Welcome to the first edition of “Jim’s Corner” where Jim writes about travel, speech therapy, and being a dad. His posts will be published every Friday.
Some of the best things about traveling, besides the food, are the cultural aspects. If you stay long enough somewhere in Fiji like I did (a month I think), you’ll probably get invited by the locals to a Kava Ceremony.
In the U.S. the Kava-Kava is considered an herb that calms you during the day (Valerian is better if you want to sleep). In Fiji, Kava is sort of like an alcohol substitute to be drunk in a coconut cup with 20+ people in a long-house. It goes something like this: If you stay in a guest house or hostel in the same town (or a beach campground like I did) and aren’t too annoying a chief or other important person will invite you to attend. I went to several.
A lot of foreigners are a bit apprehensive of Kava ceremonies because Kava looks like dirty dish water and is drunk out of a communal cup. Someone will usually ask you if you are sick and then it’s courtesy to abstain. The cup is passed around by request for around a dime each time; you call out someone’s name or (or point), pay equivalent of a dime in Fiji money (I can’t remember what it is called), and then the person of your choice drinks up. It gets pretty loud in the long-house because Kava is a mild stimulant that makes people very social.
The best thing is there is no side effects (like hangovers) and you usually get used to the tangy taste.
Fiji: It’s an awesome place to visit!