Virtual Vacations: Fiji Islands, Oceania – Part 2
Posted on: November 8, 2020.

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Fiji has its very own “garden island”—Taveuni. This island is typically attractive for walking through dense rainforest, swimming beneath waterfalls, and scuba diving at Rainbow Reef.

Later, the boutique eco-friendly guesthouses of Taveuni offer a unique luxury—sipping fresh coconuts while relaxing under its thick rainforest canopy.

Fiji—A Food-Lover’s Fantasy

In the late 1800s—when Fiji was under British colonial rule—indentured servants from India first came to Fiji. Subsequently, people of Indian descent constitute nearly 40% of Fiji’s population (2007 census).

Be it the sari shops, Hindu temples, and the distinct Fijian-Hindi language—walking past Fiji’s main towns, the Indian influence is obvious to the eye.

Paneers and koftastraditional Indian dishes—are easily recognized, but ingredients commonly found within the South Pacific can be seen in most Indo-Fijian foods.

Coconut, fish, crab, ginger, and root crops prepared as curries are often found mixed with spices such as chili and cumin.

An Indo-Fijian curry prepared by combining jackfruit, spices, tomato, and coconut milk is actually heavily influenced by the Pacific, yet seem obviously Indian—on occasion of Diwali celebrations.

Fresh fish, coconut, root crops, and steamed greens comprise Traditional Fijian food.

Fijian cuisine presents a comfort food made from steamed taro leaves, onion, garlic, oil, and coconut milk“roro”—which tastes like a tropical version of creamed spinach.

The “price-per-heap” vending policy of Fiji

Tomatoes, pineapples, watermelons, and heads of lettuce stacked neatly on top of one another—fruit and vegetables are what Fiji’s local markets are full of.

Price-per-heap is the Fijian way of selling produce—you’ll be leaving with five or six tomatoes even if you want to buy just one tomato. “Sorry! But just not possible”—the Fijian society is centered around sharing.

So having extras isn’t a problem—there are always families and friends to share extras with! And, as the prices are already fair, bargaining is out of question in Fijian produce markets.

The Sevusevu Ceremony

This is the highlight with which we’d be signing off this Virtual Vacations article! In Fiji, as an outsider, one cannot freely go exploring whichever place one pleases.

Visitors to many villages in Fiji are expected to bring a small gift “kava before coming into their community—participation in a sevusevu “gift giving ceremony”.

The Turaga ni Koro “head of the village”, will meet visitors who are expected to present the kava to the village head who would then reciprocate the gesture, symbolizing the visitor’s welcome into the community.

Even if a visitor only plans to visit the village’s scenic sites, like a waterfall or swimming hole, that visitor would, even then, need to bring a sevusevu to be admitted.

Not bringing a sevusevu would be considered—especially in Fiji’s more rural villages—disrespectful and even as trespassing!

Furthermore, visitors are required—when presenting the sevusevu—to dress conservatively and not wear anything on the headnot even sunglasses or a hat.

The sevusevu ceremony is mutual—Fijian friends bring either bread and butter or kava as a sevusevu when they step into a visitor’s accommodation for dinner.

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