South Pacific islands. Those words immediately conjure images of tropical paradise in everyone's mind. Well, it is. It's incredibly beautiful: coconut tree-filled islands with crystal-clear turquoise seas and white, endless sandy beaches.
What hit me as soon as I stepped off the airplane was the sweet smell in the air. I later discovered that the sweet smell is the coconut oil, infused with wild flowers, that every Fijian applies all over their skin. It was the hospitality and friendliness of the Fijians that impressed me the most. My friend and I were treated like royalty in each village we stayed in.
When I hear the word "Fiji", so memories comes to mind: the metal sound of yagona (kava) being pound, the policemen in a sarong in Suva, a nice day in Fiji is windy- those who have been there long enough know why it is so (and it's not because of the unbearable heat and humidity), the incredible smiles of everyone, the sweet mango juice running down my chin has I bite my mango, Garrick bar in Suva ( how the Fijians don't take alcohol very well!), finding Biko, an abandonned puppy, meeting Ruth-Ann, a good friend since, ...I could go on for hours.
Ao sega vulagi, ao kei Viti! (I'm not a foreigner, I'm Fijian!)- yes it made Fijians laugh.
"Come back someday my friend, to Leleuvia...", parting song sang at every tourists departure from Leleuvia island.
This photo was taken during a Nausori Highland trip on Viti Levu. No one wanted to drive the rented car across an overflowing bridge, so we asked so a local man did it for us. It was a main event and some kids came and swam in the river. Taken with my Agfa 1940-something camera.