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Part 1 - Fiji.

An exquisite waterfall in a Fijian National Park on the island of Taveuni. Fiji. The word conjures up tropical visions of glowing beaches, food falling from the trees and water so blue it hurts your eyes. Well, it's all true. A true paradise, albeit a bit wet while we were there. 12 hours on an Air New Zealand flight from LAX minimized the trauma of a long air journey, landing in Nadi (pronounced Nandy) in the early morning hours for a connecting flight to the island of Taveuni, an hour or so prop flight northeast of Nadi, which is located on the island of Viti Levu.

The erstwhile adventurers at the same waterfall on Taveuni, taken by Marge, Maravu's activities director and resident 'granola'. We were staying at the Maravu Plantation Resort at the northeast tip of the island, close to Malcom Forbes' island. Since we were one of only two couples at the resort at that time, service was outstanding. It was wonderful being greeted by name at each meal by thoughtful restaurant staff. And the gourmet meals were simply marvelous. I think it was here that I gained all my 8 pounds on the trip.

The view of tropical forest and ocean from the waterfall area northwest toward Vanua Levu Although it rained part of every day on the island, it didn't interfere with our scuba diving adventures with Swiss Fiji Divers, just across the 'street' from the resort. Our days began with a morning two-tank dive to the Somosomo Straight, the ocean between Taveuni and the second largest Fiji island, Vanua Levu. Such color, volume of coral, and color and volume of fish we've never seen before! Each day was more astonishing than the previous. Truly amazing!

The second of three sequential waterfalls on the nature walk in the Fijian National Park Coupled with hikes to rainforest waterfalls, a drive (over the road from hell) to the 180th meridian (date line), and an ocean kayak trip to a small offshore island, Honeymoon Island, the experience at the resort was a memorable one. I especially liked the kava ceremony, which conveniently, included drinking the mildly narcotic beverage of the islands. Since most 'foreigners' aren't too keen on the drink, (comments like 'tastes like dirt', 'looks like mud' are not unusual) the native revelers were surprised when I asked for more. It does make your lips and tongue numb after a bit, but I found it quite enjoyable. Jack Daniels it ain't, but it's not bad.

A young native Fijian girl as she was gathering coconuts for food with her brother (not pictured). You gotta love the hair! We hated to end our stay of 6 days. The hotel and restaurant staff made a big impression on us by baking us a special cake and serenading us during our last dinner. And we hear they don't normally do that. We were told that we were simply wonderful guests. Maybe because we didn't ever complain or ask for anything. But we never had to. They thought of everything.

Katie with her head partly in today and partly in yesterday - at the 180th meridian, the astronomical date line. Caryl, the office manager and childrens' tutor, still keeps in touch with us via email whenever she's experiencing problems with their computers. It's nice to be needed.

The recent political upheaval (May, 2000) in Fiji has caused a dramatic drop in visitors to this beautiful and mostly peaceful island group. Most resorts have not been affected by the political issues and go on with 'business as usual.' However, if intending to visit this area, you should check with the U.S. State Department and with the resort(s) you intend to visit.

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Last updated July 23, 2000