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Wednesday 20 Mar 2013
Naviti, Fiji

Bowling with coconuts

My plan seems to be working...

I came to Fiji with the intention of relaxing a while in between New Zealand and Australia.  After the five hour ferry up to Nacula island, I was questioning the wisdom of trying to visit three islands in five days, but actually it has been nice to see the variety in the islands.  The ride back to Naviti was about an hour, nice and gentle, and I was greeted by a very smiley young Fijian guy called Ziggy in the long boat.  In two days here, I have only ever seen him smiling and his enthusiasm is quite infectious.  After checking in, I was taken straight out on another snorkelling trip, this time around to the Mantaray reef about half an hour away.  There were 15 people on the trip including six British girls who turned out to be Virgin cabin crew on an exchange with Virgin Australia, working out of Sydney.  They were a LOT of fun.

This reef was more spread out that the Blue Lagoon reef, but the fish life was no less impressive.  I drifted along the edge of the reef, glancing up every now and then to check the boat was still there.  The best fish I saw was something that looked like a character in a kids cartoon.  It was at leat a foot long with bold black and white stripes running the length of its body, a yellow and black face with whiskers, a yellow strip down its spine and a leopard print tail. No idea what it was but it was brilliant!

After dinner, Ziggy cleared the middle of the deck and set up 10 sand-filled water bottles at one end.  Before we knew it, he had organised us into three teams and had us playing coconut bowls, hurling coconuts at the waterbottle 'pins'.  Great fun!

Korovou Eco-tour Resort had two dorms with 24 beds each.  The first dorm was already full when I arrived so they put me in the other dorm alone.  It was a little bit creepy to sleep on a single bed in the middle of the hut, surrounded by bunk beds on both sides.  There was a door on each side of the building, which thankfully locked from the inside, but not all the windows had curtains, so I felt a little bit exposed.  My overactive imagination started rerunning all the stalk'n'slash teenage horror films I've ever watched, but I managed to shut it up and fell asleep.  Despite this, it was quite nice to have a room to myself and not be kept awake by 23 other people, so when they tried to move me into the main dorm the next day, I chose to stay where I was instead.

The package I had booked included a Fijian cookery lesson, but it turned out to be a bit more of a demonstration than a lesson.  The dish we made was a local traditional starter called Kokoda.  We started with 1cm cubes of raw mackerel, though almost any white fish could be used.  We cured this in fresh lime juice - the small round sweet limes common to tropical areas - by squeezing the juice out of 30 or so limes.  While this was curing, we scraped the coconut flesh out of a fresh coconut and kneaded it to get the juice out to make coconut cream.  This was stirred into the cured fish and lime juice.  Lastly we added very finely diced cucmber, carrot, onion, red and green peppers and celery and stirred the whole lot together.  Served up as a starter with another wedge of lime, it was brightly coloured and very light.  There were only three of us in the group with a huge bowl of Kokoda to eat.  One girl had enough to be polite and then left, so Joanne and I ate the rest between us - delicious! It may be light, but if you have three bowls each, it becomes quite filling, so we didn't need lunch afterwards.  I will definitely be making this at home.

I spent the rest of the next day sitting on the sun loungers between the pool and the beach (a gap of approximately 12') and got stuck into a set of books on my kindle.  There aren't many times when I can sit and read all day and not think about the hundred other things I should be doing instead, but this was one of them and I made the most of it.  I also spent an hour or so practicing the settings on my SLR, taking pictures of trees, shells, hermit crabs, etc, until I felt a bit more comfortable with the manual mode.

Ziggy organised the after dinner entertainment again, this time a Fijiian dancing display.  He and some of the other staff danced for about 20 minutes, then got us up and taught us a Fijian dance too - a bit of a Fijian macarena - which caused a lot of giggling and bumping into each other.

The week is passing far too quickly, but I am really enjoying doing so little.


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Zobeedoo's Big World Adventure, Part I

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