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Published: October 22nd 2013
My buddy Dimes and I with yet another well deserved beer.
My very first overseas trip! Had absolutely no idea what to expect and since Nadi is only a three hour flight from Brisbane, in a way it didn't feel like much of an overseas trip. That changed once we landed though. As we walked down the steps I was struck by the extreme humidity. The next thing I noticed was that all of the airport workers were dressed in shorts and very loud Hawaiian style shirts. I thought this was maybe because they were all working outside but once we hit the terminal, everyone inside was dressed exactly the same way!
My friend Dimes and I made our way to passport control where this enormous man who could have crushed my windpipe with a gentle swat of his hand took my passport and proceeded to intently study it for what felt like an hour but couldn't have been more than 30 seconds. Since this was my very first time going through this, I begun to get a little nervous. But he eventually crushed my very first stamp into my passport with his giant paw, and I was officially in Fiji!
The place we were staying was on the main
Making kava is a ceremonial thing in the Pacific Islands.
island halfway between Nadi and Suva, a town/village called Sigatoka. The bus ride from the airport was probably 90 minutes. And my first introduction to Fiji was the roads. I grew up in small town in a very rural area so dirt/gravel/bumpy roads were nothing I wasn't used to. But this was something else. It was the closest I'd ever come to car sickness. So to distract myself I tried to take in as much as possible of what we were going past. The scenery was very much the typical version of a tropical island, even though I couldn't help but stare at some of the ramshackle huts and the barefoot children playing a makeshift rugby game in fields on alongside the highway.
After a very early start we eventually made it to where we were staying late afternoon. Which meant that it was beer and pool time. It was also about this time that I learnt my first Fijian word. From our room to the pool we heard "bula" at least half a dozen times. As you've probably guessed, it means hello.
Then it was time to start the trip!
After a couple of days relaxing
Robinson Crusoe Island
Some of the locals making lunch.
beside the pool and drinking more beer than was probably necessary, we decided to spread our wings a bit and take a look around. The difference in the place once we left the resort was amazing, and that was where we got to see the real Fiji. Financially it's not exactly a rich country but the people appear content to live simply. I think third world might not quite be the right way to describe it but the standard of living is vastly different. In saying that, the people didn't appear unhappy. The men farm, the women tend their houses and the children are all playing rugby or soccer each day. As someone on his very first overseas trip, I was completely fascinated at how the people on this small tropical island lived their lives.
We then hit Robinson Crusoe island for snorkelling and traditional Fijian barbecues etc. As our boat rolled into the island, all of these locals hiding in the bushes charged out with their war paint and spears. It was more for the benefit of us tourists although a couple kids on the boat got a little scared. After that we sat and watched as the
Robinson Crusoe Island
Getting an unusual greeting from the locals.
locals described their local culture and performed their traditional dances. It was actually a lot of fun, it reminded me of all of the African style stuff that you see on TV. They then began to show us their way of cooking. It's actually identical to a New Zealand hungi. They dig the hole in the ground, put in the food, hot charcoal, then cover it with palm tree leaves.
Then it was time to try kava. It's a traditional Fijian drink made from the roots of the kava plant along with water. The Fijians drink it from a coconut shell. It's actually a sedative and is drunk socially in Fiji. To me it tasted like dirty dish water but after my tongue went numb I definitely felt more relaxed.
After that it was just chilling out on the beach. It was every bit the relaxing tropical island experience. Whether I return remains to be seen but as my very first overseas trip, it certainly wasn't anything to complain about.
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