and tele on for the rugby. All the locals had come in to watch and we were the only tourists in the place. Knox passed the Kave around and he told us we had to clap 3 times after each drink. This is to show respect.
We had such a good time and the Kava ain't that bad, I had 15 cups so couldn't have been that bad. They always called Charlotte by the Fijian name Sarlottie as this is the name in Fijian. They all loved her. We drank until 11 and headed home, Knox the true gentleman walked us home.
Saturday 29th March
We had to get up a 5 for our plane at 7:40 and still John and Marilyn made us breakfast. They were a really nice couple who looked after us really well.
Levuka will be a place we will always remember, the real Fiji not the commercial Fiji and we are so glad to have had this experience.
We will blog soon the rest of our Fiji time.
Until then goodbye and to my family and anyone close to my Grandfather I will be thinking of him and all of you during this time.
Iain and Charlotte