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Oceania » Fiji » Mamanuca Islands » Mana Island
September 16th 2011
Published: September 16th 2011
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KavaKavaKava

Chief Dave introduces us to the local tipple.
After a stressful last 24 hours in the UK realising we need visas for a 7 hour stopover in the US, trying desperately to decide how many bikinis to take and what factor suncream, we made it to the airport and on that plane for our big trip.

About 3 days later (approx, who knows!) we landed in Nadi and get ourselves on the first boat of the day to an island, Mana being our first stop. We had to let go of our organised laywer selves and embraced 'Fiji Time', where any time could be +/- a few hours. We were initially excited by our 'private boat' to the island but this soon diminished when we all turned various shades of green.

Okay, imagine a holiday brochure with perfectly clear turquoise waters and white sand and you think "that's been digitally enhanced" - well that's exactly what a Fijian island looks like! An afternoon of rain gave us the perfect excuse to catch up on sleep. We spent the next 2 days learning the Bula Dance (definitely one to whip out at home), drinking Kava (no not the delightful sparkling tipple we imagined but bowls of muddy water that makes you fell rather peculiar), losing to the locals at volleyball, learning to break into coconuts and lounging in the crystal waters. Not a bad start really.

Our next island was in the Blue Lagoon and was quite possibly even more beautiful. The living arrangements were quite a shock and broke us into proper 'travellers' - insect friendly huts to sleep in, outdoor toilet huts, no hot water and a few hours of electricity a day. And guess what, Mum, I survived! And even liked the 'back to basics' style (a bit).

We filled our time here with plenty of activities. On the first day, a Sunday, we attended the loacl village's Fathers day church service which we spent most of waving at the adorable little children who were amazed by us (probably never seen two gingers before). A family brought us back to their home for lunch - we were so humbled by how welcoming they were and generously feeding us with fish caught by the dad that day. That afternoon we were joined by a friend from uni (the world really is that small) and set off snorkelling over coral reef swarming with colourful fish which didn't cease to excite us even on the 15th spot. On a slightly more adventurous whim, we decided to go caving. It wasn't quite like the Lake District's offerings and involved diving underwater and swimming a few meters under rock into a huge, pitch black, limestone cave. Good fun all round.

A beautiful sunset later, with a few rounds of Kava in our tummies (thanks to chief Tona and her 'Taki' calls) we had another early night (lights out at 10) on our final night at lovely Nabua Lodge. We then set off to our final island, Beachcomber, which we'd heard was Fiji's party island. Perfect timing for Jess's birthday. We met two more friends here to create our own little party. Lethal cocktails, Bula dancing, ring of fire and a 20-plus-a-whole-3 of birthday excitement --> cue every cheesy birthday party island antics, including swimming in the sea, climbing on a boat, jumping of the boat, finding a salt water pool under stars before re-hitting the dancefloor. Not one to forget in a hurry, Forster.

Our final day of Fiji Time was spent recovering and soaking up every last minute in the glorious sunshine. And to all those doubters, yes I DID get a tan, and a few more freckles. Watch out Tona, me and Jess are catching up.

Leaving Fiji the next morning felt very strange - I can't believe stop one of the trip is over already. But at the same time I feel like I've been away forever.

We're now in Auckland, New Zealand and LOVING hot showers, real tea and hairdryers (can take the girls out of Essex...). We've been tracking down some green white and gold face paints, Irish flags and misc fancy dress in preparation for the rugby on Saturday. Let the rugby mania begin!

Love to all at home xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


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Yes, tea and cake on a remote Fijian island...


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