FIJI, Travel
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FIJI Part 2: Sigatoka Sand Dunes // Le FIJI e le dune di sabbia

Sand Dunes in the Sutherland Shire, New South ...

Sand Dunes in the Sutherland Shire, New South Wales, Australia. Two photo stitch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I started looking over the internet which were Fiji  highlights, I read about the Sigatoka Sand Dunes. Before these sand dunes, looking back at the past, I’ve been to some in New Zealand and Australia, on Fraser Island, and probably to something similar in Europe, but not to the famous ones in France. I was curious to see them in Fiji and that is why on Tuesday morning at 8am we were at the “gate” of the Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park, yes because it’s best to visit them early in the morning or just before they close down as it may be too hot during the day. We were offered to do the tour with a guide and we accepted in order to learn a bit more about the place. And that’s when Epeli took the scene. We started walking up the forest and meanwhile I was thinking that it had been a while since my last bushwalk. I’ve always been used to walk in the mountains and all-around since little, but it’s true that when you stop doing it for a while there are certain muscles that become dormant and that you struggle when you do it again, especially at the beginning.

View from Sigatoka Sand Dunes towards the ocean

View from Sigatoka Sand Dunes towards the ocean

While we walked and admired the beautiful panorama, we all asked many questions and Epeli patiently answered all of them. We asked about the British colonization, about Fijian habits, about his studies, we shared experiences and knowledge comparing it to Italy and Australia, i.e. what we knew. It has been an interesting cultural exchange. For example he said that when the first Christian people came to Fiji from England, they obliged local people to cover themselves,  while now the British people come on holiday with their shorts and bikinis and undress themselves very easily to go to the beach. The opposite of what they asked Fijian people to do at the time. It is really an interesting consideration.  So if you happen to go to a Fijian village, make sure to cover yourself to respect their ‘acquired’ culture. He also told us about how Fijian people still rely a lot on nature, to live and heal themselves. In fact people, for example, can still afford to live without having a job thanks to what the nature in Fiji offers to them and thanks to people help in the villages. Fijian culture is based on family, friends and mutual help. This attitude probably is still in place at a certain degree in Italy, but, according to me, not as deeply as in Fiji anymore. He also pointed out how they still make use of traditional medicine remedies, that is in the end where modern medicine come from, but with no negative impact on the human body.

We have been by ourselves for the whole walk. I personally suggest to take the long walk, approx 2 hours, even if it is a bit more physically demanding. I asked myself why I chose it when I was climbing both with my feet and hands an almost vertical sand wall ahah, but it really paid off. In the sand dunes park there is also an archaeological site, where they found the bones of people from thousands of years ago and they have been able to study the origin of the place and add a piece to Fiji’s history.

Of course this is just a general overview, you’ll have to go there and ask for Epeli to get all the details!🙂 Thank you, VINAKA!

——— // ———

On the beach of Sigatoka Sand Dunes

Tra le cose assolutamente da vedere alle Fiji c’erano le Dune di sabbia di Sigatoka. Già il pensiero di andarle a visitare mi rendeva felice. Ne ho viste in passato, in Nuova Zelanda tanti anni fa’, purtroppo sotto la pioggia battente non è stat oil Massimo fare ‘sand board’, in Australia a Fraser island, e sicuramente in altri posti in Europa, ma non di certo le famose Dune di Pyla in Francia. Siamo arrivate intorno alle 8 del mattino al parco nazionale delle dune. E’ infatti consigliato vederle o la mattina presto o nel pomeriggio prima della chiusura per evitare la calura e l’umidità delle Fiji. Siamo state accompagnate da una guida, un ragazzo di 25 anni che studia scienze ambientali, ovviamente ‘tropicali’, all’università di Suva. Abbiamo iniziato la camminata prima nella foresta, poi piano piano salendo fino ad arrivare fino alle dune. Nel frattempo ci ha spiegato come alcune piante vengono tuttora usate come medicine naturali per disinfettare e curare le ferite, per esempio. Il tratto per arrivare in cima alle dune era ripido, ovviamente sabbioso, e super faticoso da scalare perchè il terreno è mobile. Quindi dopo 5-10 minuti di arrimpicata, mani e piedi, e relative fatica, siamo in cima alle dune. Che vista spettacolare! Da una parte l’oceano con le sue onde maestose, dall’alatra la vegetazione rigogliosa e palme a non finire e in mezzo le maestose dune di sabbia. Dopo tanta fatica, iniziamo la discesa e ci ritroviamo nel campo archeologico dove sono stati ritrovati resti di ossa umane e cocci che testimoniavano che popolazioni avevano abitato il luogo, arrivate da dove, non si sa’ bene ancora.

Epeli, la nostra guida, è stata molto paziente ed ha ascoltato e risposto a tutte le nostre domande sulla colonizzazione Britannica, per esempio. E, quindi, ci ha raccontato di come gli inglesi sia arrivati alle Fiji e abbiano imposto ai locali di coprirsi e vestirsi con un abbigliamento consono per la religion Cristiana, e di come oggi invece i Fijiani siano abbastanza coperti nei loro abiti tradizionali e gli inglesi invece si svestano facilmente per prendere il sole sulle bellissime spiagge fijiane. Insomma, un po’ una contraddizione! abbiamo scambiato esperienze e parlato di usi e costumi nostril, o gli acquisit australiani, e li abbiamo paragonati a quelli fijiani. Di certo la cultura fijiana ci ha meravigliato e appassionato. E’ difficile da spiegare, dovete andarci per capire profondamente che cosa intendo! Per maggiori dettagli sulla storia, la natura e la cultura delle Fiji dovrete chiedere a Epeli!😉 Grazie, o meglio, VINAKA!

3 Comments

    • Grazie Dani!
      Le Fiji sono una bella destinazione, non solo per il posto in sè (stupendo!), ma per la gente! Molto accogliente e sempre sorridente!

  1. Pingback: FIJI Part 3: the Mamanucas Islands & the Coral Coast // FIJI: isole Mamanucas e Coral coast | La Vale and Her World

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