Mango Fire

man spinning fire in fiji

The touristy-thing has worked its way onto our agenda; this happens every so often and honestly it can be a nice change of pace. We’ve got some things going on back in the States, so we detached ourselves from the Musket scene and moved Cavalo over to Denarau where we’d reserved a mooring for two weeks. People were shocked to hear we had a mooring. We reserved it over three months ago before we were even in the country or had plane tickets home. Highly advised. In transit to our parking space a refreshed surf report revealed better-than-normal conditions for the following day, so we made a last minute decision to pack overnight bags and head for the Coral Coast where we could spend our last full day in Fiji letting someone else take us to the waves. Did I mention that we’ve completely dismantled our windlass and can’t really anchor the boat? No? Can’t wait to get back to that project…

Driving the Coral Coast takes you from the dry, dusty, Western Division of Fiji, up over the hills and down into the lush jungles of the Central Division that seems a world away with a flourish of orchids and tropical birds. In our hasty planning we’d seriously underestimated the distance to Mango Bay and arrived well after dark, but the air smelled of rain (something the Western Division hasn’t seen in seven months) and the tall dark cliffs glistened behind a thick curtain of vines. We checked into our room, had a beer and jumped on the beds. The a-frame palm thatched bures offer an exciting amount of headroom that living on a boat would have me describe as cavernous, though Fijians can be quite tall and it does get awfully hot.

We were late enough to miss the beginning of dinner. Normally the cost alone of staying at a resort warrants squeezing every amenity, activity and experience out of it, but all we’d really missed was the participation part of the evening. We’ve been involved in a number of legitimate kava ceremonies, and I have no real desire to do the Macarena with a bunch of strangers, so no one was really complaining. I’d be lying if I said we didn’t hang back to have another beer when that song came on.

Fire dancing gets me every time, though. Pulse-like tribal beats and a whorl of light that you can both feel and smell. It’s one of those sensory experiences that pulls you from your centre and self and places you in another realm. Some people think it’s lame. I think it’s beautiful. It’s really a borrowed art, performed mainly for tourists, and has little cultural significance in indigenous Fiji. But with deep roots in rhythm and dance, and an apparent love for setting things on fire, the locals can put on a pretty good show.

fijian woman with fire poi

man spinning fire poi in fiji

man spinning fire poi in fiji

people spinning fire poi in fiji

people spinning fire poi in fiji

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