David and Lili's World Tour

FIJI

June 2008 - Nadi, Navala village, Nalova Bay

Bula! Some tourists we met in New Zealand warned us about going to Fiji. "It's so dangerous!" they said. No, Fiji is not dangerous. It was dangerous back when the Fijians were cannibals, before the missionaries brought Jesus; now it's a friendly place. Maybe the tourists never saw poor people before; or maybe they were intimidated by the frequent coup d'├ętats and military dictatorships. I don't know. My aunt Wendy was here for both of the last two coups. She said there were roadblocks and curfews. No problem.

Wendy and Ryan met our plane in Nadi and took us to Martin's house. From there we went to Navala Village, in the remote highlands, to get some culture. Wonderful people. Bad food.

Then Lili and I went to a beach resort in the Yasawa Group for a week of pure relaxation, with fantastic snorkeling. We hung out with a couple from Denmark who just came from Bali. They love Fiji in comparison and I understand why. Bali is nice, but their cultural purity has become corrupted by the desire to make money from foreigners. Not so in Fiji, with proud people who welcome visitors as honored guests. It's a bit expensive, but worth it.

Fiji's political instability stems from a fundamental racism between the native Fijians (dark skinned, curly haired Melanesians on the main islands, plus brown skinned, wavy haired Polynesians near Tonga) versus the Indian immigrants whose families have been in Fiji for five generations. We met people from both sides who complained to us about the other side. By law, native Fijians have ownership rights to 86% of all land, forcing the Indians to make their money through commerce. Every time the Indians have gotten political power, the Fijians, fearing the loss of that land right, have taken power back by force. In my observation, problems arise when a country allows foreigners to buy land; rich foreigners eventually buy all the nice land; but Fiji's Indians are not foreigners. Sooner or later, they must be allowed to purchase land. Meanwhile, Fiji will remain a country divided. But that shouldn't stop you from visiting here as a tourist.

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