After a few days of enjoying the Fijian culture and hiking through the jungle to see the caves previously used by local tribes in the 1800s, Jake and I decided to do a little driving tour of some of the local sights. We visited the town of Lautoka, went to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant to see all the beautiful orchids, and covered ourselves with mud at the mud pools and hot springs.
Our first stop was the town of Lautoka, where we visited the market. There were not many tourists here, so it gave us the opportunity to see what a normal day in the market in Fiji looks like. We saw the fruit and vegetable stands, the spice stands, and even the “fish room.” It was quite fascinating to see the giant room dedicated to the market. I don’t know if it operates every day at the same level, but there certainly were a lot of merchants there on a Friday morning!
Next, we drove to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, which sits at the base of the Mountain of the Sleeping Giant. In this garden, there are over 200 species of orchids. They are stunning. At every turn you see some new flower you never new existed, all with a backdrop that is positively breathtaking. We saw ponds, walking paths into the hills, and huge clusters of bamboo trees. There was also a little hut at the top of a rock staircase, which looked perfect for ceremonies and special gatherings. Below, a lawn surrounded by lush green and tropical beauties.
Upon finishing our enamoring stroll through the Garden, we continued on to the mud pools. To the people of Fiji, these pools are believed to have healing powers. The guide at the pools told us a story of a man in a wheelchair who was told he had no chance of walking again. He came to the pools in hopes of being healed. Sure enough, after sitting in the believed healing waters of the pools, he stood up, climbed out of the pools, and never used his wheelchair again. I do not know if it was the power of the water or the power of faith, but it was an inspiring story nonetheless. For us, it was a way to recharge after a few very busy days. I probably wouldn’t cover myself in mud again, but the hot springs were quite nice.
After returning from our day of exploring, we decided to take a walk on the beach. We found a little place by the water and had dinner on the sand. We watched the sunset, reflected on our day, and we continue to be in awe of the beauty and culture of this country. Fiji is such a magnificent place, you never know what natural beauty you may stumble upon next.