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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fiji: Historic Levuka

Woke up early to take a 10-seater from Suva to Levuka on the island of Ovalau.  Levuka was the first capital of Fiji before it was moved to Suva.  It was rainy day and so I experimented with sepia shots.  As expected, Levuka is a sleepy slow-paced town with friendly people of all ethnic groups - Fijian, Indians, Chinese and mixed blood Fijians of all kinds.  It's quite pretty with dramatic lush mountain backdrop.  I read that the Fijians are applying for UNESCO World Heritage status for Levuka.

I also dropped by Mary Lodge run by Elmosi Yew Shaw, father of Suzie Yew Shaw, who runs Colonial Lodge in Suva where I stayed for 3 nights.  Had a nice chat about his ancestral roots.  He is half-Chinese and has a Fijian mother.  His father was born in Guangdong Province, China, moved to Fiji in early 1930s.  He married a native Fijian woman and had 3 children; he also had 3 children by a wife who lived in China.  This is a familiar Overseas Chinese story heard also in Singapore and all over the world.

I had great roast chicken for lunch at a Chinese-run restaurant, Kim's Paak Kum Loong, and spent much time reading a wonderful book about the heritage of Levuka.  I was intrigued by the early efforts of Fijian chiefs to form the Kingdom of Fiji, which failed due to conflicts among Fijian chiefs as well as the European businesses backing them, and they were eventually forced to request the British Empire to annex Fiji to protect the interests of native Fijians.  Reminded me of other failed modernisation efforts in Hawaii, Burma and Madagascar.

Now at Nadi waiting for 1:45am flight to Apia, Samoa.

Posted via email from Nomadic Republic2

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