Thoughts on Fiji: 2010 Edition

Fijian boy from the island of Waya
Fijian boy from the island of Waya
Here are a collection of random thoughts about my current trip to Fiji:

– The tourism industry, especially the budget tourism industry, is expanding. This time around I noticed that Base Backpackers, the big hostel chain from New Zealand, is now in Fiji. The FeeJeeExperience, which is owned by the same company which does the KiwiExperience and the OzExperience. There are skydiving and other extreme sports options now available in Fiji as well. The percentage of 20-something Europeans I met in the Yasawas this time was much larger than my 2007 trip. They even have a Hard Rock Cafe at the harbor in Nadi. Everything seems much more mature from a business perspective.

– There are very few Americans here. I’ve met tons of Europeans but hardly any Americans. Almost all the Europeans are on a similar path where they either were just at Australia/New Zealand or are going there next. In fact, almost all the 20-somethings seem to be taking the same general trip. Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and LA. I still recommend the Yasawas as a destination, especially if you’ve never been there before, but when I return to Fiji next time, I’m going to a different part of the country.

– There is no evidence whatsoever that a military junta is running the country in the area around Nadi. None. I noticed this the last time I was here too. In 2007 I also drove to Suva and went out of my way to drive around Suva to look for evidence of the military. I couldn’t find any. What few people I talked to in the Yasawas and in Nadi were supportive of Commodore Frank. Unlike other countries, I didn’t even see so much as a political sign or a local government office in the villages I’ve visited. I’m not willing to chalk this up as something universally Fijian as I haven’t visited much of the country.

– I attended a church service while I was in the islands. The Fijians, like Samoans and Tongans, are very religious. The service was a Methodist service, which is the largest denomination in the country. It was by far the best singing I’ve ever seen in at a church service. The entire congregation seemed to be signing in harmony with men and women singing different parts at times.

– Rugby 7’s will be a new event in 2016 Olympics. This opens the door for several Pacific countries to earn medals in a sport which they excel at. Fiji currently has the top rugby 7’s team in the world. I think the idea of a Samoa/Fiji gold medal match would be great. It is something I will be paying close attention to in six years.

5 thoughts on “Thoughts on Fiji: 2010 Edition”

  1. I think you are right. If you didn’t know about the political situation in Fiji, then visiting the islands and Nadi/Coral Coast area will seem like visiting a perfectly happy, peaceful country. The people are incredibly friendly, and hopefully the economic benefits from tourism are too good for the politics to get in the way of its operation.
    Also a great place to dive – amazing reefs and marine life!

  2. I was just in Bali and on Gili Air in Indonesia and had my second local Dive Instructor of our trip. (The first was in Dahab, Egypt – also a cheap place to get PADI certified) It was interesting to talk with him and find out that he started working at the shop, then learned to dive, speak English and eventually become a PADI instructor. A great thing to see and I would suspect it has benefits for the dive shops, not having instructors that have to due visa runs every 30 days.

  3. So I take the it the general public is not up in arms over this most recent coup? Doesn’t seem like people’s everyday lives are being affected so calm in the streets and business/life as usual.

    • I dont’ want to generalize, but yes, I haven’t seen any discontent among Fijians. I have heard from bloggers back in 2007 who where against the coup, but nothing on the streets. This is the 4th coup they’ve hand in Fiji in the last 20 years so they are probably used to it at this point.

      Also, I get the impression that the government is leaving the tourist areas alone, so if I didn’t see anything there is probably a good reason for it.

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