I was going to Egypt and the week before I was to leave some terrorists bombed a TWA plane flying from Athens to Cairo. I went into the American Express office and saw a yellow sticker tag with my name on it stuck on one of the computer screens. The agents saw me and said, "We don't think you should go to Egypt." We have a special to Fiji where you can lie on the beach for two weeks with sand, sun, and scuba diving!" Since I love all of these I said, "Yes!" Please see the map for the topography and the geographical statistics for Fiji.

So guess what, the next week I was lying in the sand under a palm tree but instead of seeing the pyramids, I was looking at the South Pacific! My room looked over the sea and in the morning and in the evening the palms, water, and sky were tremendous. It was the first time I saw the Southern Cross and a multitude of other constellations. I first stayed near Suva, a seaport town on the SE coast of Viti Levu and after a few days I traveled by catamaran to one of the very small islands that surround the bigger islands.

Check out this link for photos taken at the Private Resort on the private island!

I met a couple from New Zealand who were anthropologists and they invited me to a fire walk, (a real one), as they were friends of a local chief. We left around midnight, a full moon and patches of rain clouds above us. Very mysterious. They said this ceremony probably wouldn't last much longer as modernization became more prevalent. The men were locked up in a building for a month, no sex, at least not with their wives! Large lava stones, not little cinders, were put in a circular depression and were lit by torches and heated up until they shone almost white and they were very, very, Hot! The men drank a potion that we got to drink which paralyzed our lips. I thought they should bath their feet in it, not their mouth! They came out of the hut, eight men and the chief and sang around the fire. They then walked across the hot rocks, not too slowly. After that they place huge branches from a gum tree over the fire. They was stacked up about two feet thick. Then the chief sat in the middle and the rest sat around him. The gum from the leaves began to drip onto the lava rocks and the entire thing began to vibrate and sizzle like a hamburger on a grill. Steam billowed out the edges and the chief and the other men, while singing, started to give strange looks at the steam. One big puff came out almost between the chiefs legs and they chanted their songs very quickly and then danced around the fire, I think, just to be safe! While this was going on the moon would pop out of the clouds and light up the area and then there would be intermittent showers which would cause the stones to spurt off steam and spit and sputter. All in all, a very exciting evening was had by all.

The other interesting thing about Fiji is the fact that it is like going to Hawaii for we Americans. Australians and New Zealanders love going to Fiji. The only problem for half of the people in the resorts were their sports enthusiasm. At nine a.m. they were playing soccer. At 11 a.m. they were playing volley ball. At one p.m. something else and so on and so on. The rest of us went down the beach and every 1000 feet one of us would stake out a place. Every day the same people would have their favorite spot by the beach under a palm tree which was far enough away so as not to hear all that screaming. Different strokes for different folks! The Australians either seemed to be playing some kind of sports in the day or getting very drunk on beer at night, but I will say one thing, they did have a good time!

One day I was bored so I decided to walk over to the next island as it was very low tide. I ended up in front of a native village where they were building a new meeting hall. I was out in the surf watching them when I felt something on my foot. It was small and slimy and I tried to pull it off. I then discovered it was a baby octopus and I began to jump around on one foot, camera in one hand and the other locked onto the octopus, trying to pull it off. The natives watched me for a while and then just shook their heads. Another tourist. Finally got the "sucker" off my foot and continued on around the island. I got three fourths of the way around and got caught on an outcropping of rocks. The tide was coming in and huge waves were breaking around me. My feet were sore and I thought I was going to spend the night there! Saw a launch going by and screamed out for HELP! They saw me, a group from the hotel, and had a terrible time trying to get me off the rocks and into the boat without it being ripped apart. After I got into the boat everyone cracked up and asked me if I needed a drink after we got back to the hotel. I said I would buy since they saved my butt. The boat pilot said if they hadn't seen me I would have either been there all night or would have been washed away! So much for adventuring about alone.

Return to the World Travels of Charles Walter Buntjer

  Charles Walter Buntjer

San Francisco California
Created on: 1982       

Updated on: 2015.03.25