We had not booked a tour for Fiji and would have had plenty of time to find some internet to get my blog posts uploaded along with overdue emails etc.  However, of all days to be in Fiji, this day was the first election in Fiji in something like 15 years.  Everyone was off work and all businesses were closed with the exception of two department stores that stayed open for the cruisers.

2014 09 16Fiji 29

Just like every single port we had stopped at, there were several businesses offering tours at a greatly discounted rate over what Carnival charges.  But first we took a shuttle to Jack’s department store to buy some shirts for Steve.  Suva, Fiji is one of the most shopper friendly cities in the Pacific and the prices are reasonable.  Steve’s shirts were about $13 US each.

Suva is the capital and largest city of Fiji.  It has a mix of modern and traditional colonial architecture and is a harbor city with what seemed like a few miles of shipping containers.  The climate is tropical rainforest receiving 3,000 mm of precipitation annually.  The landscape is mountainous.

Our touring van took us to a Fijian village about 10 miles from Suva.  There were no cars or stores in the village. Other than a church and community center, there were only the little houses that the people lived in.  Everyone came outside to greet us and a group of women sang.

2014 09 16Fiji 7

2014 09 16Fiji 5

Some women sold locally made jewelry and I bought a couple of bracelets.  After a bit, the two girls above on the right offered to take us around the village.  Six of us decided to go and the one in blue, named Amaleeta stayed close to me and wanted to talk.  She spoke English so well that I thought it was her first language but she said that they all spoke Fijian at home and that she learned English in school.

2014 09 16Fiji 17I had to take a picture of her adorable hairstyle.

2014 09 16Fiji 16There was a river below the village where people bathe, wash their dishes and also their clothes.

2014 09 16Fiji 15It seemed like every house in Suva and in the village had laundry hanging out.  I wondered if Wednesdays were traditional laundry days.

2014 09 16Fiji 11Although their bungalows were poor, every single one was tidy.  We noticed that yards in the poor sections of Suva were always neatly landscaped and no clutter was laying around.  There is grass everywhere and it must be a type that doesn’t need to be mowed because it was always short.

2014 09 16Fiji 19The village was in such a nice setting with the river and mountains behind it.  Part of the village was by the highway and the rest up on the hill.

2014 09 16Fiji 26The drums are hollowed out tree trunks and alert the villagers that it is time for church or a community meeting.  We went into the church and Amaleeta said the women sit on one side and the men on the other.  There is another section for children.

2014 09 16Fiji 25This was our tour guide.  I think it was her first time because she was very shy at first but was happy if people asked her questions.

2014 09 16Fiji 2We stopped at this waterfall on the way back to Suva.  All along the drive you see these trees with the red flowers.  The locals call them Piss-Piss trees because you can wring a lot of water out of the leaves.

2014 09 16Fiji 38The land on the other side of the harbor was very mountainous. The sun was in the wrong spot to get a good picture.  Here we are headed back out to sea and to our next stop of New Caledonia.