The Fiji Islands are located in the South Pacific Ocean approximately latitude 18° south and longitude 178° east spreading across the dateline. The time zone that Fiji is located in is named “Fiji Time” (FJT). The standard difference to the coordinated world time is 12 hours (UTC+12). The time in Fiji right now is:
Read On, There Is More To Fiji Time!!
It should come as no surprise that time seems not particularly important in the South Sea islands and that time passes more slowly. Serenity, inner peace and always having time are part of the attitude to life on the islands. That is still true today, at least in the rural areas, in the villages of the locals, and on the remote islands.
In Fiji’s big cities on the main island, however, the rush has already set in and the idea “time is money” rules more and more people. That is actually a pity because having time and living into the day is what has shaped the culture in the South Seas.
What Is Fiji Time? Time to Relax!
When people hear the phrase “Fiji time,” most of them think about time zones or things like that. However, while Fiji time does have something to do with time, it’s not in the way that you think of it. Fiji time is not a number on a clock; it’s an attitude that the islanders have on life. For westerners, Fiji time is something that might drive them insane. However, once embraced, it will remind you of life values that you might have forgotten in the hectic modern life.
Defining Fiji Time
You will come across the term “Fiji time” very often when you are in Fiji. But not in the sense of the time zone but in the attitude towards life, Fiji time is a notion. It is a belief that everything will sort itself out eventually (and not even then). They focus on frugality and serenity, not allowing themselves to be bothered by something as flitting as time.
When it comes to Fiji time, there is no such thing as being late. For instance, if you are late for a meeting or don’t make it in time somewhere, any place (work or personal life), you won’t be chastised like in our modern society. Instead, you’ll likely be accompanied by a chuckle and allowed to move on.
If you think of the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”… well, that sums things up just about right. Fiji islanders don’t let things such as the notion of time worry them, and while they do try to stick to a schedule, they won’t let it get to them if they do not make it. They are in no rush to stick to a crazy schedule because they believe that life should be enjoyed, not rushed through.
How Fiji Time Can Make You Feel
If you are a westerner going to Fiji, it might feel unnerving at first – especially if you like to stick to a schedule. Depending on how precise you like to be with your time, you might even find it difficult to adjust. You’ll likely be annoyed at the fact that people are not always on time, and that getting served may take more than a couple of minutes.
With that in mind, once you get the hang of it, you’ll see things from a different perspective – and you’ll even start relaxing. If you are on a vacation, you might enjoy this from the very beginning.
However, if you are there on business and are tied to a strict schedule, it might drive you a bit insane. This is why international business and Fiji time do not see eye to eye. It is very likely that the only moment you’ll need to be on time is to board the plane home.
How Fiji Time May Affect Your Trip
If you are a westerner going to Fiji, you might stumble across some bumps on the road. However, if you are aware of how you might be affected, you can also find a way to adjust and work around it. Here is how Fiji time might put a dent in your plans:
1. Organizing Your Time for Something
Let’s say that you arrange to meet up with a local, or to be picked up by a local. You will indeed set a time, but you can safely expect that the meeting will happen later than you planned.
This could be anything from 10 minutes to a full hour. Resorts are the only ones that are slightly different, as the activities there are very kept on schedule. However, if your plans involve local people, prepare Fiji time to join along.
2. When Asking How Long Something Will Take
If you go to a local and ask them how long you believe an activity will take, or how long until you get to a certain destination, the chances are that you’ll see the question mark on their face, telling you to chill.
A great example is if you are standing at the bus stop and asking someone when the bus is coming. The answer will often be “soon”. When you then after 20 minutes of waiting you ask where the bus is, the answer might just be, it’s coming soon…
3. Doing Things Takes Time
Let’s say that you made yourself a schedule for your time in Fiji and expect to get things done fast – or well, at your average pace. However, things in Fiji go a bit at a slower pace.
You’ll find people shuffling down the street totally relaxed and seemingly in no hurry. if the people meet someone then there is always time for a short chat to ask where are you going what are you doing. If two people meet then the next sentence after the greeting is the question “I vei?”
You can also expect the lines at the supermarket or hotel check-out to be slow.
4. The Itinerary of a Tour May Change
Most of us might like to know our itinerary is always on time, with the order of everything fully respected. However, if you add Fiji time in the mix, you may safely assume that things might change en-route.
The thing is that these itinerary changes don’t even have to do with the laid-back, relaxed attitude of the islanders – it mostly has to do with the whims of the Fiji weather. When the itinerary changes, it usually happens for a reason, and Fiji folk don’t even think twice about it. So, ditch the itinerary, lay back, and enjoy what’s coming your way.
Enjoying the Fiji Life
“When in Rome, do as the Romans do” – the same thing applies to Fiji. Very often, Fiji seems to be working on a different timeframe – even though, technically speaking, their days also last 24 hours. The best way to get anything done here is to adopt the same mentality as the Fiji folk.
People in Fiji have always lived this way, and there’s a good chance they won’t change much in the future. People here prefer to leave their stress behind, which is why they do not want to adopt the crazy pace of the rest of the world. Perhaps this is why so many people prefer going to Fiji on vacation in favor of other destinations – there’s no rush, and as a result, people can enjoy every moment of life.
In the beginning, Fiji time is annoying for the visitor who comes to the island for a few weeks vacation, in retrospect it seems valuable and worth remembering.
In the South Pacific, there is a saying “the coconut falls when it is ripe”. That says a lot about the way people live. Rest and be patient, tomorrow is another day.
And above all: it is useless to get upset about it. The islanders mostly respond to western agitation with a friendly smile – but they do not change the slow pace.
More to read:
The Concept of Fiji Time: tandfonline.com/…4