Kava on Fiji
The pounding drums. The tattooed natives. The coconut-size “shot glasses.” A Fijian kava ceremony makes you question whether to take a photo or run for your life. The answer is neither. Show some respect. While it’s no lychee martini, the bitter and potent juice of the kava root connects the scattered tribes of Fiji’s 300 archipelagos.
At its Best: You’d traditionally arrive with kava as a respectful gift to the chief. You’ll hear the root being pounded all afternoon into something remotely quaffable. By sunset each bowl is ceremoniously poured by the chief. But you’re on vacation. Let your resort pre-package the respect and rites so you can concentrate on swallowing the stuff.
You’re a Tourist if You: Sip it. Kava is a shot, supersized. Knock it down, baby. Clap your hands once (cupped palms for a hollow sound) before downing the wicked root juice. Then clap three more times and say “Maca!” This lets the chief know you took it like a man. (Ladies, feel free to ask for a “low-tide” serving.) All this clapping and posturing helps distract from the fact that kava tastes like peppery puddle water and makes your worries (and tongue) sail off into the sunset.
By Nathan Myers