Combining Pleasure with Business in the South Pacific:
It may come as a surprise but one of the cheapest South Pacific commodities is beer, often served in “long necked” half litre bottles. FIJI BITTER
Happy hour is an island institution, and an invitation to a local pub after work for a cool Fiji Bitter will seldom be refused. It’s a great ice breaker. Another low key place to discuss that important deal is on the fairways at the local golf course. Virtually all of the English-speaking towns and cities have golf links with quaint colonial clubhouses, and visitors are usually most welcome. Club and cart hire is available.
If you decide to invite a local contact out to eat, ask someone to suggest a good Chinese restaurant. They’re ubiquitous, inexpensive, and licensed. In Fiji, the Indian restaurants are perfect for lunch, but they tend to close early and don’t usually serve alcohol. An island delicacy is diced raw fish, marinated in coconut cream and lime juice. It’s called kokoda in Fiji, poisson cru in Tahiti, and oka in Samoa.
You should also try to attend a cultural evening while in the islands. In French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, and Samoa, this usually means a floorshow at an upscale resort with frenetic Tamure dancing, slit log drumming, and perhaps fire dancing. In Fiji you might see firewalking, or a meke of ritualized dancing and singing by Fijian villagers. Fiji revolves around the kava bowl, and this muddy liquid served in a half coconut shell is a great social equalizer. Seemingly intractable disputes have been resolved over a couple of bowls of kava.
David Stanley is the author of Moon Handbooks South Pacific. He blogs on South Pacific Travel Blog.