4/27/19 – Saturday Thermal Mudpool Tour
This was another Vacations to Go tour (Thermal Mudpool) and one of my favorites, right next to Hobbiton and the Glow Worm Cave/Kauri Trees tours. Only John and I and two sisters were on this tour. Our van driver was most accommodating. Thank heavens we had air conditioning. All their public transportation had open windows for air conditioning. We’re even closer to the equator here.
I’m mentioning some things we learned about Fiji on our way to the Mudpool. Note, I struggle to remember all they tell us until I can get back to the ship and write down notes.
Fiji makes its income from sugar cane farms and factories, fishing, farming and tourism. Their minimum wage is $2.60/hr. For cutting sugar cane (really hard work) they get $30/ton. They grow a lot of tapioca/cassava for it’s roots. For them, I think it’s like how they use the taro plant in Hawaii for it’s roots to make poi. They have public schools and three universities, one on each major island. The schools teach all these languages: Hindi, Fijian and English. The first peoples to come here were from a tribe in Tanzania, Africa. The British arrived in the 1700’s, starting the sugar cane industry. The British brought Indians over (from India) to cut and process the sugar cane. I think, similar to the Hawaiians, the Fijians weren’t so interested is back breaking work. Now the people there are about ½ African (curly hair) and ½ Indian (straight hair). There are many religions here. If there’s a red flag in the yard, that indicates an Indian place of prayer. Each village has their own chief, their own church. They live as a community, sharing everything. A favorite drink is Kava. To drink it they gather around a common bowl and share the drink as they relax together.
Horses and cows roam free. If a rope is tied to a horse (or a cow is tied to a stake) then they have an owner. Travel throughout the rural areas is by horse and free. You can catch a wild horse or ask the owner’s permission to ride. In town you can ride the local buses. Kahn’s buses are owned by Kahn. “Classic” buses are owned by another man. Houses of concrete were built to survive cyclones.
Best time to visit: June through October because October to May is the rainy season).
As we were leaving in our van our driver noted that the men just ahead were gathered to drink their Kava. I mentioned that I’d love to take their picture but that I knew I needed to ask their permission. Our driver said he’d ask them. They said yes! Not only that, they offered me some. I asked if it was spicy. No, they assured me. I took a taste. It was a lot like watered down tea with milk in it. Definitely not spicy. So sweet of them. Our driver had said that they could drink beer but this is much cheaper.
Back on the ship, we were playing cards (“13”) in a card room when we got to know the couple nearby. They play “Canasta”. I asked if they would help me learn. Sure, they also wanted to learn “13 from us. Deal. So we all played “13”. They are Beth and Jamie from England, but they’d recently moved to France. We had great fun sharing the game and stories.
That night, instead of the theater show we got a DVD from the front desk to watch in our cabin: “Black Panther”. Very good show.