Exploring Nadi Fiji – Going to a Local Village

So we had spent about a week in Suva and had a blessed time together and with family.  We decided to go to Nadi where the international capital was and spend the remaining couple days before I have to fly back to work in North Carolina.  We passed lots of interesting sites along the way, such as this container business. It appeared from the sign that people were using converted units for office space.

 

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Lots of greenery along the way.

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Houses were not far off the main road and you could see people cooking and hanging up cloths,  Living daily life.

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Once we arrived and had checked in to the hotel we both felt the hunger pangs and decided to go get some food.  Here we are eagerly waiting for out lamb curry.  yum!

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We stayed at the Tokatoka Hotel Fiji  Which was a really nice place, not far from the airport.  Pool, Waterside, Restaurant, Spa, all in house.  Or you can also get a taxi and go to town where there are plenty of shops and restaurants.

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We were asking the hotel taxi driver about local villages and he said hey you can go on a village tour its only $5 fijian.  So we decided to do that the next day.  We drove around the valley and got a really nice tour by car.  Then we headed to the village.

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Here we are in one part of the village.  Surrounding houses in the outer area of village was home to about 1000 locals.

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The village church.

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Memorial stone with different names of I believe pastors that had served in that church.

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This is the village drum, the is what was used in olden days to summon send messages through the valley, the sound carries very far.

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Holding the wooden drum clubs.

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And our tour guide is getting worried that I might be getting ready to summon the village. No worries I didn’t beat the drum.

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We walked back around the church and went and bought some handicrafts that the local ladies of the village had made and then we left the village and went back to nap during the hot afternoon.

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So we had a blessed time and then the time came for me to get back to work again.  Us together before I went through security.  Till we meet again my God hold you in the palm of his hand.  Love you Dear.

 

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Los Angeles a little over 10 hours away.  Strong tailwind of 117 km an hour helped push the plane over the pacific.

 

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Preparing for a Wedding – Lets Get to Work!

While we were on the island a local couple got married and we were able to see and participate in the whole process.  First stage of events was for the couple to go to court, bring witnesses and answer a few questions from the judges.  After that they were given a marriage certificate.

 

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Some tough questions but also some laughs as well.

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After the the questions and marriage certificate given some food was brought out and the people present had some lunch including the judges.

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The next morning there was early preparation for the wedding.  All the chicken and pork fish and other foodstuff was prepared the lunch.

 

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Preparing chicken and slicing up the pig for the fire.

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Coconut husks make a hot fire, then overlaid with coral rocks.  the pig meat, chicken, fish, and breadfruit is all piled on and then they cover with banana leaves and mats and the meat is cooked for several hours.

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Scraping coconut meat out of the shells, after several big white piles of shredded coconut meat were made it was the squeezed to separate the coconut milk.

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Squeezing the milk out of the scraped coconut meat.  Very rich milk you could not drink more than a little.  The added sugar and boiled it down to make a sweet milky coconut cream that was added over top fish and pulaka.

 

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Hand compressing the grated coconut meat to get separate the milk.

 

Ladies preparing dishes.

 

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Dishes ready to be distributed.

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Dancing celebrations!

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Traditional Dancing at the wedding.

 

And picture with the happy couple, congratulations on your new life together.

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Going To Church – Sharing a Devotional

So we Had been to the largest local church several times and before we departed they asked me to share a devotional on there Fathers day which I accepted at the encouraging of my dad in law.  Not a father yet but I figured I could share some wisdom from the Bible.  My biggest question was “do I need a interpreter?” they said no, enough people understand English.  Well ok then lets get started! Got dressed up in a traditional sulu and fathers day candy necklace.

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Decided to share a devotional on the the Father of Faith,  Abraham.   Touched briefly on three topics, His Calling, His Obedience, and his Legacy of Faith.  About 15 minute devotional.  Final quote,  “I can think of nothing greater that could be said of the Fathers in this room by future generations than what was said of Abraham,  that he, “believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness”  Rom 4:3

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After several speakers shared we stood up front and different people from the congregation walked up and gave us many more candy necklaces for fathers day.

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Beautiful acoustics with high ceiling.

 

 

 

Some Local Foods – Taste and See

So if your ever in the small pacific country of Tuvalu and you get a chance to experience local foods this is what your may have. Below is a buffet sample, this was in court just after a wedding vow between a couple, they broke out some food and had lunch immediately after.  bread, cake, eggs, salad, and local black birds bottom left are a few of the things on the menu here.

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Here I am with my wife and am munching on what they call a Pandunus fruit.  Its like a huge pine cone with the individual fibrous pods filled with very sweet juice that you kind of chew / suck out of it.  Also wearing traditional handmade garland.

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Pandunus Fruit.

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My wife with a big delicious coconut crab.  Very good flavor to the meat and is a delicacy in many countries.

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This is Breadfruit, extremely versatile fruit.  Can be boiled and has a squash / pumpkin like  taste,  can be deep fried to make breadfruit chips which hare similar to plantain chips, and can be baked and tastes somewhat like a potato.  And if you let if ripen it has a passion fruit sweet musky quality to it.

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So before we left the island Uncle Vaguna wanted to make me a feast, He is a Seventh Day Adventist so he doesn’t have pigs like many of the other islanders, but he has chickens and ducks. So he made me a duck feast.  In pic below you can see counter clockwise Roast Duck, Juice in bucket, Raw Tuna Fish with cucumbers and onions and mayo and salt, Cucumbers,  Rice, Duck Sauce, local Papaya’s, Baked Breadfruit, and Fried Breadfruit chips center. This on top of the spread Banana leaves.  It was for me they said, so they wouldn’t eat at all until  I was completely finished.

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Food at a wedding,  Raw fish, Rice, Cake, Local Fried Donuts. Pork, Chicken, and Fish.

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This is Pulaka, its like a super big tough Tarro root. They grow these in special plots and it is a staple mainstay food, especially before modern food like eggs and rice and flour began to be imported.  In olden days Fish, Pulaka, and Coconuts and Pork were the core food survival items.

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And don’t forget about the Fish, If a skilled fisherman is in the family will have this quite often.

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Bananas, Lots of these, some were plantain like very starchy and there was another variety smaller and very sweet.  They mulched the banana trees with leaves and scraps from the yard and also planted them right behind the pig pens, the refuse from the pig pens made the banana trees grow very nicely.

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Every family had at least a couple pigs, some had more than that.  They would butcher them for special occasions. Weddings, Funerals, Birthdays, Farewells, etc

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When they would butcher the pigs they would start a fire with coconut cook them in a pit.

 

 

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And lets not forget about the coconut, So many uses, they used the nut and the juice to make many dozens of types of foods and combinations.

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Here squeezing coconut milk out of a grated coconut meat.

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The people in the pacific have survived for many thousands of years by using sustainable local food in many unique and creative ways.

Catching Crabs – In the Bush

One of the fun things to do on a small Island is to go catch crabs!  Its with your bare hands to so you have to know the technique on how to grab the crab or you will get pinched very uncomfortable and might even lose a little bit of skin.

 

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Selfie before I go potentially lose a finger to a crab, why not!  First time to do this.

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We were catching the common variety crabs but if you go out at night you can find the Cocunut Crabs, which are a lot bigger and smarter and don’t come out in the day but do exist in Tuvalu.

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Coconut Crab

Lets just say that navigating stumps and logs and mud to get to scurrying crabs was not without getting dirty.

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Here we are with half a bucket, we ended up filling the whole bucket up and taking it back,  washing the crabs and then boiling them before digging in.

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Suva Showcase – Here We Come!

“We have to go to the showcase!” at least that’s what Nancy’s small friends thought. People were flocking in from the surrounding area to go for the rides, food and goods for sale, and it was just matter of fact that we were going as well. It was after all a nice break from the daily routine and something to look forward to. We headed to the showcase later that day, (the equivalent of a small county fair,) paid the entry tickets and were admitted inside.

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Next thing you know we were surrounded by throngs of people, booths of food, and different rides that had been set up across the grounds. With many rides to choose from we decided we would do two rides and then go explore the food court. The most prominent ride was the small Ferris wheel that was set up. We got in line and and had time to watch a couple of groups of riders enjoy the wheel ride before we did.

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After a few minutes it was our turn to board, we got on our seat and were rotating slowly up while they disembarked the previous riders. Once they had it fully loaded with new people there was about 5 minutes of the wheel going full speed. It didn’t look very fast from the ground, but once you were up on it it felt higher and faster than you originally thought!!

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After the Ferris wheel we walked around the grounds and went to the food vendor area section and looked and things got some ice cream and BBQ plates. The food court where chairs and tables were set up were 100% full so we went and found some stairs to sit on the nearby Vodafone arena and sat down to enjoy our food. All in all we had a good time and enjoyed being at the event, especially because the younger ones were obviously enjoying it, very carefree, all they had to do was ask for money from Nancy and they would get it for rides and food all night!! imagine that! It is simply fun being around a lot of people in a energized event, and with food and rides it made it even more fun for all of us. Mission Accomplished!

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No Licence Required! – E-Scooter

One of the fun things to do if your in Tamshui Taipei is rent a E-Scooter and zip around town! Some of the shops that sell bubble tea also do bike rentals, all you have to do is get a photocopy of your passport, leave them a 1000 NT ($30 USD)  deposit and depending on how many hours you use the bike it they will deduct from the 1000 NT, if you use it all day for 8 hours they charge the full 1000 NT.

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Driving break in the park

While no licence is required you had better have some scooter skills in the busy sections and keep the impromptu traffic rules, number one rule being don’t cut out suddenly to the left or your likely to be hit by a very fast passing car.

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A unusually empty section of road, perfect for a selfie!

For some reason I don’t know why we didn’t fit the stereotype and got a lot of quick glances as pedestrians noticed that this foreigner guy with a white helmet hat trying to drive a scooter, I was fine at high speeds but a little wobbly at low speeds on sidewalks. (Yes, you can drive slowly on sidewalks with the E-Scooters no fines)

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Ready to rock and roll!

I wouldn’t have known that I could drive one of these without a licence except for Nancy’s expert and familiar guidance around town.

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I think she was tired of my scooter skills and ready to take back the controls!

If your wanting to zip around and have a lot of fun these E-scooters are great, you don’t have to go on the main roads where there are larger vehicles if you don’t want to, you can just go up and down the wharf at easy speeds and enjoy it thoroughly!

 

 

 

Monument – George Leslie Mackay – Tamshui Taiwan

Along the busy sidewalk along the market in Tamsui Taiwan after walking past the many busy shops, you will suddenly come upon this unique statue of a praying kneeling man, a tribute to George Leslie Mackay right in front of the busy Starbucks.

The plaque reads:

” At 3 O’ Clock in the afternoon on March 9,1872, a British Canadian missionary Dr Rev. George Leslie Mackay went ashore from a passenger ship. “Sea Dragon”. He then chose to settle in Tamshui as his home and the place for his missionary, medical, and educational work. He got married, raised his children, and passed away here. His legendary life is profoundly influential to the unique history and culture of Tamshui.

Dr. Mackay’s bronze statue was established on December 27, 2007 in memory of his life.  The statue displays the spirit of Dr Mackay’s religion; he prays with his one leg down aside a boat together with one suitcase and a bible. The artistic work was created based on Dr. Mackay’s ideals and virtue and his dedication to save lives. Accompanied with waves of Tamshui River splashing the shore, it is intended to draw tourists attention to the history of Tamshui, and pass on the local historical spirit as well as become a landmark of Tamshui representing the golden Tamshui river coast.”

Lean more about the local history of Tamshui and George Leslie Mackay Here Borneo Post Online