Round The World In 28 Days

Pinkocto

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 22, 2011
I would have been a pig in mud at Mystery Island! That water is so gorgeous!!!!! Sorry about getting cut and burned though. That's not good.

Lovely to get a massage and use up your money. Win win!

I had to smile that Graham had fallen asleep while you were waiting for him. Glad you were both able to sleep in some more.

Love your HM wristlet!

The ice show sounds fantastic.



If you make it there, I would suggest you give Grand Terre (the island Noumea is on) a miss and either head to the Loyalty Islands or Isle of Pines. Isle of Pines is referred to as "the closest island to Paradise" and I well believe it from what we managed to see. Unfortunately we did not get to see the Loyalty Islands on this trip, but the photos I have seen from there are absolutely stunning.
Corinna
The list of places I want to get to is getting very long! I think the way to go is a cruise like yours.
 

franandaj

I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!
Joined
Nov 15, 2009
Those cannibal shots are so funny! Love it!

How scary to get caught in the undertow and to get beached on the reef. Good thing you had the wetsuit to keep you from getting too many cuts. Sorry you still had some bloody feet and legs.

I'm glad you enjoyed the ice show, the casual pictures of you and Graham are cute and dinner looks delicious!
 

dolphingirl47

In Search of the Tag Fairy
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
I will come back to answer tomorrow. I just want to get an update up while I can. I have had a couple of crazy weeks at work and the rest of the week is promising to be very busy as well. Hopefully as of next week we will be settling back into our usual routine.

Corinna
 
  • dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Day 10

    After three port days in a row, it was nice to have another sea day. We had not set an alarm, but we were still awake quite early and decided to check out the breakfast in the dining room. They had a novel take on this on the Explorer, at least during the first half of the cruise. The setup changed later in the cruise. That morning, they had a buffet on deck 3 and a la carte on deck 4. We went with the buffet option, which was very civilized. We were seated with other people and a server brought pastries, coffee and juice. We both passed on the pastries., but had coffee and orange juice. There was less choice available compared to the Windjammer, but what there was available was a little bit more upscale. I was delighted when I found granola, which I enjoyed with whipped cream and strawberry compote. Graham had the same, but added some cut fresh to his. He then had bacon, sausage, eggs and a bread roll. I had Grilled tomatoes, a mini vegetable omelet, baked beans, sausages, hash browns and cheese.









    After breakfast, we stopped for our customary cup of coffee at Cafe Promenade and then we went back to the cabin to pick up our stuff. We both agreed that it would be a good idea to stay out of the sun for a day to give our skin a rest. So we headed up to the Viking Crown Lounge. Initially all the seats by the windows were taken, but after a little while some became free and we moved. I read and Graham had set up the telescope to see if he could spot any interesting wildlife. There was not much about that day. We lost another hour at noon as the clocks went forward again. They had Captain’s Corner at 13:30 in the theatre that day and Graham was planning to go to this. I had initially planned to come with him for the first half an hour and then go upstairs for progressive trivia, but then decided against it. So once Graham went to the theatre, I headed to the Star Lounge. We arranged to meet up outside the Star Lounge after Progressive Trivia. Our trivia team was a bit thin on the ground that day as two of the couples had gone to Captain’s Corner instead. The questions were also quite difficult that day, but we did OK.

    We decided to get some lunch at Cafe Promenade once Graham and I had met up again. Graham had a roast beef sandwich that he really enjoyed and I had a tandoori chicken wrap, which was tasty. Then we headed back to the Star Lounge. There was a lecture that afternoon that interested both of us. It was a lecture about English and covered the development of the language and how it has evolved in different countries. This was hosted by the same lecturer who did the climate change lecture. I found it very interesting and some of it was very amusing. However, there were some people who felt otherwise and left. That is the beauty of cruising that there really is something for everybody and if something is not to your liking, you just move on to the next thing.

    After the lecture, we headed back to the cabin. I finally got around to put up my magnets. We both read for a while. After a while, I showered and got changed. Then we headed to the theatre. We don’t often go to the shows, but the show that was on this evening had captured our interest. It was a performance by Jane Cho. Jane Cho is an artist from Sydney who plays an electric violin. She has played in high profile venues all around the world including the Sydney opera house and the Wembley Arena in London. We thought that we would enjoy this. We headed to the theatre nice and early and went to the bar to get a glass of wine. For the second time we were told that we could not get wine on our drinks package. We stuck to our guns and after the bartender made a phone call, we each got a glass of wine. The show was amazing and covered a white range of music from classic music to heavy medal. I was definitely glad that we had chosen to go.



    We decided to drop by guest services on the way to dinner. We asked if they had something in writing to explain what was included in our drinks package, which they did not. The guest services officer could not really provide any answers, but took down our name and cabin number saying that she would make a note of our feedback. We both had the feeling we were being fobbed at the time, but this did not turn out to be the case in the end. We then headed up to deck 12 for dinner.

    Apart from the classic specialty restaurants, Explorer of the Seas also has Johnny Rocket’s on deck 12 for which there is a small charge. We decided to give this is a go. I had a Cherry Coke and Graham had a beer. We shared some sourdough onion rings and a chili bowl as our starter and both of them were very good. We were actually discussing at that point to come back for lunch that day. Then came our main courses. Graham had the Route 66, which was a beef patty with Swiss cheese, grilled mushrooms, grilled onions and mayonnaise. I had gone with the Smokehouse, which consisted of a beef patty with smoked bacon, crispy sourdough onion rings, cheddar cheese and their special recipe "Smoke House" barbecue-ranch sauce. The burgers were not a hit with either of us. They were utterly tasteless. I have had better burgers at McDonald’s. So any plan to come back went out of the window. I did have a chocolate sundae for dessert, which was very nice. On the whole, this was not a success.









    After dinner, we did the rounds of the photo opportunities. They had some fun props out that evening and we had great fun. Then we headed back to the cabin where we read for a bit and then had another early night in preparation for another port day.















     

    rndmr2

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 3, 2009
    Sounds like you had a nice relaxing day at sea.

    Glad you enjoyed the show, too bad that Johnny Rockets burgers were not good.

    Nice pics this evening, wow you can really see that sunburn, was it painful?
     

    Pinkocto

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2011
    You are getting me so excited just to be on the ship relaxing :) I LOVE sea days!!!

    Very cute photos with the kangaroos.

    How very peculiar about the continued problem with the drinks package. It sounds like there may be some light at the end of the tunnel though.

    Disappointing about the burgers.

    Love your necklace!

    The show of the evening sounds like something we'd very much enjoy.
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    What a darling dress!
    Thanks.

    Those pics with the "cannibals" are a hoot!
    We had a lot of fun with those.

    That slug is just yukky!
    They were everywhere. The funny thing was that Graham never saw any and I must have seen hundreds.

    The water is so beautiful and clear
    It was. Just a shame that there were not many fish to go with it.

    The ice show sounds fun
    The ice show was amazing.

    So sorry that you got thrown into the coral, glad it wasn't worse and you were able to get yourself free.
    I was so glad that I managed to get off the reef that I was not overly concerned about the injury.

    That water is so gorgeous!!!!!
    Unfortunately it came with a rather treacherous current.

    Love your HM wristlet!
    I love it, too. I also have the matching tote.

    The list of places I want to get to is getting very long!
    I know that feeling. I also find that the more places I visit, the longer the list gets.

    I think the way to go is a cruise like yours.
    That sounds like a fantastic idea.

    Good thing you had the wetsuit to keep you from getting too many cuts.
    Yes, I was definitely glad we had packaged the wetsuits on that occasion.

    Sorry you still had some bloody feet and legs.
    Fortunately it looked a lot worse than it actually was.

    Sounds like you had a nice relaxing day at sea.
    We did and fortunately it was one of many.

    Glad you enjoyed the show
    I don't normally bother with shows on my cruises, but we were both glad we went.

    wow you can really see that sunburn, was it painful?
    Seeing it in the photos, I am really surprised that it did not hurt at all.

    I LOVE sea days!!!
    Me, too.

    Very cute photos with the kangaroos.
    We had fun with this photo shoot.

    How very peculiar about the continued problem with the drinks package. It sounds like there may be some light at the end of the tunnel though.
    Yes, it got resolved pretty swiftly after this.

    Disappointing about the burgers.
    I had high hopes for them, too.

    Love your necklace!
    I think I had this made for our Hawaii cruise on the Wonder.

    The show of the evening sounds like something we'd very much enjoy.
    It was absolutely amazing.

    Corinna
     
  • tiggrbaby

    <font color=deeppink><marquee>We must work harder
    Joined
    Jun 26, 2004
    Your door magnets are cute!

    Love that dress; it looks so comfy!

    Prop pics = great idea!
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Day 11

    We were woken up by the anchor chain. We had actually arrived in our next port ahead of time. We would have two days in Suva, Fiji. This was the port I was the least excited about and we took absolute ages to decide on what we wanted to do. Even with plans made, this did not exactly thrill me. Still, we were awake so we figured we may as well get up. We got up and ready and then headed upstairs to the Windjammer. This was positively deserted. We made good use of the fact that it was so quiet. Graham had scrambled egg with shrimp, toast, grilled tomatoes and bacon. I had breakfast potatoes, sausage links and poached eggs. We both had some coffee. After breakfast, we quickly headed back to the cabin to get our stuff for the day and I put on my swimsuit underneath my dress. We were just about to head out when the phone rang. I figured I better pick up. This was a beverage supervisor who wanted to meet up with us regarding our issue with the drinks package. So the person at guest services had passed this on. I told him that we were just heading out and that now was not a good time. He asked me if we would be back later that day. I told him that I expected to be back on the ship by late afternoon. So we arranged to meet at 18:00 in The Tavern. Then we headed out.





    The port in Suva is kind of strange. When we got off the ship, the ship photographers were near the gangway so we stopped for some photos. Then we walked through an empty warehouse. On the other side were various stalls from tour operators and taxi companies. This was the only time during this trip where we came across pushy people. However, this worked out fabulously well. Graham was slightly ahead of me when we headed towards the port exit. I was then collared by somebody at the taxi booth. They were offering tours to the Colo-i-Suva Forest Park. This was where we wanted to head anyway. We had planned to get a taxi there and then either arrange with the driver to come and pick us up again at a previously arranged time or make our way to the Colo-i-Suva Rainforest Eco Resort and get a taxi back from there. My research had told me that the cost for this would be 30 Fijian Dollars and the admission fee would be 5 Fijian Dollars each. At the taxi booth, they offered a two hour tour with the admission included for 30 Fijian Dollars each. So this worked out a little bit more expensive, but added the convenience that we would have the driver with us. I attracted Graham’s attention and he came back. I quickly updated him on what was on offer and we decided to go with this. That meant that we did not have to find a taxi in the centre and did not have to make separate arrangements to get back. This ended up being the perfect decision. We were introduced to our taxi driver Cam and then he escorted us to the taxi, which was just inside the port gates.










    Cam was the perfect tour guide. He was very knowledgeable and pointed all kinds of interesting landmarks. We also stopped at a couple of scenic overlooks so that I could take photos. He was only too happy to answer any questions we had. Deep down, I think he appreciated that we did show an interest in his home country. About half an hour later, we arrived at Colo-i-Suva Forest Park. He paid the admission and then we parked near the visitor centre. There are a number of waterfall pools there and he took us to the uppermost one, which is the quietest one and also has the easiest access. Then we started our short hike to the pool. On the way Cam pointed out various interesting plants and told us about the wildlife. We were so glad that we had him with us. I think we could have got quite lost if we had tackled this by ourselves.





    Soon we could hear the waterfall in the distance and once we turned the next corner, we could actually see it. It looked like paradise to me. We were the only people there. The pool and the waterfall were not particularly big, but they did nicely for us and it was even more magical that there were just the three of us there. Those of you who have followed my trip reports for a while will know that it had been a longstanding dream of mine to swim in a waterfall pool. I had got close a few times, but conditions were never right and it had never happened. Graham went straight in as soon as we got there, but I was a little concerned about the access and more importantly about getting out again. There was a little ledge near the stairs leading down to the pool area and Graham reassured me that the pool was quite shallow in that area and would make getting out again very easy. So I took the plunge. This was every bit as magical as I had hoped. The water was refreshing without being too cold and crystal clear. I had put my camera on the bench were Cam was sitting and he called out to us asking if we wanted him to take some photos. We gratefully accepted this offer. After a while we came out of the pool and started the drying off process. Fortunately it was pretty warm and it did not take long until we were dry enough to put our streetwear over the top of our swimming gear. We started heading back up the path to the visitor centre.













    Once we got back to the car, Cam took us to the Colo-i-Suva Rainforest Eco Resort. The original plan B to walk there to get a taxi would not have worked. This was a good 15 minute drive away from the visitor centre. I managed to lose Cam and Graham at the hotel. When we left the waterfall pool, I had only put my dress over the swimsuit. The dress is pretty short and I had been wearing leggings underneath it. My legs were still a bit damp and then when we got to the visitor centre, there was nowhere to sit down. So I thought I quickly put those one before going inside the hotel. Unfortunately Cam and Graham had wandered off somewhere. I had a look if I could find them, but initially there was no sign of them. So I had a look around and took some photos. Then I spotted them on the patio overlooking the lake. The resort is stunningly beautiful and the lake is a nice feature. Cam gave us a quick tour round the hotel. I could definitely see myself staying there. Then we headed back to the car. We took a different route back into Suva so that Cam could point out a few more points of interest to us. In the end, the tour lasted 3 hours. We had 100 Fijian Dollars and we gave the remaining 40 Fijian Dollars to Cam as a tip. He had been amazing and in effect we had got an extra hour. Even with the generous tip, we still only paid £40 or $50 for the two of us as the Fijian Dollar is quite weak. So this really was a bargain. We got stuck in a little traffic jam near the port, but when we got back inside the port gates, we said goodbye to Cam and headed back to the ship.

















    Our plan was to have a look at Suva itself, but we did not need to take most of the stuff we had taken with us that morning. So we went back to the cabin, changed out of the swim stuff and dropped off anything we did not need. Then we headed out again. The photographers had been joined by a “parrot” so we stopped for some more photos. Then we walked over to the shuttle bus to town. We were dropped off outside what was described as a shopping centre, but it was really just a department store. I was starting to run low of sunscreen and wanted to get some more. Graham’s tripod had come apart earlier that day and he wanted to have a look for a new one. I was also in search of some Wi-Fi so that I could post some updates for work. We had a look around the department store. Graham saw some shirts that he quite liked. They also had a decent selection of sunscreen. We went upstairs to the camera department, but they did not have any tripods. So we headed out in the town. It did not take us long to find a camera shop and Graham found a tripod that was to his liking at an absolute bargain price.





    When we were dropped off outside the department store, we had spotted a coffee shop. We figured that this would be the best bet to get Wi-Fi. The menu looked promising as well. To our immense surprise, they did not accept credit cards. Fortunately there were cash machines nearby. So I placed our order and then I went to get cash. The first machine I tried did not want to give me any cash, but there was a second machine next to it and that was cooperating. It amused me no end the this machine was green. In Dubai, I have only ever managed to get cash out of green cash machines. All other colours reject my card. Looks like I have the same issue in Fiji. I went back to pay and to get our drinks. I had a Cookies and Cream Frappuccino-type drink and Graham had an Americano. Graham had found a seat on the terrace. That appeared to be a tactical error. There were a lot of beggars bothering us. I have to admit that this made me feel somewhat uncomfortable. Unfortunately there was no free Wi-Fi either.

    We were told that we could get a Wi-Fi card upstairs in the food court. So we finished our coffees and then headed up to the food court. We had been sent to the wrong shop, but the right one was next to it so that was no issue. I got a card and then we found somewhere to sit. Unfortunately I did not have any Wi-Fi signal at all up there. So we headed downstairs. There I got a signal, but it kept refusing the code on the card. I did not fancy going all the way up to the 4th floor again to try to sort this out. The card had not cost much so I decided to give up on this. Graham went back inside to get a shirt and I got some sunscreen and then we headed back to the shuttle bus stop.

    We got caught up in traffic the second time that day. Thanks to a one-way system and heavy traffic, it took us about 20 minutes to get to the opposite side of the road from where we started. Fortunately we were in no rush. Eventually we made it back to the ship. We dropped off our shopping in the cabin and then went up to the Windjammer for some lunch. Graham had some fried chicken with potatoes and vegetables and I had fried noodles with beef and chicken skewers and a piece of fried chicken. I also had some cake and some orange jelly.





     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    After lunch we quickly went back to the cabin to pick up some stuff. Graham wanted his new tripod and his telescope and I wanted my iPad. We then went up to the solarium to spend the afternoon relaxing. I read my book and Graham sent up the telescope to see if there was something interesting out there. Around 17:00, we took our stuff back to the cabin and then headed to the Schooner Bar. They had Travel Trivia on that afternoon and we thought that this may be fun. It was and we only got two questions wrong, which was unfortunately not enough for winning.

    After trivia, we headed across to The Tavern. We found a table and waited for the beverage supervisor to arrive. Bang on time somebody in a suit turned up who was obviously looking for somebody. I went over to him and it was the person we were supposed to meet. He came over to join us and offered us a drink. Initially we declined, but when he would not take no for an answer, we ordered a glass of White Zinfandel each. He explained the background about our drinks package being discontinued and apologized for the issues we had. He also advised that all the bar tenders and assistant servers had now been briefed that we could have any wine up to $14 a glass. This was the same limit that applies for the deluxe drinks package. He gave us his business card and encouraged us to contact him if we had any other issues. I am happy to report that the only time I needed to refer to his business card was when I came to fill out the post-cruise survey when I left positive feedback for him. From this point forward, we had not further issues with our drinks package.

    After we thanked him for sorting out our issue and for taking the time to meet with us, we said goodbye and headed back to our cabin. There were no photo opportunities that evening as we were in port, but I still got changed for dinner. We then headed for the dining room. I asked for the wine menu that evening and I was filled with joy when I realized that they had Rosa Regale on the menu and that it was within budget. So I had a glass of this before switching to the Caliterra that I had enjoyed so much during the wine tasting on our last cruise. This would become my go to drink from this point forward. I did not really fancy any of the starters so I had the beef consommé again. Graham went with escargot. For his main course, Graham had lamb chops with mashed potatoes and vegetables. I had the Pork Saltimbocca with polenta and grilled squash. There was also spinach on my plate, which had not been on the menu. I ended up passing this to Graham. For dessert, Graham had baklava with pistachio ice cream and I just had a bowl of the pistachio ice cream.













    After dinner we headed back to the cabin where we found another town animal. We both had a look at the Daily Compass and then took turns getting ready for bed. We read for a bit before settling down for the night.

     
  • kittymamma

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 18, 2012
    Your adventures are always so thrilling and the photos are fabulous.....particularly the ones of you and Graham. Happy to see a Wednesday update roll around.
     

    tiggrbaby

    <font color=deeppink><marquee>We must work harder
    Joined
    Jun 26, 2004
    Great score on the tour! So glad you were able to finally able to swim in a waterfall pool!
     

    franandaj

    I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!
    Joined
    Nov 15, 2009
    Day 10 sounded like a nice relaxing day at sea. Why is it so hard for them to understand your drink package? I know you said they changed it after you purchased it, but still I doesn't make sense.

    That's too bad that Johnny Rockets worked out as a bust. I've never been there, but they are supposed to have good burgers.

    You pictures are fantastic! I love that dress and the color suits you well!
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Your adventures are always so thrilling and the photos are fabulous.....particularly the ones of you and Graham.
    Thanks.

    Happy to see a Wednesday update roll around.
    I have three more installments all typed up with another one in progress so I think it is safe to return back to my twice weekly routine.

    Great score on the tour!
    I was very happy with how this worked out.

    So glad you were able to finally able to swim in a waterfall pool!
    This really was a dream come true.

    Why is it so hard for them to understand your drink package? I know you said they changed it after you purchased it, but still I doesn't make sense.
    I think the issue was not so much that it was discontinued, but that because of the fact it was discontinued the price limit for the wine was never adjusted. This meant that the price limit for a glass of wine was still $8 although the prices had gone up at the beginning of the year and now there were no wines available for less than $10 per glass. A lot of the bartenders used their initiative, but there were a couple that came to the conclusion that if there were no wines that fell within the permitted price range for the package then wine can no longer be included.

    That's too bad that Johnny Rockets worked out as a bust. I've never been there, but they are supposed to have good burgers.
    I had heard this, too and had high hopes.

    You pictures are fantastic! I love that dress and the color suits you well!
    Thanks.

    Corinna
     

    franandaj

    I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!
    Joined
    Nov 15, 2009
    OK trying to stay caught up and failing miserably.

    What time did you get up to get in a three hour tour plus the shopping all before lunch? I'm impressed! The waterfalls were beautiful and I'm glad your tour was such a bargain.

    Nice that the beverage manager took the time to take care of your situation. Dinner looked tasty!

    ETA: I thought there would have been another page and an update. I guess I am caught up here!
     
    Last edited:

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    OK trying to stay caught up and failing miserably.
    You are all caught up here.

    What time did you get up to get in a three hour tour plus the shopping all before lunch? I'm impressed!
    I just checked the time stamps on the photos. The breakfast photos were taken at 8:26 and the lunch photos 6 hours later.

    The waterfalls were beautiful and I'm glad your tour was such a bargain.
    I was really happy with how this worked out.

    Nice that the beverage manager took the time to take care of your situation.
    I was very impressed with how this was handled.

    ETA: I thought there would have been another page and an update. I guess I am caught up here!
    I will post another update shortly.

    Corinna
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Day 12

    We got up at 7:30 as we had a busy day ahead of us. We got up and ready, packed the stuff we needed for the day and then went to the dining room for some breakfast. Graham had granola with melon, whipped cream and strawberry compote. I went for some hot food and had sausages, hash browns, baked beans and cheese. When we had finished our breakfast, we went back to the cabin to called our stuff and then we headed down to the gangway.





    We had another independent excursion booked that day. The joining instructions stated to leave the port area by the South Gate and look for somebody wearing a read cap and holding a red flag. We ended up being quite early and had a look around the immediate area. There were some stalls with various crafts and we got talking to one of the stall holders. We were just about to sit down when we spotted somebody with a red cap and flag. So we went over to him. He introduced himself and then escorted us straight back to the port and a minibus that was parked there. There were already some people on the minibus, but we had to wait for a while until everyone had arrived. The official meeting time had been and gone and we were still waiting. Our guide Malachi explained that we were still waiting for one couple. The bus driver then pointed out to him that all the seats were taken. He then went through the list and everybody was there. It turned out that the couple had got on the bus when Malachi went to meet us.

    With this sorted out, we were on our way. Once again we left Suva, but this time we were heading in a different direction. Malachi told us about Fiji, its culture and living there. I found this very interesting. He pointed out all kinds of landmarks on the way. During the drive, he stayed in touch with somebody at the village to coordinate our movements. Soon we arrived in the town of Navua. We parked in front of the boat base and then were let loose for some free time as there was another group getting ready at the boat base. Navua is just a small place and there is not a great deal there. There was a building with maybe half a dozen shops opposite the boat base. As it was Sunday, all but the small supermarket were closed. We had a quick look around the supermarket as I always find this quite interesting when visiting new countries. Other than that, there were just a couple of makeshift produce stalls. We soon returned to the boat base. The other group was just about to leave. We were introduced to Buna, who would be our photographer for the day. We were each given a life vest and a large plastic bag for our belongings. As soon as the other group had left, we were asked to head down to the boat dock where we were split into groups. We ended up on the third boat.

    As soon as we were on the boat, we left. This part of the Navua River is quite scenic and it was a nice trip. About half an hour later, we docked just below the village and headed up a staircase to the village itself. The village is now called Koromakawa, which is Fijian for The Old Village and is pretty much my idea of paradise. It was originally called Raiwaqa. We stepped out on a huge lawn with palm trees and other exotic plants all around. To our left was the meeting house. We were invited to come in. We were asked to take of our shoes and leave them outside. We were then welcomed by William Danford. We never quite found out what his role in the village was, but I got the feeling that he was the village chief. He apologized that there were not many people around and explained that most of the people in the village were in church. There were about a dozen or so people to meet us.













    r

    Our time in the village started with a kava ceremony. Kava is a crop that can be found all over the Pacific islands through Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia and Hawaii. It belongs to the pepper family. The root is dried and pounded into a powder and then mixed with cold water to produce a drink. This has the property of a local anesthetic and will numb the mouth when drinking. It also is meant to have an overall relaxing effect. After our host told us about kava itself, he introduced us to the elements of the traditional kava ceremony. He explained that the kava ceremony is performed on arrival whenever an important chief visits a village. He was looking for a volunteer to act as the visiting chief. Most people were sitting in a circle on the floor with the villagers forming one half of the circle and the guests the other. A large bowl was placed in front of the leader and the “visiting chief”, who were sitting opposite each other. The leader presented the kava in a half coconut shell and this was then drunk in one shot by the visiting chief, who must clap once before and after drinking the kava. Normally the order of serving then continues from the most important guest down the ranks in order of status of the guests. In our case they just made their way along the circle. A few of us had taken the save option and were sitting on benches along the back wall, but the kava made its way to us, too. I politely declined as I tend to get ill when I have local anesthetic for dental work and wondered if the kava would have the same effect on me. Graham did try some and said it tasted truly horrible.













    Once everybody who wanted to had tried some kava, we headed over to a hut that was a bit further to the edge of the village. This is where our lunch had been cooking. Lovo is a traditional way of cooking in Fiji. They build a fire and then add rocks on top. Once the rocks are hot enough, they take them off the fire and put them into a shallow pit in the ground. Chicken and fish is then wrapped in banana leaves and placed on top of the hot rocks and root vegetables like taro, cassava and yam are put on top of that. The pit is then covered with sand filled bags and earth and the food is left to cook. When we got there, it was time for the “unearthing”. The pit was opened up and the food was taken out. The food was then taken to the kitchen to be carved.















    In the meantime our host William told us about the history about the village and the family that lives there. Everybody in the village is part of the Danford family. John Humphrey Danford landed in Fiji about 200 years ago. He was born in London and was a seaman sailing in the South Pacific. After a disagreement with the captain, he was left stranded in Tonga and eventually turned up in Fiji. He ended up becoming friends with the brother of the chief of the Namosi tribe. He helped the Namosi defeat their enemies and lived among them for some time. He was given lands and houses and seemed to have lived quite a good life. He was given a wife and eventually settled at the only land along the Navua river that never floods. This is the same land on which the village is still today. It was abandoned at some stage, but is now occupied by the Danford family once more.

    We got an introduction to life in the village. The village is pretty much self-sufficient. They grow all manners of fruits and vegetables as well as plants that are used for medicinal purposes. They have chicken and cattle and the fish comes from the river. The village has its own church and pre-school, but the older kids go to school in Navua. Discover Fiji is the family business. We got to taste some fresh coconut and one of the ladies in the village introduced us to some traditional art. It was all very interesting. Then it was time to head back to the meeting house for some lunch. This was an amazing spread of the food that had been cooked in the love as well as various vegetable dishes, salads, fruit and rice. Graham had a little of everything. I had some chicken, rice, salad, curried pumpkin and fruit. We also had the best lemonade I ever tasted.

















     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    After lunch, we had a bit of free time before we got back on the boats. This stretch of the river is very different. It is still very scenic, but there are also whitewater rapids. At one stage we had to get out of the boats and walk a short distance before getting back in the boat as the current was too strong for a fully loaded boat. Once we were back in the boats, we headed for our next destination.






















    Our destination was a waterfall. We walked along a short narrow path and soon we came to a small waterfall pool. To the right of this were some very steep stairs. Most of the group headed up those stairs to a bigger waterfall. Graham and I decided to sit this out as did a couple of others. Graham asked if the pool at the bottom of the stairs was OK to swim in and was told it was. So he headed straight into the water. I was a little nervous as the access looked quite uneven and slippery, but Graham told me that I would be OK so I joined him. After waiting to swim in a waterfall pool for so long, I managed to do it twice in as many days. This was a completely different experience. The pool was bigger and closer to the waterfall, there was quite a strong current. I stayed in there for a good half an hour and then I got cold and got out. Graham stayed in the water for another 10 minutes and then he came out, too. Shortly after Graham got out of the pool, the group returned.









    We walked back to the boats and headed back down river. About 10 minutes later, we pulled up to a bamboo raft. I had one look at this and decided to stay in the boat. Graham was more adventurous. It turned out he was not on the bamboo raft for long. Once everybody else had got off the boat, our skipper got out of the way. We headed some way down river and then we were idling near a waterfall. I could see the bamboo raft in the instance. However, once they caught up with us, I could not see Graham. Apparently once everybody was on, the raft started to sink so Malachi asked for volunteers to swim. Graham did not need to be asked twice and he pronounced the swim in the river as one of the highlights of the tour. A couple of women took up the invitation as well and once they were off, the raft floated quite happily.

















    Once everybody was back on their respective boats, we headed back to the village. We made a lot better time going down river than we had going up river. The rapids were interesting going that direction and I ended up getting quite wet. We were supposed to have some free time in the village, but we had got back a little later than planned so this did not really happen. We were offered the photos on CD. We had just the right amount of Fijian Dollars left so we decided to purchase the photos. Buna had not come back with the CDs when we had to leave. Malachi spoke to her on the phone and somebody was getting into a car and meet us at the port as a few people wanted to purchase the photo CD. Unfortunately they got stuck in traffic and never made it. Malachi took the email addresses of everybody who wanted to purchase the photos and advised that we would get them be email. I gave him the money as we had not paid for the photos yet. It took about a month until we got the photos, but we did get them and I am glad that I spent those few Pounds.







    We had made good time getting back to the port. While we had been on our excursion, we had been joined by another cruise ship. We walked laong the pier to check it out. It looked like a mini me of our ship. It turned out to be one of the Oceania ships. We had followed another one around the Alaskan ports in 2013 so this made me smile. We then headed back to our ship. There were not many people waiting to get on. We took our stuff back to the cabin and then went upstairs to watch the sail away from Fiji. I was sad to leave. Fiji was the place I was least looking forward to visit before the cruise, but it ended up being the place that completely got under my skin. I have visited a lot of places and loved many of them, but there are very few where I could imagine to live. Fiji is definitely one of them.

    Once we were out at sea, we headed back to the cabin to get showered and changed. Then we went downstairs to the rounds of the photo opportunities and then onwards to the dining room for dinner. Dinner was nice again. We both started with the Gourmet Meatballs with crispy onions and I also had the potato and jalapeño soup. Both were very nice. I then had a steak with grilled tomato and steak fries and Graham had sea bass with shrimp and potato fondue. At some stage during dinner, a photographer came to take photos. Dessert as usual was nothing to write home about. I had a chocolate and hazelnut cake and Graham had a pecan tart. I think the ice cream that came with this was the best of the bunch.





















    After dinner, we headed back to the cabin. We read for a bit and then we got an early night.
     

    tiggrbaby

    <font color=deeppink><marquee>We must work harder
    Joined
    Jun 26, 2004
    What a charming tour!

    How great that you could swim in a waterfall pool twice!:lovestruc

    Love the pics with the two of you in tropical attire!
     



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