Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Taveuni Paradise - More on this Fiji getaway

Day two at Taveuni Paradise, Fiji, proved several things:

One, You don't need an alarm clock. Between 5 and 5:30 a.m., light sleepers may not note the switch from night time to daytime generators, but the the roosters do. Despite the hour or so of darkness remaining, they start crowing the sun up. This you no doubt will note.

 Two, there's a whole lot of difference between "Oh, it's easy," and "It's a little steeper."

Touring Taveuni

The day's activities began with a visit to the Catholic Church of the Holy Cross in Wairiki village. We had stopped by the day before to see inside so we sat outside and listened to the singing. Fijian infants seem to emerge from the womb knowing four-part harmony and carrying tunes. Any that don't I suspect are tucked into a canoe and sent to Tonga. Everyone sings and does it so beautifully choir directors will want to bring them home.

Next it was the three-part Tavoro waterfalls in Bouma National Heritage Park. It is, as advertised, an easy 5-10-minute walk along a wide grassy path to the first waterfall which plummets 65 feet into a pool for swimming. There are changing rooms, bathrooms and picnic facilities, but wet bathing suits dry in a hurry here so wearing one under a shirt and shorts is very doable.

Tip: Access to the first fall and pool are easy but I don't advise the trek up to the second, Levelers, and do NOT try to reach the third. 

Having worked up an appetite we stopped by Coconut Grove for lunch with owner Ronna Goldstein. This delightful three-bure mini-resort overlooks one of the island's only soft sand beach and caters to honeymooners and other romance-seeking couples. The food is marvelous and the views are stunning.

Tip: As you can see there are stairs and steps here but they aren't that bad.

Ronna, a Connecticut native, is a kick. "Ex boyfriend, the usual story," was her response when asked how she wound up here.

Animal lovers will fall for her cats and dog. 

Skip the slide

Warning: Levelers, if anyone urges you to visit the Waitavala Sliding Rocks thank them but respond with a firm "No." This switchback fall of water rushes over rocks that have become so smooth, the locals use them as a water slide. Youngsters come down on their feet! Fun to see but treacherous to reach, especially if it has rained recently. I still wonder that our stalwart guides got us up then down that steep slippery slope and two of us only went halfway up.

Two days in one

 Muddy and soaked with sweat, we hit the road again, only to pull over and  discover why Mai Kel had us take pictures of white hibiscus flowers growing along the roadside that morning. The white flowers had turned pink!

Called yesterday, today and tomorrow flowers or baubau, they really are something else and the perfect segue-way to our last must-do for this lo-o-o-ng day of touring.

It was almost dark by now but we were determined to stand at the 180th degree of longitude line with one foot in today and another in tomorrow. There's a sign at the Taveuni Time Line, tucked unobtrusively between a house and a soccer field, that is divided in half.

Despite being bedraggled and covered in mud from the trek up and down to the water slide, we took turns posing and taking one another's pictures in impossible light.

Clarification: For time keeping purposes, the line was shifted around Taveuni so all of Fiji would be on the same day.

However late, however silly, a must-do is a must-do and tomorrow we could relax, spending the day learning Fijian skills and customs and enjoying our last day at Paradise.


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