used to say that the world was flat, and if you sailed to
the end, you'd plummet over the edge into an abyss..
I'm now in the Eastern Hemisphere, having crossed the International
Date Line and 180-degree mark. No abyss to be seen! I'm
now in Fiji, the land of Bula, which is the Fijian
word for "hello". If you visit, you'll hear it
all day long.
much else to report, but I can safely say Fijans have been
the friendliest people in my South Pacific experience. There
are some small culture shocks, such as how people ask for
gifts. The customs official came aboard, poked through our
stuff, went through our wallets, and then asked if we had
any iPods or DVDs or clothes that we would like to give
him as a gift. I think he got a tshirt out of the ordeal,
and he seemed disappointed about that.
recent history of Fiji has seen an incredible amount of
Indians introduced to the population by Europeans to "help"
deforest huge swaths of land and work in the sugarcane fields.
Some places are half native Fijan, half Indo-Fijan. It brings
up some really interesting political and cultural questions.
The native Fijans are desperate to hold onto their traditions,
heritage, and political and financial power. The Indians
born here are proud Fijan citizens who want equal rights
to purchase land, make a living and practice their religion.
I find myself wondering..
What are the true values of tradition and heritage?
How much of it is worth holding onto? How much can we realistically
expect immigrants to embrace? How much of it is an excuse
Does government have a right to steer individual citizens
on a predetermined course in life?
we can't choose our skin colour or where we are born and
if you could have just as easily been born in Africa or
Asia, do 2nd generation immigrants deserve to be given the
same rights and freedoms as a native?
After a wild chase across the high seas, I finally caught
up with my friends from Panama - Zach and Cody - and caught
a ride on their boat for a couple of weeks of snorkeling
and feasting! We are headed west to the mysterious islands
of Vanuatu, and surely shenangians will ensue..
Enjoy the photos! BULA!
NOTE: Hiking, dancing and underwater photos taken by
Zach and Cody. Sunset photos taken by me!