Published: August 6th 2007April 30th 2007
We arrived in Nadi on the 30th (pronounced Nandi) to blistering heat and four men in Hula skirts singing and strumming on their guitars as a greeting.
Coming from New Zealand, we were used to efficiency and organization... It came as a bit of a shock when we were hurried into a "free" minibus to the town centre - which actually turned out to be a privately owned van for customers of a particular hostel! We were bombarded the whole way to the hostel with offers of various trips we could take to the nearby islands - Commission is obviously huge judging by the eagerness!
After escaping the extremely persistent hostel worker, we enjoyed our first (of many) Fijian curries. 49% of Fiji's population is Indo-Fijian, hence the abundance of curry houses. When we got back to the hostel, there was a bowl of Kava* waiting for us with a 3 week itinerary planned for us - this guy really didn't get our hints!! Luckily, he wasn't working a 36 hour shift, so when we woke the next day he was gone!
*Kava is a drink made from roots of a plant grown in the Pacific Islands. It
is non alcoholic, however is a narcotic and leaves your mouth feeling numb! If you drink enough it is supposed to make you hallucinate - we only had one bowl so can't comment on this! Kava is drank throughout Fiji and adds to the slow pace of life!
The following day, we (surprisingly) moved hostels, around the corner, to a place with a pool and a less harassing atmosphere (for the same price!). After dropping off our bags, we visited the Sri Siva Subramaniya Savami temple. A brilliantly coloured famous Hindu temple, that many Hindus travel from afar to visit. The temple is a great contrast to the run down Nadi and was a real experience. Following advice from the local caretaker, we walked around the main temple 3 times, a smaller temple 3 times and an important tree 7 times. This was supposed to bring us good luck and has served us well so far!
After visiting the temple we tried, with very little success, to contact some hostels on the Islands of the Yasawa group. The lack of success was due in part to our 4 year old guide book (didn't realise at the time we
bought it) and the rubbish payphones! Eventually we got through to one hostel, whose owner agreed to meet us that night. Nadi is overrun with tourist touts and nearby Denerau is the main port where boats leave from. Lots of tourists head for the Mamanuca and Yasawa Island groups.
Adi (again, pronounced Andi) of Adi's place met us at 7pm in our hostel reception, much to the disgust of the staff (everywhere in Nadi tries to recruit for "tours of the Islands" - even internet cafes). We paid for three nights at her place and were given instructions on how to get there. We spent the rest of the evening playing pool with some local Fijians.
There are more photos below