Monday, October 15, 2007

Natadola Beach Day – Tuesday October 9, 2007

The day began with yet another breakfast buffet that has always included eggs, bacon, and baked beans! All of us hope in the Toyota van to explore the island with Ahmron. The goal is find the most beautiful beach on the island. Ahmron tells us that he knows just where to go. He takes us to Natadola Beach and clearly the beach is incredible. White sand beaches. Azure waters with gentle waves lapping op on the shore. We have the beach to ourselves, except for a few locals who are selling bead necklaces, coconuts, or horseback rides. The Fijians are extremely friendly and polite wherever we go.

We took our obligatory group photo and then swam in the 80° water until our hands looked like prunes. We dried ourselves in the sun under the rain umbrellas that we borrowed from the hotel. When our breakfast buffet finally wore off, we made our way to a little lunch place for fresh fish and fruit. Yum-O! After lunch we walked the beach almost pinching ourselves that we were in paradise. We loaded back into the van—did I mention that there are 9 of us squeezed into this 7-passenger van. And we check out the local village called Sigatoka for yes, anther shopping excursion . . . even Pam shopped with enthusiasm! By the time we returned to the Outrigger, there were only a few minutes to shower and change for the night’s activities. On tap was the Fire Walking Ceremony where yes, the Fijians do walk across burning coals in bare feet. OUCH!!! There were no stunt doubles here nor did any tourists offer to try it. Then it was off to a seafood buffet, tons of desserts (just ask Joel), and a traditional Fijian song and dance ceremony. I have never experienced such happy and musical people. They drummed on hollowed-out tree trunks, strummed on ukeles and small guitars, and acted out their traditional songs. The Fijians are so good that they make the Happy Birthday song sound mellow and so melodic. At one point in the ceremony, we noticed that Pascal (for those of you who went to camp and remember our Coach Pascal) was up and dancing among the Fijians dressed in a necklace of healing herbs and flowers in his hair. Clearly, he makes friends wherever he goes.


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