Bula Bula!

When I first arrived in Fiji I was immediately greeted with a bowl of Kava and a loud joyous greeting of Bula Bula! In Israel they say Shalom. In Hawaii it's Aloha. But in Fiji it's Bula Bula! Bula originates from the Fijian culture and means anything from hello, goodbye, welcome, love and more. It means LIFE. A blessing of health and happiness.

Years before kava was popularized and available as a standardized extract in Canada, I experienced the kava ceremony in Fiji, which is unique and wonderful. This involves a customary drink from a bowl or coconut shell of what looks and tastes like “dirty dish water”. But after a couple of “swigs”, the effect is very pleasant and adds to the social tranquility and peacefulness of the Polynesian experience.

Native Fijians also love ganja and believe me, this is no understatement. The morning after my first night in Suva on the main island of Viti Levu, I arose early in the morning to begin my adventure. On the front lawn of the small motel where I was lodging, already gathered, was a circle of native Fijian men sitting down beside each other in lotus position sharing stories and conversation. What I noticed also, besides an enormous amount of laughter and white teeth, was that they were all sharing huge tokes of what they called "chimbi" otherwise known as cannabis.

When ganja is mixed with Kava the effect is a combination of both stimulation and relaxation. The natives make their potion by pounding the roots of mature kava, adding water, and then straining the liquid. I recall a numbing effect around my teeth and gums, as I responded to the beautiful native smiles of the local people and of course the local tradition of sharing the love.

Kava has a sedative effect and is a good muscle relaxant, causing tense or spastic muscles to “mellow out” and loosen up. Kavalactones exhibit analgesic effects, and protect the brain against damage associated with cerebral ischemia. In conjunction with homeopathic remedies, kava can also be useful to alleviate pre-competition nervousness and stage fright. 200-400mg of a standardized extract, providing a minimum of 45-55% kavalactones is recommended per dosage.

Early one morning I met a fisherman on the docks who invited me to go fishing with him. Turns out he was 95 with ten children. He didn’t know who the US President was and didn’t care. He literally lived in a grass hut on a beach. The simplicity of his life was beyond description and he wouldn't take a dime. Said he had no need for money.

I spent three days with this man and it seemed like forever and a day. He was calm, peaceful and very funny. Never saw anyone smile and laugh so much. But he was a hard worker and very strong. No body fat whatsoever. Everything we did was manual. No engine. No machines. No pollution.

At night we made a fire, talked about life, his family and mine and the “old ways” and slept on the beach under the stars. I lost track of time.

We used oars to power the outrigger and fished for barracuda in the morning as the sun came up, using a simple pole and line method. We ate the fish right in the boat with salt and lime. To this we added some taro root and papaya. It was absolutely delicious and of course, this is the very best way to eat, fresh and clean from a pure environment.

In Fiji they say “Bula Bula” and they really mean it! “Welcome my friends. Enjoy life to the fullest!”

Photo by Giuseppe Mondì from Burst

As always, stay well and live free!