Yes, I’m in Fiji. I flew to meet up with my sister, Chrissy, who just finished up a semester in New Zealand. I am SO excited to see her. I can’t believe it’s been about six months.
I arrived on Saturday morning, but my bags did not. It’s Monday morning right now and I am still bagless. Luckily I’ve been able to borrow a bunch of stuff from Chrissy. I arrived in Nadi, the city with the main airport, and we ate breakfast before heading to the airport to catch a flight to our next stop, Suva.
I’m using this chance to not only work on my tan, but to learn more about Fiji, the culture, the politics, etc. Because that’s how I do. Right now we’re in Suva, the cultural capital and the seat of the Fijian government. We’re going to be here for about three days. I planned this leg of the trip to get away from the beaches and into real Fijian life. It’s a nice little town, with malls, restaurants, markets, etc.
It’s really a fascinating place. The country is divided basically between Indo-Fijians (descendants of indentured servants from India) and indigenous Fijians. It’s a two-tier system, with indigenous being first-class citizens and Indo-Fijians second class. The two-tier system is codified by law, an example of which being Indo-Fijians are not allowed to own land. After indentured servitude was banned in 1919, many Indo-Fijians went on to buy the land from their former owners and became the business leaders in the country. They faced a backlash from the indigenous, and that’s how we got to where we are today.
The Indian culture here is really strong. All the stores carry saris, bangles, and salwar khameeses. I’m trying really hard not to buy it all. The cinema here in Suva, the cultural capital of Fiji, is showing a Bollywood film. I really want to see it tonight. Last night Chrissy and I ate Indian food. Delicious!
Fijians are genuinely nice and open. You walk down the street and nearly everyone who passes you by says, “Bula!” or, “Welcome/hello!” Everyone is smiling and wants to talk to you. It’s much different from other places I’ve traveled, where you can’t really meet anyone’s eyes (i.e. Egypt, because the men will think you’re hitting on them). A few men give us that smile, but for the most part I honestly am not getting the creeper vibe. It’s really nice.
Also, people here actually drink Fiji water. I thought it was just a marketing ploy…