Robin's Adventures

Tales of the South Pacific
A Tropical Island Adventure

Adventure Calls

Once again our sense of adventure lured us far from home on a wondrous journey. We set out to explore blazing sunsets, tropical beaches, people and customs of different cultures, and some very interesting wildlife.

Our travels took us to seven different countries as we island hopped across the South Pacific, and wandered into the Torres Strait and the Indian Ocean.

First Stop: Fiji

Fiji is a chain of more than 330 volcanic islands. Since it is located just west of the international dateline, it has been said that each day begins first in Fiji. After an eleven and a half hour flight, which arrived at about six in the morning, our day did, in fact, begin in Fiji.

We were greeted at the airport by a trio of musicians dressed in traditional Fijian sulu and then transported to the Sofitel Fiji Resort. The hotel had lush tropical grounds and there were Mynah birds everywhere, even in the dining room. We enjoyed the breakfast buffet where we noticed some familiar cereal with some amusing names.

Exploring the Town of Nadi

Our morning was spent wandering through downtown Nadi, which is the third largest city in Fiji. There were many small shops and some of them displayed traditional wood carvings. The tiki masks, which were elaborately carved and decorated, were originally meant to represent deities and protect the owner from evil spirits as well as increasing strength, fertility, and luck.

In the evening, we went to the marina where we enjoyed a wonderful tropical sunset as we ate our dinner at the water's edge. There was a group of fire dancers performing and that was a delightful end to our first day in Fiji.

Sri Siva Subramaniya Hindu Temple

Sri Siva Subramaniya Hindu Temple, which is the largest Hindu temple in the southern hemisphere, is dedicated to Lord Murugan, the god of seasonal rain.

The temple, which was built by eight craftsmen that were imported from India, is built in a traditional Indian style with pyramid shaped towers and ornate carvings.

There are elaborate colorful paintings on the interior ceilings that depict scenes central to Hindu beliefs, including the story of Ganesh, the god with the head of an elephant.

Local Market

In a tropical paradise with fertile volcanic soil, fruits and vegetables abound. Our visit to the open air market offered us an up close look at some of the staple crops of the area, including purple pole beans, duruka or 'Fijian asparagus', taro roots, and of course, bananas, pineapples, and coconuts.

More Local Market

Brooms in Fiji are made from the ribs of coconut fronds. The long ribs are cut with a sharp knife, dried and then attached to a stick with a strip of rubber. The long flexible brooms are good for cleaning those hard to reach corners.

Peanuts were also a popular purchase, not only in the local market, but also from street vendors on crowded street corners. The peanuts were often still on the stem and looked like very odd shriveled lumpy bouquets of flowers.


Kava, made from the roots of the Yaquona plant, which is in the pepper family, is the national beverage of Fiji. The drink will numb your mouth and face and, if you drink enough of it, will put you into a relaxed frame of mind.

Kava roots were available for sale in the market. The strength and quality of the kava drink depends on the part of the root that is used. If you did not wish to grind the roots yourself, kava powder was also available. The drink itself looks like muddy water and is often consumed from a communal bowl that is passed around from person to person.

The Fish Market

Many different varieties of freshly caught fish were on display at the Fiji market. Not sure, however, how long they would remain fresh considering the lack of refrigeration.

Garden of the Sleeping Giant

Garden of the Sleeping Giant, named due to its location at the base of a mountain range that appears to be a reclining giant lost in slumber, is a 50 acre botanical garden with an emphasis on orchids. There are about 2,000 types of orchids that were once the private collection of actor Raymond Burr.


Orchids, with more than 28,000 species, are one of the largest families of flowering plants. To put this into perspective, there are twice as many different types of orchids on earth as there are types of birds and four times as many orchid species as there are mammal species.

We were impressed by the beautiful blooms throughout the gardens.