Fiji – day 1

Yasawa-I-Rara Island, Fiji                                  Monday, February 8, 2014*

*We are now a day ahead of USA

We landed today in Fiji on one of the northwest islands of Fiji, Yasawa-I-Rara. I’ll let Joe’s pictures do all the talking – words are not adequate to describe how beautiful this place is.

Fiji is comprised of a lot of islands, and Yasawa-I-Rara is one of the least developed. That is why the island is used by Hollywood, and you might know that the 1980s Brook Shields movie “The Blue Lagoon” was filmed on a tiny island off the cost of YIR (sorry but I can’t keep typing out the whole name). There are several villages on the island, and about 2000 people live on the island. There is only one resort on the island.

The weather is hot (over 90F), the water is very clear and very warm (high 80s), and there are people all over snorkeling among the coral. If you get into a shaded area (and there are many, since the island is full of palm trees and vegetation), the breeze is delightful and it’s easy to understand why you’d want to stay here.

The tender boat took a lot of the cruise visitors to the island on continuous shuttles, and we landed on a nice long wooden pier that leads to the beach. The village closest to where we landed has a population of approximately 600. The local residents set up a market along the beach, selling colorful fabric and sarongs, shell jewelry, fans, etc. I walked through this market and into the nearby “neighborhood” – about a dozen corrugated tin shacks, many thatched huts, chickens and goats in a few yards, a cemetery with a few graves (no names, dates, etc., just crosses on top of white markers), no vehicles in sight, and local folks bringing goods to the beach market for sale. The locals greet everyone with the Fijian welcome “bula bula” so I will have to ask Brandon if there is some Yale connection here that has gone unnoticed….

Tomorrow we go to the large island of Fiji (Viti Levu), and plan to visit the “Garden of the Sleeping Giant.” This is where Fiji’s largest orchid garden is located – it was founded by Raymond Burr (the actor known for Perry Mason and Ironside), to house his collection of orchids. So I’m thinking that if a guy like Raymond Burr can live in Fiji, maybe I could get used to this, too.

Hope you all have a Happy Chinese New Year (year of the Monkey)!