Kava & Fishing

Trip Start Jul 14, 2011
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33
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Trip End Dec 01, 2011


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Where I stayed
First Landing

Flag of Fiji  , Western,
Wednesday, September 7, 2011

We moved to the north of the island: First Landing resort, with a very kind australian guest relationship manager Amanda with great connections. She would make everything possible for you. We had a nice hut and days went by slowly with no big events apart from our fishing trip and our Kava ceremony. 

It was a nice fishing trip, best told in in photos and videos... 

The kava ceremony is something, worth to be described in detail, though. Our faces on the photos need an explanation. :-) 

Kava is ubiquitous in Fiji. No way that you can leave the islands withou having a bowl of "Kava" also known as ˙aquona or grog.... and it always be happening. A part of an intricate sevusevu, or ceremony (usually a welcome), which is laden with ritual.The word grog might mislead... there is no alsohol involved here. Kava, made from the Kava root is a mild analgesic, diuretic and stress reliever. As soon as you drink it, there will be a lovely lethargy come over your body. It makes your tongue tingly and your head fuzzy. What you can expect after that, is a good night sleep. Kava occupies a central place in everyday life in Fiji. Very offten we were told that people drink Kava every day. That the cemony iitself is a crucial element of family and village life and all of Fiji’s important events are distinguished with kava consumption. Although non-alcoholic, it is the social lubricant, the family glue, the business seal. Traditionally kava was prepared by chewing the root into a pulpy mass, spitting it into a bowl called the tanoa, and then mixing it with water—a task usually reserved for young virgins. Lucky for us, most kava these days is pounded by hand into a powder.
The powder is then placed in a cloth, dipped in the tanoa’s water and is massaged and squeezed!
Kava will be served in a bilo (coconut shell).Ready to enjoy our first sevusevu, we took place in a semi-circle facing the chief. Soon we realized that Fijian take this ceremony very serious. We were told that we have to show respect, by keeping our heads lower than the chief, remain quiet and sit cross-legged while keeping our feet pointed away from the tanoa. The chief will drink his kava first, and then the bilo will be dipped into and refilled from the tanoa, eventually making its way around the circle. The most important people drink first.Before you accept the bilo, you have to clap once with your hands (cupped, not flat!!!) and say, “Bula!”. Take the shell with both hands, and down it all in one go. This is not easy as it tastes spicy dirt. Don;t dare to wince or say “bleh.” Then you hand the shell back to the host, and clap three times again in the same manner, saying “Bula!”
once again.

We would never, but you can announce “Maca!” (“The cup is empty!”). Then your bowl will be refilled... most likely “high tide”, meaning filled to the brim!

You will immediately feel your lips and tongue go numb. And this was only the first cup. There are at least 4 more to come. Don’t worry, you can’t really go overboard with kava consumption. Worst case would be that you fall asleep here and now.

Well, and this is the explanation for our crinkly faces...

Bula!

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