Published: September 11th 2007September 7th 2007
Welcome to Waya
The Fijian Beatles
Bula, Bula from Fiji.
Arrived at Nadi airport and got greeted by our guesthouse manager, Mark, who offered us a taster of the great attitude and fun character we later came to expect from the Fijian people. Our Guest house was basic but decent enough for catching some sleep.
Spent the following day exploring Nadi town centre and the beach. Would be a severe stretch of the imagination to say it is a premium beach! Decided to head over to Suva city for a couple of days, which turned out to be harder to achieve than expected. After much haggling and hassles we managed to negotiate a taxi ride, which was bizzare becuase the driver randomly picked up other passengers on the way! 4 hours (and 5 passengers) later we arrived at the Raintree Lodge in Suva. The lodge is set on the edge of a rainforest and boasts amazing jungle and lake activities. It BOASTS these actvities, and thats where it ends!! Made the best if it and went for some unguided treks into the rainforest. Note to self: Don't go into rainforest unguided again!! Decided it was time to experience the famous Fiji island hopping life and
Lucy and her new friend
Adoption papers at the ready!
so returned back to Nadi to book some tickets.
For the return journey we opted for the bus. Another Note to self: Don't get the bus from Suva to Nadi again!! Next day we set out on our island hopping tour of the Western islands of Fiji. We booked a 14 day "Bula Pass" which gave us unlimited boat trips around the islands and a free night on the "Wanataki cruise" (more on that later). It works like this; you catch the "big boat" which cruises around the area, and when you get to your destination island a smaller boat comes and picks you up from the big boat. Sounds Simple! SOUNDS simple!! After totally missing our first intended island, we quickly had to re-evaluate our plan and headed for Waya Island! Waya Island - Sunset Resort
Got greeted at the "Sunset Resort" by a 4 piece guitar band singing a Fijian welcome song. Checked into our little bungalow and prepared ourself for the difficult task of lazing on a perfect beach all day! It was hard, but sometimes you've just got to club together and cope with these problems. The evening was spent around a
This view had better be worth it!
bonfire drinking Rum and coke and attempting to learn Fijian songs. On our second day we ventured out on a mountain trek of the island, and got rewarded with amazing views of the surrounding area. On the second evening we were treated to a traditional fire dancing show. This was quite amusing as one of the dancers was clearly a rookie and kept burning himself! Our next destination was Naviti Island. Naviti Island - Coconut Bay resort
Arrived at Coconut resort and met up with a couple from Devon (Hannah and Neil), who we adopted as our new beach buddies! Spent the first day pretty much just chilling and chatting on the beach. The evening entertainment consisted of the locals attempting several Fijian dances. I say attempted, as they were hilariously bad and clearly didn't enjoy doing it. The standard of dancing improved when we were asked to join in for a "Bula Dance". This is suspiciously similar to the Macarana Dance, and I became convinced that the locals were fully aware of this, and even got a giggle out of it! The entertainment was completed with a Limbo competition, which, for anyone who knows me well,
After falling into obscurity, Lassie contemplated suicide!
is NOT a natural talent of mine! Lucy did ok(ish) while I failed at pretty much the first height! Second day was another day of doing nothing and soaking up the sunshine. After dinner, it quickly became clear that the entertainment was going to be absolutley identical to the previous night. So we slipt away to try another resort bar further down the beach. Got an early night as we had a hard day of doing nothing again to come. Nanuya Lai Lai - Gold Coast Resort
Arrived at the island and got greeted by the wonderful "Debora". How can i describe Debora?.... The name, as well as the cloths and hair, was certainly that of a woman, but the handshake, huge arms and 2 day stubble definatley belonged to a man. The result was something like a cross between Frank Bruno and Tina Turner!!! Debora, however, turned out to be the most wonderful host and really spoilt us during our stay.
The beach near our resort, was pretty crappy so we headed out on a 20 minute walk to the other side of the island and the "Blue Lagoon" beach. Some people might be interested
to find out that this was the location for the 80s remake film starring Brooke Shields. On the other hand, you might not care on the account of the film being totally crap! The Lagoon really is fantastic with a perfect beach and amazing calm waters. We found out that the actual resort on this side of the island was somthing like $2000 per night. This was marginally outside our budget...
On the second day we did exactly the same, and headed over to the Lagoon. An extra bonus this time as that Debora offered to bring our Lunch to us on the beach. Some of the people stopping at the expensive resort had been looking down there arrogant noses at us. So when our Lunch turned up by boat, we were pretty pleased to rub there noses in it!
The Next day (sunday) we were set to go to the Village to experience a Fijian church and meet the village chief. Sadly, I was feeling ill and had to miss out. Lucy still went with Hannah and Neil so she can report about it.
[LUCY] To reach the village we had to go by boat so
we donned our Sunday best and set sail. After exploring the village we attended the local church service. The music was beautiful gospel singing and the service was in Fijian, this was fine until one of the older members of the congregation got up to do his turn. This went on for so long even the preacher was falling asleep so you can imagine how we felt when we couldn't understand a dickie bird. After the service we were treated to lunch with chief of the village. The home he lived in with his five kids was a modest one roomed house which shared an outside bathroom with several other houses. They had cooked up our delicious grub on a camp stove and had no electricity. To make money he caught fish and sold coconuts. But he was one of the happiest people I have ever met- think we get our priorities a bit mixed up at home sometimes. Despite the basic surroundings his mobile phone still went off half way though dinner blasting out the bloody Nokia tune - not quite sure how he charged it up though! [LUCY]
Next morning we went off on a "Cave Trip".
Dan and Nick
Shoulder rides 2 dollar!!
The Caves themselves were pretty dissapointing, but the comedy of the boat ride made up for it! On the way back the boat ran out of petrol! Lucy and I found it hilarious while the rest of the group were panicking ang being way over-dramatic. One person literally believed we were going to die like in that "Adrift" movie. Talk about drama queen. Waya Lai Lai - Eco Haven Resort
Arrived at Waya Lai Lai to a fantastic beach greeting including a choir type welcome song and a big hug off all the staff. After checking in, we were offered the chance to go on a sunset mountain trek. Eager-beavers that we are, we relished the opportunity. The Guide assured us that it was a only an easy light walk and wouldn't take too long. He lied...The trek was very heavy going, but the resulting panoramic views and sunet made it all worth while. We hung around the top of the mountain soaking it all in for a while, and then began to make our way back down. If the trip up was hard work, the trip down was insane. As the Sun disappered, it got gradually
Stars in your eyes!
darker until we were eventually walking in total darkness with just a lantern for light!! It was like a scene out of Lord of the Rings or something! Happy to report that we made it down in one piece. The evening entertainment was dancing (again!). The next morning we had organised a snorkelling trip....with sharks!! Don't worry, it's only placid reef sharks not the great whites from Jaws.
After lunch we went on a village culture trip at the the other side of the island. This included a visit to the local school and a walk through the village and quick history lessons. We were really impressed with the school and how modern and legitimate it felt. Wanataki Cruise
As Part of our ticket we got a free nights accomodation on the "Wanataki Cruise" ship. Never being ones to look a gift horse in the mouth, we took up the offer. Arrived on the boat at about midday and had a great BBQ lunch. Then we got asked if we wanted to go snorkling with Giant Manta Rays (less dangerous cousin of stingrays). This turned out to be brilliant. The rays are absolutley massive - some
Waya Lai Lai
What a welcome
up to 15 foot across - and we got a good look at about 3 or 4 of them. The rest of our time on the cruise was spent relaxing and eating! South Sea Cruise
On our last day in fiji we took a cruise around some of the islands we hadn't got the chance to visit properly. The highlight was South Sea island, which is a tiny island that you can walk around in 3 minutes. Didn't actually get to spend time on the other islands, but at least we can say we saw them.
And well, thats pretty much it from Fiji. Although its pricey, Fiji is a perfect chill out location. The people are unbelievably laid back and friendly and some of the islands are like paradise. You could easily loose years of your life in Fiji without even realising it!
Just one more Blog Destination left before its home sweet home (booooooo!)
Bye for now
Dan and Lucy
There are more photos below