|Fiji's Coral Coast|
|5:45 am in the Baldry household|
|Girls are ready!|
|Harrison finds something at the duty-free store|
I was expecting the Fijians to be Polynesian like Hawaiians or the Maori for that matter. However, the indigenous Fijians look like they could be African: tall, round faces, afro-textured hair. The other significant ethnic group (35% of the population) is the Fijian Indians who were initially brought to Fiji by English colonists to work sugar cane fields in the 19th century. There is considerable friction between the two groups as the indigenous Fijians feel that the Indians are "taking over". Migration patterns seem to suggest that the Fijian Indians have got the message and this population is on a steep decline.
|Harrison at the Sigatoka Market|
|A family bure, our pad for the week|
Our resort was beautiful. The grounds were impeccable. I rarely saw anyone cleaning anything which made me think that a lot happened at night. Because we were staying in a larger room, we qualified to have a personal butler or talai service. Harrison had visions of ordering one french fry at a time and then sending them back if the ketchup was not applied just right. It didn't work out to be that special and I'm not sure I would have paid any extra money for it if wasn't complimentary. Zac (anglicized from something much less pronounceable) and Salote were available from 4:00pm onwards and would appear close to 5:00pm with a glass of champagne for Trish and I and soft drinks for the kids as well as some snacks to hold us off until supper. After returning from supper, we would find our bed turned down with flowers spread over the bedspread and some kind of liqueur and tart (baked good not floozy) on our table. Nice touch.
This was very much a pool resort. The scene around the pool was fun for kids with lots of protected areas for small kids and tons of complimentary toys to play with. The resort animators were excellent. There was no swim up bar, but there were waiters & waitresses everywhere.
|11:00am. Here's Brother John with our medicine.|
|Best shell find ever. This was about the size of a watermelon.|
|Everyone enjoying the pool in Fiji|
There were two racing nights where 10 captured crabs (on Tuesday) and 10 toads (on Thursday) were placed in the middle of a circular platform. There was an extensive auction process where people wagered up to $125 Fijian dollars ($70 Can) to "buy" a crab/toad. If your beast was one of the first 3 to crawl or hop off the platform, you could take home between $250 - $350. The crabs were fun, but the action was much funnier with the toads as this pile of amphibian suddenly exploded off the platform and into the crowds, scattering bodies and spilling drinks everywhere. Retreating adults tripped over squealing kids crouched to catch the bounding toads.
Of course, all our kids were then infatuated with returning from supper every night to then spend an hour braving the bugs to catch toads lurking in the well manicured gardens around the resort. Harrison took a night or two to build up his confidence, but proudly caught 17 "big ones" on our last night in Fiji.
|Fijian fire walking tribe|
Despite the less than optimal weather, our vacation still earned enthusiastic reviews from all of us. Through all our travels, Harrison has maintained that his favorite destination is our habitual spring break spot in Mexico's Mayan Riviera. In his mind, our trip to Fiji earned itself a new spot atop the list of favorite vacations. The resort, the Fijian people, the snorkeling, the cocktails ... were all enough to make Fiji a special place to visit.
A couple more pics:
|Fijian night at the buffet|
|Ahh ... this is where Fiji water comes from.|
|Cassandra with an Australian friend|
|More Australian friends|