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November 13th 2015
Published: November 22nd 2015
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Welcome to FijiWelcome to FijiWelcome to Fiji

Couldn't resist. These bottles were everywhere.
I wasn't sure how quickly I'd want to start journaling again, but after fewer than four hours on Ono Island, I've already received quite an impression, not to mention every opportunity anyone could ask for to reflect and slow things down. The 35 hour travel bender started Wednesday at 6am, proceeded with a 9 hour sampler of Los Angeles' King's Hawaiian BBQ and Hermosa beach, an 11 hour flight into Suva, and a 6 hour layover before our final flight into Kadavu.

The 15 passenger plane, occupied by 3 locals, 2 pilots, mango, and me, looked sturdy enough at first glance, and reminded me of the same plane I took from Kathmandu to Lukla (thought I told Mango I took a similar plane from Seattle to Vancouver. Not long after that thought, were told due to technical difficulties our plane would be delayed for "about two minutes, maybe four." The cabin wreaked of gasoline... Both pilots held each other's forearms as they pressed the throttled to the max. Then, moments after releasing the brake we shot straight into the air. The flight was loud, but mostly uneventful. 45 minutes later we were on final approach to Kadavu. The water so
Boat to Ono IslandBoat to Ono IslandBoat to Ono Island

Easiest airport transfer ever
blue and clear, you could easily make out coral formations and depths from above. The landing was hairy, but we made it. We leapt out of the plane and onto the tarmac.

After relieving our stress in the WC, our bags were already being handled by a nice local man and his two kids. We were immediately the daily happening in the local Kadavu village. We followed their lead and rolled our bags over a dirt path that ran perpendicular to the runway, parallel to a beach. After a few minutes, the kids threw our bags over their head and slid down a rocky slope to the beach. We followed, though much clumsier than the locals. With our bags still on their heads, and without pausing, they ran into the water and toward a 15 foot aluminum-framed boat. I slide off my sandals, Mango took off her Adidas running shoes, and followed at a distance.

Chobit, the boat's captain, welcomed us aboard, and explained he'd be driving us for about an hour to Ono Island, where we'd be staying for the next week. We threw our bags under a tarp, Mango donned a complimentary rain jacket, and we powered through the perfectly clear, at times electric blue, at other times deep blue, but always transparent water. Although we were retracing some of the path we took with the plane, the view was much sweeter from the boat. It was also much more immersive.

The island was a bit ethereal- though it could've been the self-induced jet-stupor - with various types of trees (coniferous, palms, and lush deciduous) peppered around the slopes, it was nearly impossible to rationalize why a certain tree was in any particular place. But aesthetically it worked. My first Fiji lesson?

Arriving at our hotel turned out to be yet another "Where am I" moment. As Chobit pulled the boat toward shore, prodding the sea floor with a long wooden pole to get us closer during low tide, we were greeted by Ma, a cheery young Fijian who works at the Resort. My first impression was that this place looked understated. Quickly after that thought, I noticed the Resort was very, very quiet. As it turns out, we are their only guests for a few days. Can you imagine!? We're on a secluded island off of a secluded island, off of Fiji, where a chef cooks us locally grown food, there's a dive operation, and we have the place to ourselves!? I guess, then, it doesn't really matter then that our Bure is about six steps from the ocean, overlooking the great Astrolabe Reef? We could sit anywhere, stay anywhere, sleep anywhere, and there's noone around to disturb our access to the ocean anyhow. But no matter, I'll take the Bure!

Sunset was right around 7 and this place is starting to take on a similar feeling to being on the Mount Everest Base Camp Trek, where noone but the hotelier, his wife, Buddhi, and I would sit around a large, empty-feeling open space schmoozing about doesn't-really-matter. Maybe it's that we don't have the option for cell or wifi? Maybe it's the natural life pace things? Or maybe because I'm feeling like this is about to be one amazing adventure!


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