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I am from Fiji. I love to read and try new things. I am down to earth.
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We had an absolutely amazing time with Vani and her family and friends, a true Fijian experience. So much of the country which most tourists will see is overly westernised and not really authentic, Demerou Island being the main culprit, so make sure you do this to see the true culture of Fiji.
Vani was an excellent host, communicative before our arrival and incredibly warm and welcoming after our arrival. We were shown around the village, introduced to family and friends and shown a side of Fiji that would have been easy to miss as a tourist. We partook in a Kava ceremony and stayed up late into the night exchanging stories and experiences and generally laughing and having a good time. Everyone in the village said hi and waved to us on our tour, the wariness and welcoming nature of Fijians is almost overwhelming. It was a real pleasure and honour to have experienced Cautata, God's City.
I would recommend this listing to those who want to see the real Fiji, enjoy things 'off the beaten track' and approach life with an open mind (just as her listing says).
Bula Vani! I had a really wonderful time at Thautata Village with you, your family and all the nice aunties, cousins and neighbours. I immediately felt at home and I enjoyed the very relaxed way of life at your house. I also relished your cooking and your meals. Shame on me that I didn't watch you do it since I like to cook also. Maybe next time?! Give my regards to the people that showed me around the village and let me experience what village life in Fiji is like. Take care and be sure, if I ever come back to Fiji again, Thautata will be big on my agenda. Vinaka, Hans
This was a really remarkable experience for me! Vani's Mom and all the villagers were so nice and welcoming, it was overwhelming.
This is what you should do to really get to know Fiji and the fijian way of life.
I am really thankful for this experience. Vani's mom cooked many delicious dishes for me, things I never ate before.
This is the place to find some peace and rest, far away from all rush, to get in touch with people and nature. We did an amazing boat trip through the mangroves and ate fresh coconuts.
Vani's family was so friendly and helpful, especially Eleanor who showed me the village.
You just shouldn't be afraid of creepy crawlies and bring a good mosquito repellent ;)
An absolutely an amazing place if you are interested in learning about other cultures. Their life style is incredible but reading about it will not educate you in the way that staying in their village will. You get to experience their everyday life, their food, their problems and their extreme happiness. Their living accommodations are sparse but that is part of their culture which you want to experience. Have someone walk you around the village introducing you to everyone then you will learn many different things. Please participate in any and all community activities which take place while you are there. Do not expect a resort because you will be disappointed. B e prepared to experience unusual meals, but always good. The bath facilities are primitive but quite sufficient.
I enjoyed my stay and from the experience I know that I have changed a few opinions of people who are different from me.
For any traveller who finds the tourist hotel and resort experience, expensive, shallow and lacking in authenticity, you will discover what real, uncut, full bottle, hospitality is all about with Sai at Cautata.
Our trip to, what we understand is the biggest traditional Fijian village in the country, where we stayed with Vani's mother Sai and her extended family was astonishing. And for a number of reasons. As Australians we were virtually the first to have ever visited Cautata (near Nausori town) and the occasion was celebrated, incredibly to us, as a VIP visit. We were invited to visit the school where we had a number of classes sing us songs as well as senior pupils reading prepared statements of touching warmth and sincerity. We were granted an audience with the village Chief who blessed a gift of kava and extended the welcome, expressing how happy their village would be for more Australians and westerners to follow in our footsteps.
We had brought a small gift of story books for the library and after seeing what was available for the students would strongly recommend that future visitors bring primary age books too.
The enthusiasm and infectious sense of humour the whole village shared was something we could all learn from. Clearly, this was no ordinary accommodation but an immersion in a unique culture and society where we learned a great deal about the traditional and contemporary experiences of Fijians who had not embraced the pull of the towns but who'd remained in their village, growing most of their own food and looking after each-other.
The sense of community and connectedness here was something we could hardly believe. A place where there were no gates or fences (no need), cars and motorbikes not permitted (within the village) and all the houses connected by footpaths perpetually traversed by locals who found almost any encounter an opportunity for a joke and a laugh.
Our trip out on the nearby bay with Kamini, Lex and our Sai's delightful niece, companion and guide Elenoa, was supposed to fit with a low tide walk on the sea flats but turned into a spontaneous game of sea rugby when we all jumped overboard, 100s of metres from shore, to jump and swim in chest-deep, warm, tropical water, tossing a full skinned coconut in a keepings-off game of touch which often resulted in the "ball" sinking to our feet and a mad dive to find it.
There is a great deal to be said of this very unusual BNB and, in reality, it is not the place if you are looking for all the modern creature comforts. Water pressure has been an ongoing problem the village is working to fix so, for now, a shower is performed with bowls and buckets. The inside pedestal toilet is flushed with a ready bucket of water.
While there is a large TV in the house, traditional customs prevail so be prepared to sit cross-legged on the woven pandanus mats for dinner as your hosts wait on your needs.
We bought some fresh fish and veges at the nearby town market which was then prepared in a very traditional style by Sai and her relatives who were always just popping by to help and say hello.
This is one destination we can absolutely describe as unforgettable!