Fiji - the Highs and Lows!!

Trip Start Jan 15, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Our journey to Fiji was two flights, Sydney to Auckland and then Auckland to Fiji so we were quite excited to be back in New Zealand even though it was only in Auckland airport.  Our flight to Auckland was delayed by 45 minutes which wasn't so bad, but it's terrible when you only have 1 hour to catch your next flight.  We were freaking out by the time we landed in Auckland thinking that we would definitly miss our next flight to Fiji, but thank god it was also delayed, by 3 hours.  The airline gave us $20 vouchers and of course we went straight to the bar.  So we were happy as can be drinking free beer sitting in Auckland airport reminising about New Zealand.  Eventually our flight was called and we did the next 3 hour leg of the journey to Nadi in the mainland of Fiji.

We arrived in Nadi at around 9.30 at night and of course there was nobody there to collect us because we were supposed to arrived at 6.30pm.  So after a bit of running around we eventually got some poor guy out of his bed to give us a lift to the hostel.  We were staying in the Newtown Beach Motel and when we arrived there is was so quiet I was starting to think there was nobody else there, but it was just a quiet hostel and I think everyone was up the street at the other liveier hostels.  Room was very basic but clean and was fine for 2 nights.

In the morning a woman called Vera (?) from the travel agents came to the hostel and helped us book our accomodation on the islands.  We managed to haggle her down to $130 per night for the both of us and we found out later that this was really lucky because everyone else seemed to be paying $150 per night.  Anyway we booked Coconut Bay on Naviti Island and Sunset Resort on Waya Island.  We could have travelled to more islands but we both wanted to just chill out in one place for a while.  We also booked all our boat trips from the mainland to each of the islands and back again - not cheap by the way!

The next morning our alarm went off at 6am (thought this was a holiday!) for the bus to collect us at 7am to take us to the port.  We had heard horror stories about this boat trip being really rough and luggage getting thrown overboard etc, but fortunately we had no problems at all apart from toward the end of the journey (3 hours for us) we were both starting to feel a bit sea sick.  Some people still had another 2 hours or so to go, if that was us we would definitely have been casualities.

And so we arrived at Coconut Bay on Naviti Island.  As we got out of the boat we both nearly slashed our feet to bits on the coral that was exposed in the water at low tide, but we battled to the beach and into the reception/dining room/bar/chill out area etc.  I might highlight that there was no singing welcome greeting as we got off the boat that you get at some of the resorts.  We checked in, got the resort rules and meal times and got shown to our 'bure'.  This is what the accomodation is called and it means like a small bungalow.  So the room was literally one room with a toilet and shower sectioned off within the room and a bed, no other furniture, shelves, hooks - nothing.  We did a massive beastie check and then made the bed and pulled down the mozzie net over the bed, didn't want any visitors during the night thanks!

We went for lunch which was a plate of rice and a slice of watermelon.  Was tasty but we didn't realise at this point that it was rice for lunch and dinner so by day 4 it wasn't tasty anymore. 

So I wont bore you anymore with every detail of Coconut Bay but basically we were quite lucky with our room because we did have a shower that worked, seems not everyone's did and it definitly didn't work in the dorms.  (You might laugh at this when you see the photo of the shower!)  And it also seems that we were lucky that we had no beasties in our room because another couple had an infestation of lizards and another had cockroaches coming out of their sink tap - so I considered ourselves lucky!

Oh I should mention at this point that there is no hot water on the island, all sinks and showers are freezing cold water.  Oh and I should also mention that there is only electricity at certain times, like 6pm to midnight.  And because the rooms are small they are very very dark at all times during the day!

The food was grim, really grim.  Rice and potatoes were the norm, usually with a chicken leg or something like that.  Certainly not the buffet style affair that I had thought and not the piles of fruit.  Considering that fruit grows all over the islands you were lucky if you saw one piece of fruit per day.

My only other complaint about Coconut Bay was as I mentioned earlier the coral in the water.  At low tide all this coral is exposed and it is really quite horrible looking and near impossible to walk over into the water.

Anything good you might be asking???  Well we did actually have a good time here.  The people on the island were good fun and you eat with everyone else so you get to know everyone really quickly so it was very social.  There was another beach, 20 minutes walk away that had a good beach and you could walk into the water no problem, it also had excellent snorkling.  And of course lying around in a hammock enjoying the sun was fantastic and at the end of the day that was what we were there for.  So we forgot about the room and the food and just chilled out.

After our 4 nights at Coconut Bay we were actually quite sad to leave but onwards to the next island.  As the boat approach the island there were loads of people on the beach singing and dancing to welcome us.  Much better that the last island and we immediately felt welcome.  Same as before, checked in and shown to our bure.  No hot water or electricity on this island either, but this is the norm on all the islands, unless you are paying ALOT of money.

We had a wander around the resort, had a swim and returned to our bure.  Whats the first thing I see - a spider, oh and another one, and another one.....  Bloody thing was infested with Spiders and incase you don't know I HATE spiders.  Unfortunately it was so late now that the office had closed so we were stuck in the room for one night at least.  Seriously I had never seen spiders so big.  We even had to ask one of the local Fijians to come in and get one of them because it was so big even Dale was scared!  I have never got showered and changed so fast in my life and out of there for dinner that night.  Had a really nice night and the locals did the Bula dance, a fire dance and various other stuff which was really good.  As we were nearly falling asleep on the beach we reluctantly went back to the room.  Within an hour Dale was complaining he wasn't feeling well and so commenced the night from hell.  Poor Dale was so ill all night, I have never seen anyone be so sick.  And if it wasn't coming out his mouth it was the other.  We were both getting seriously scared.  And to make matters worse the electricity goes off and it was pitch black so Dale was getting up from bed, fighting through the mozzie net and leaning over the toilet with the torch that was slowing fading.  Then we realised that it wasn't just spiders that were living in our room but cockroaches and mice.  So really I cannot describe how bad this night was!

Finally morning arrives and I ask to move rooms and the woman reluctantly moves us.  There is no way Dale can make the boat to the mainland so we were stuck on the island for a couple of days anyway.  The next room was better, not so many spiders but still cockroaches and mice. One of the mice ate one of the Imodium tablets that we had left on the table, so I was half expecting to find a dead mouse in the room somewhere!

Day 2 passes in a bit of a blur, Dale finally stops being sick around 12 noon but doesn't eat anything till the next day.  Day 3 he gets up out of bed and goes for a walk around the resort so I check us out the resort for the next day (which is one day earlier than we had originally planned) and go back to the main land for some normal food, a hot shower and some civilisation. 

And that my friends was our experience of Fiji!  Maybe we were just unlucky, but having spoken with loads of other people on the islands, many of them had the same impression as me.  That Fiji is not the paradise island that you think it's going to be.  It's not cheap, the food is terrible and yes some of the beaches are nice - but not them all.  You can't buy anything on the islands, you are at the mercy of the chefs and although many of the Fijians were lovely, they are not all happy and smiling and certainly won't miss a trick to get your money.  Would I recommed Fiji to someone - probably still yes, but be prepared for what your going to, take supplies onto the islands with you if you can and be very careful about what islands you choose to visit.

Lynne Robertson are you reading this - hope I haven't shattered your illusions and dreams!

Ok off to America next and I'm quite looking forward to some civilisation
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