Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bula! Bula!

26 September 2013

No, we are not Yale fans or alumnae.  Bula (pronounced BOO-la) means Hello or Welcome or How are you in Fijian.  Although the reply is also bula, so the "how are you" part isn't really the major part of things.

So Fiji is kind of an interesting mix - the indigenous people are kind of a combination of Melanesian and Polynesian - so they have darker skin and curlier hair than Samoans.  But much of the culture is similar.  While, of course, being different at the same time.

Plus there are a great many Indians (from India), as well as Chinese, Malaysians, quite a mix.

In the downtown area of Nadi (pronounced NAN-dee) there's a huge mosque, and the largest Hindu temple in Fiji.  As well as store after store featuring Indian clothing - saris for the Hindu women, long tops and baggy pants for the Muslim women, and gorgeous scarves and wraps and fabric.  There's a big Hindu festival coming up, and I hope we manage to find some celebrations, wherever we end up in early October.  (And I'm so tempted to buy something like these gorgeous ensembles in the window - I love ethnic clothing!  And embroidery!  And sparkly stuff!)

Our hotel is modest - our room is small, but has a queen bed, decent bathroom, TV, fridge, and a balcony overlooking the beach.  Plus continental breakfast.  And there are five hotel cats, who are very friendly and often sit with us at breakfast.  Not that they want toast, no, they like the pats on the head and chin rubs that they get.

The beach seems to be on a bay, and the sand is kind of a grey color.  The water isn't as clear as most of the seas around here, so we haven't spent any time in the water.  I know, we're so spoiled - but when you've been in crystal clear water, with white sand beaches, everything else just looks a wee bit dirty.

There are a few neighboring hotels along the beach, with cultural dancing and fire dancing similar to what we saw in Samoa.  Even though there were more dancers, and they were adults, they didn't have the enthusiasm of the student group we saw in Apia.  So it was exciting, but not thrilling.  And we were in the back of the crowd, so I didn't get any exciting photos.

That's about it.  We have four weeks on Fiji, we're looking at a variety of places to explore, including some trips to the small islands that make up the Fijian archipelago.  And of course the capital city of Suva.

Last word of the day - Vinaka - pronounced vih-NAH-ka - it means thank you.  A very important word, since the Fijian people are extremely friendly and helpful - store clerks come out to chat with us on the sidewalk, offer to call us a cab, or will walk over to tell the cab driver the fee to take us back to our hotel, to ensure we aren't overcharged.  Really, can you imagine anyone doing that for tourists anywhere in the US?  Wow!  Friendly and helpful!

So we're saying a lot of Bula and Vinaka!

No comments:

Post a Comment