This entry begins not with my arrival in Fiji, but with the few hours remaining before my departure from the Cook Islands…
In this time, I managed to head to town, try some of the renowned local ice cream (one scoop of lime, one of coconut) and walk the 2km or so to the airport, arriving WAY early for my flight.
While waiting, I met Sylvie and Serge, a couple from Montreal who were actually the first Canadians I’d met NOT from BC. We talked for some time and discovered that we were following parallel routes for quite a while and promised to keep in touch en route.
I also had a chance to say farewell to Catherine, Vicky and Helen, three wonderful English ladies with whom I spent a good chunk of my last week in the Cooks.
But enough about the Cook Islands… This entry’s main subject is Fiji.
I can’t provide as detailed a summary of Fiji as I could of the Cooks, since I researched rather less.
The main Island of Viti Levu is a volcanic island, much bigger than Rarotonga, with a diameter of very roughly 70km. The population of Fiji is close to 1 million, 70% or more of which live on Viti Levu. The most significant ethnic populations in Fiji are native Fijians (a Melanisian people, different from the Polynesians of the Cooks) and Indians who were brought to the islands by the British as labourers.
Race relations seem to be a significant issue on the islands. While most of the people I met seemed quite happy to live side by side with all the other residents, there must be something important at work here, as the representation of the two main ethnic groups in the government was one of the main issues leading to the 2000 military coup in Fiji.
Anyhow, enough background. Or if not enough, all I can provide. On to the story of my time in Fiji.