Destination: Fiji

World Travel Watch: Protests in Thailand, Dingo Trouble in Australia and More

Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news

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World Travel Watch: Typhoid in Fiji, Khmer Rouge Tourism in Cambodia and More

Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news

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Given the Dire Economy, Should I Travel Overseas This Year?

Vagabonding traveler Rolf Potts answers your questions about travel and the world

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How to Drink Kava in Fiji

How to Drink Kava in Fiji iStockphoto

Laurie Pritchard explains how to properly imbibe with village chiefs, virgins and ancestral spirits

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From Fiji to Kenya, Travel Hot Spots Brace for Global Warming

A ski resort without snow. A scuba club whose coral reefs have succumbed to warmer and stormier seas. A water-guzzling golf resort in a desertifying area. Faced with global warming, the tourism industry must adapt to scenarios like these around the world or risk losing tourists, Elisabeth Rosenthal writes in The New York Times.

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I Have $6,000 For a Trip to Asia and the South Pacific. Any Tips?

Vagabonding traveler Rolf Potts answers your questions about travel

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Surviving the Coup in Fiji

CBS is in the midst of filming another series of “Survivor” shows in Fiji, where a military coup has just occurred. Will the show’s production be affected? Apparently not. It is “Survivor,” after all. A CBS spokesman told the Associated Press: “Our producers on location have been assured by the Fiji military that we are safe on the remote island where we are filming and that our cast and crew will be permitted to leave the country safely when the show wraps production.” If they’re lucky, they might even be able to find a completely ridiculous “I Survived Rebel Coup in Fiji” T-shirt, as I did when I visited the country during a coup in 2000. One tip: Ask one of the cashiers in the shops at Nadi Airport. If your experience is like mine, they’ll quietly pull the T-shirts out of the back—contraband, apparently—and sell them for cash only. I still wear mine—the front is pictured above—with pride.

Photo by Jim Benning.


Seven Travel Stories to Tell Before You Die

I’ve never been too enamored of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die approach to travel—or at least the approach that the title of the book suggests. Among other things, it emphasizes quantity over quality. But the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Flinn has offered a modest alternative checklist that I can get behind: seven travel stories you should be able to tell before you die. It puts the emphasis where it belongs, I think: on experiences and stories. Flinn just concluded a series of columns exploring the seven stories he believes are essential for every traveler, and he recounted his own version of each. “Go ahead and visit every one of those ‘1000 Places to See Before You Die,’ as catalogued in the best-selling book,” he wrote. “But spare your friends the description of the Taj Mahal. Yes, it’s beautiful. And, yes, of course, the Great Barrier Reef is awesome. Everybody knows this. And we don’t need to hear about the seventh hole at Pebble Beach. What we want to hear are stories.”

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‘Getting Stoned With Savages’: The Adventures of Flip-Flop Man in Vanuatu and Fiji

In J. Maarten Troost's new book, he again flees Washington D.C. for a life on the islands of the South Pacific. Kristin Van Tassel reviews his foray into the world of volcanoes, sharks, hookers and kava.

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“It’s Really Not That Dangerous Out There”

The San Francisco Chronicle’s John Flinn enjoys perusing the travel-gadget catalogs loaded with items to keep you safe: shirts with secret pockets, siren alarms for your hotel room, germ-fighting airline seat covers. “These catalogs are fun to peruse (and even more fun to make fun of),” he writes in Sunday’s paper, “but I worry about two things: that they foster paranoia in novice travelers, and that they perpetuate the notion that safety and security comes mainly from buying—and lugging along—the right gadgets. Experienced travelers know this, but to those of you just getting started: It’s really not that dangerous out there.” I agree wholeheartedly.

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Planet Theme Park: “Disneyland on the Ganges”

Bye-bye Mickey, Minnie and Donald. Welcome Ram, Hanuman and Krishna! The latter trio will be the central attractions at Gangadham, the world’s first Hindu theme park. The BBC reports that the 25-acre theme park will open in 2007 on the banks of the Ganges, in the north Indian pilgrimage town of Haridwar. “If the project takes off, it will move on to an international level,” writes Kathleen McCaul. “The plan is to open parks in Trinidad, Bali, Fiji and Thailand - and perhaps even Orlando, Los Angeles and London.”


Celebrity Travel Watch: Mel Gibson

In our ongoing yet admittedly lackluster effort to track the travel habits of the rich and famous, we bring news that actor-director Mel Gibson has purchased a Fijian island for use as a “private getaway.” It looks as if Gibson got taken for a ride, though. While he apparently paid $15 million for the island, a Fijian tribe says the land was previously sold for 2,000 coconut plants. We’re no coconut farmers, but you could buy a lot of coconut plants for $15 million. But seriously, the real problem is that, although Gibson bought the island from a Japanese company and the purchase has been approved by Fijian authorities, a Fijian tribe insists the island belongs to them. They’re planning a fight.


“Here, It Was Just Us, the Huts, and the Sea”

Denise Fainberg had visions of paradise when she set off for a small Fijian island. But after she arrived, a hurricane developed. Then she began to fear for her safety, and paradise didn’t seem so idyllic. “Why, oh why, hadn’t I been content just to go somewhere like Cape Cod?” she writes in Sunday’s New York Times. “Why had I been seduced by the romantic idea of a South Pacific island? But this was foolishness; I’d experienced hurricanes on the Cape. Still, it had seemed different with a sturdy roof over one’s head and all America’s rescue systems in the background. Here, it was just us, the huts and the sea.”


Surviving Paradise

Visiting Fiji in the midst of a coup, Jim Benning stumbles over the line that divides stimulating anxiety from real fear. He has the T-shirt to prove it.

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