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Published: November 24th 2008
Sunset on Naviti
View from our hammock
The turquoise blue waters of Fiji were added to our itinerary as an after thought really, "Why not go to Fiji" said the fellow at STA travel, "OK" we agreed enthusiastically, Fiji it was!
As our plans have taken shape in our minds and with further research Fiji did not actually sound as appealing as one may think, it's expensive and it ate into precious weeks we felt we could have had boldly exploring South East Asia. We laughed at ourselves often, we must be the only people on the planet to complain about a trip to the Islands of Fiji! How ungrateful we must sound, not so, Fiji was everything a postcard picture of such tropical paradises promise and more. We feel blessed to have experienced such a serene and unspoiled area of the world.
Arriving in Nadi we were whisked off to our friendly hostel and sat down with a nice cocktail to make our final decision on what islands to explore. While the mainland of Viti Levu is interesting and can keep you occupied the real fun is to be had exploring the hundreds of Islands in the archipelago. To get to the more far flung
Deep Blue Sea
View from our Bure, the sea got pretty choppy here at times.
and less traveled places is time consuming and expensive so we compromised with the Yasawa Islands, which stretch out to the northwest of Viti Levu.
Starting from the farthest away island we worked our way back to the mainland over the course of a week. First stop was Gold Coast Resort on Nanuya Lailai and this turned out to be our favorite. We jumped off the ferry onto another wee boat and were whisked to the other side of the island where we had to jump into the surf pounding the beach and carry our bags away from the water, our flip flops barely survived! The bamboo bure (Fijian thatched hut) we had for a couple of nights was fantastic, with the sea breeze blowing in through the windows keeping us cool during the hot nights. By day we took a brusque 25 minute stroll to the other side of the island protected from the crashing waves of the Pacific ocean. We have all seen the postcards, the pictures, even the films, perhaps like us you have dreamed of some day visiting such a place (maybe you have been), but never in our wildest dreams did we think that
little old us would get to actually see with our own eyes such a picture of total beauty. White sand reached far into the distance to either side of us as we emerged from the island interior, calm turquoise blue water gently lapped the beach as palm trees billowed in a fresh breeze, it was heaven.
But the fun didn't stop there. Why not try out our snorkels we thought, this is not known as one of the better places to snorkel but we can get some practice in... What a surprise greeted us, just a few metres into the water vast and varied coral spread out in every direction and through all this living coral swam countless strange fish of every size, shape and colour, many were as interested in us as we were of them. We spent ages swimming far out to sea and going up and down the corals "drop off" into the deep ocean, it was a watery dream world filled with bright psychedelic images!
We had heard that the Fijian people were some of the friendliest in the world and this certainly proved to be true. We were always warmly welcomed on the
islands, serenaded with a song and guitars and huge big Fijian smiles which are infectious. It would be impossible to be grumpy here! The first family we stayed with invited us to drink cava with them. Cava is the national drink in Fiji, made from a root plant that is ground up, sieved through a cloth and then soaked in water until it becomes a muddy liquid. It is non-alcoholic but has a strange numbing effect on your mouth and gives you a rather relaxed feeling. Drinking it involves taking part in a traditional ceremony, it is drank from a small ceremonial bowl which is passed around the circle one person at a time. Each drink is accompanied by a clap to show respect and give thanks and it is also impolite to leave any cava in the bowl so it has to be downed in one! It was nice to take part in the ceremony with such a kind family, we didn't feel much but slept well that night!
There is little more to tell, this pattern was more or less repeated over the following days! We visited the islands of Naviti and Waya where we received equally
hospitable welcomes from the smiling staff at the resorts. In between our snorkeling excursions we swung in hammocks under tall coconut trees which overlooked similar stunning beaches. It was all very relaxing and peaceful and just a little hard for us to believe we were actually experiencing all this!
Back on Suva there was just enough time to take a trip to an orchid garden which proved to be well worthwhile even though we got caught in the first heavy rains of the season. We wandered around admiring the flowers in the falling rain which made everything glisten and shine.
Soon it was time to leave Fiji for Singapore, but we were very excited indeed to start our South East Asia adventure!
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