Thursday, October 10th was Fiji Day, the equivalent to our 4th of July celebration. They were celebrating their liberation from England back 43 years ago.
Everyone was encouraged to wear blue, the flag color and to fly the flag. And Thursday was a sea of baby blue, with a bit of navy and red thrown in. In Suva they celebrated by having military exercises and other festivities.
We decided to go to Sigatoka and take an excursion up the Sigatoka River and do another village tour. Sigatoka is about 2 hours west of Suva and when we got there we found that the tour started in the same place they were holding their festivities. So we were able to watch some of it as we waited. The had many teams compete in games that went from throwing raw eggs at each other to see who could catch them to all kinds of boat races across the river. It was fun and a huge crowd.
We took a van up river for about a 15 minute ride and the Sigatoka valley is beautiful. They grow about 75% of their fruits and veggies there and the farms are beautiful.
We took a jet boat up river. The river is very low and the boat skimmed up river with some wide turns. It was a fun ride. We then went into a village for the usual Kava ceremony and then we toured the village. This was not a showplace village and it was interesting to see the poverty. The little kids followed us and were darling. Then back to the village building for lunch.
Dew has a hard time getting down on the floor and the people there found that very, very interesting. There were several who came up and asked him why, and kept telling him that he needed to stretch his muscles more. I don’t think they even realized he has an artificial hip, even after we told them.
But the best part of the trip was going back down river. Our driver asked if we cared if he flipped 360’s – are you kidding? There were 6 of us in the boat, a couple from San Francisco on their honeymoon, a mom and daughter (about 11) from New Zealand and Dew and I. We flew down the river and every time he flipped the boat around the girl would yell “again”. It was such fun, and we were all soaking wet when we got back.
They had pictures of us and we had to purchase them – fun.
We got back to Sigatoka about 5:30pm and then had the long drive home. I hate driving that road at night anytime, but it was particularly scary that night. All the resorts had trucked in their kayaks and other small boats for the races and we followed one truck filled to the brim with plastic kayaks and a couple of men and they had no tail lights. They would completely disappear in the headlights of oncoming cars and going up hills they would disappear in the black smoke from the burning oil from their exhausts. We were happy when they finally turned off.
And everyone was out walking in the dark along the roads, and they are very hard to see in their dark clothing. And to top it off the wind was really blowing and it rained for most of the ride about as hard as I have seen it rain here. We were very happy to arrive back home safely. But did enjoy the day.