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Welcome to "What Everyone's Buying," a new series on souvenirs, wherein we investigate what tourist trinkets are the hottest selling in hotspots around the world.
After a few days, or even a week, on any of the islands of Fiji tourists leave with stellar suntans and big smiles on their faces from saying "bula!" all over the island. But the souvenir that your friends and family really want is the traditional masi, or tapa cloth seen all around Fiji.
Back to souvenir size, the tapa cloth is made from mulberry tree bark which, after being peeled in long strips from the tree, is scraped away from the inner fibers and then dried, soaked and pounded until they become wide and very flexible. Then the strips are felted together to create a cloth ready to be adorned with home-made dyes hued from red-clay, burned nuts and bark. The pattern is created from a wood carving which is painted and then stamped on the tapa.