Bula (hello) from Fiji...
We arrived in Fiji early on Sunday morning after loosing Saturday to the international date line. (We took off on Sat at 00:35 and arrived on Sunday at 05:00 !!!)
We were greeted by a local band playing in the airport, which was lovely.
Our chosen hotel/hostel in Nadi was great (Nadi Bay Hotel). We used the tour desk there to book our island hopping trip to the Yasawas Islands (Fiji consists of over 350 islands, we were just visiting 2 of them!)
Our first experience of local culture occured when we took a trip to the nearest town. Minding our own business we were collared by a local guy called Knox, who took us to his shop (although we were a little concerned about where he was taking us!)
When we arrived at his shop (which was small and empty) he invited us to sit on a mat at the back of his shop, where he introduced us to the national drink; Kava. He proceeded to take us through a welcome ceremony which involved us drinking this gross liquid made from the root of a type of pepper plant, it actually tasted (and looked like) dirty washing up water! It acts as a mild anesthetic and makes your tongue go a bit numb! We were just glad to get out alive...and left the shop carrying cheap, unwanted souveneirs!
We set off for the islands early Monday morning on a Catamaran. We had booked four nights at two seperate islands. It took us 6 hours to get to our first destination, we passed many beautiful islands on the way, they all looked like paradise. A small boat took us from the catamaran to our first island.
When we arrived at Sunrise resort we were greeted by Queen (our host). He was an extremely colourful character, slightly camp to say the least and great fun. During our stay he sang to us and told us stories about when he worked at nearby Turtle island, which is where the celebrities take their holidays! He met Oprah Winfrey there and she even flew him out to the USA (which we heard all about!).
After lunch we were given the keys to our Bure, it was just feet away from the sea, with its own double hammock. Lucy was close to tears when she saw it, it was just so perfect.
That afternoon we took a walk along the beach to Lo's Tea House, where we sat down to tea and CAKE! Yummy, it doesn't get much better than this!
Then the rains came..for most of the evening and all through the night, torrential!
The resort was very basic and it felt like a Fijian village, We had cold water showers and electricity for only a couple of hours a day. There were about 15 other backpackers there and we all sat together for our meals when the bell rang. We met people from Brazil, America, Austraila and Sweden..it was a nice atmosphere.
On Tuesday morning we walked across the island to the Blue Lagoon Resort (as in the film). We went snorkling in the crystal clear waters that were teeming with fish and corals.
Our last evening at Sunrise was spent playing bingo with Queen as our caller. We sat round a camp fire on the beach, it was a lovely moon lit evening.
We were off to Octopus Resort on Wednesday. The boat picked us up early afternoon in the pouring rain. We were greeted by singing on the beach and shown to our next Bure, which was fantastic.. a bit more luxurious than the last place and very romantic, shame it was still raining. We enjoyed our first warm shower for three days.
After non stop rain we woke on Thursday to sunshine and visited the local village, which was located on the other side of the island. We met the kids at the Kindergarten who sang for us and showed off their rugby skills. The woman laid out local crafts and as we were leaving the village, we were invited to lunch with Tomasi, a local villager who wanted a favour! We ate bread fruit and sardines with the family, sat on the floor of their home (which was a small shack) and then drank black tea. He asked us to write a letter to a friend in Switzerland to tell her of the death of his mother, we were happy to help and told Tomasi that we would send the letter off when we arrived in Oz.
That evening we met a lovely family at dinner from New Zealand, Pete, Ruth and their two boys. They told us about NZ and some of the fantastic places we should visit. We teamed up to take part in a quiz that night which was a lot of fun, unfortunatly we came last!
We returned to Nadi bay resort on the mainland on Friday eve to spend our last night in Fiji.
It has been a relaxing week. We have met lots of people from all over the world and been treated to Fijian hospitality. They are really friendly people. The beaches are out of this world, white sand, clear turquoise waters and a backdrop of palmtrees..we would recommend to anyone.