Bula (hello) everyone! I thought I would tell you a little about the food here. Food here is sort of expensive except the local grown products. Most beef, chicken, and pork is shipped here either from Australia or New Zealand and a lot of other food products also. The ground beef is ok and also the chicken, but very pricey. The locals eat a lot of rice, dahlo (not sure about the spelling here) (which is sort of like a potato except blander and it's sort of purple), and casava (which is a kind of root). The dahlo and casava are very bland. They usually do not put any spices or condiments on them when they eat them or prepare them. The local grown vegetables are eggplant, okra, cabbage, cucumbers, lettuce, green beans (they are longer and thinner than what we usuall sell, but they are pretty good) and tomatoes. The fruit is more in the season it grows. Right now the mangoes are good. They also have a lot of watermelon right now. The pineapples are the best and the bananas are smaller in size but very good. We are adjusting to the food. There is a local store which does have some American type products so that is nice. Shopping is time consuming because you have to go to different places for things. People go to a bakery for bread, the meat market for meat, the fruit stands for fresh foods, the market for other items. The markets are similar to what we have at home, but not as big.
They have little roadside stands all over the city where you can buy local fruit and vegetables. They also have a big market downtown where you can buy the same thing as at the roadside stands.
This is the guy we have named "The Watermelon Man" because that is what he sells almost every day just down the street from where we live. He works very long hours. We usually leave for the school around 7:30 and he will be on the street selling his watermelon and most days he is still out there until 7:00 or 7:30 at night. Rain or shine his is out there- 10 to 12 hours a day. Lately we hadn't seen him in his usual place, and Mike was teasing me because I had bought a watermelon from him last week for $10, and Mike jokingly said, I had made the watermelon man rich so he didn't need to sell any more watermelon.
When we stopped to take his picture we asked him where he had been. He said he had been selling at another place in the city.
Last week was the Hindu holiday called Diwali, or Festival of Lights. It is a big tradition here in Fiji and since a big part of the population here is from India it is a national holiday so the schools and stores were closed. Even if you are not Hindu the Fijians also celebrate. They decorate their homes with lights similar to what we do at Christmas. They also have get-togethers with family and friends where people exchange sweets and small gifts of love. The other big traditon for Diwali is fireworks. People buy fireworks and shoot them off all over the city. We sat on our deck with some of the other missionary couples and watched the fireworks for 2 hours. They are pretty big fireworks for the at-home variety. Below is one of the type of fireworks they sold all over the city.