“Where is this Fiji?”, I had asked my friend Vishal.
Fiji, I had learnt, is an island country in South Pacific Ocean and is most visited country by Australians. ‘Hmm! It just takes about 4 hours by flight from Sydney. So, why not plan a trip with my mom!’ I decided.
Last day in Fiji:
On my last day in Fiji, I had decided to take a taxi to visit the second largest city – Lautoka. The taxi driver had picked us up promptly, early in the morning.
As he was was a local native Fijian, I had enquired, “Do you still have tribes here?”
The driver had immediately responded, “Yes, madam!”. Giving a dramatic short pause, he had added, “Don’t worry madam! Cannibalism is stopped now.” He had grinned looking for my response.
‘Dude! what do you expect me to respond? Should I be glad that my mom and I are not eaten because Cannibalism is stopped?’ I had thought to myself.
But I wanted more (I had visualized my inner conscious, with two horns on its head, dancing), I had asked him to take us to meet the tribes. Since, we had developed a good rapport, he had agreed and taken us to a tribal village. He had arranged for one of the tribal women to show us around the village.
The tribal village had huge houses around an arena. One of the houses had extra decoration of sea shells on the roof and that had belonged to the Chief of the tribe.
The arena had a white pillar in the middle. The tribal woman, seeing me clicking the picture of the pillar, had casually remarked, “Generations back, that pillar used to be decorated by the human skulls!”
As the history goes, Fiji was once known as ‘Cannibal Isles’. If the stories are to be believed, one tribal chief is said to have eaten about 850+ people and to have collected a pile of stones to record his achievement (‘OMG! Scary, isn’t it?’). There is also a belief that there lived a giant once who had eaten about 999 people and in case he had crossed the mark of 1000, he would have been immortal.
Cannibalism or not? Don’t know! True stories or not? Don’t know! Fiji is one of the most beautiful islands I have ever seen and would remain as one of my favorites for a long long time. The legends that have been passed on by generations are truly fascinating.