Ni Sa Bula! Welcome to Paradise!

Trip Start Aug 21, 2009
Trip End Aug 20, 2010

Flag of Fiji  ,
Friday, November 20, 2009

Hello! :)

Flo: We arrived in at Nadi Airport at about 5am after our 10 hour flight from LA (although actually the flight had taken over 31 hours, having left on November 3rd and arrived November 5th!). After picking up some cheap duty free we needed to buy our boat pass to get us to the Islands. As soon as we walked out of the terminal an old lady who looked pretty dirty tried to sell us boat tickets and take us into her 'office'!!! After saying NO quite a few times she was still following us!!!! We then went back into the terminal (where she couldn't following us anymore) to try and find someone that wouldn't sell us dodgy tickets! We finally got some from a really nice Fijian lady and after we'd eaten some samosas for breakfast, she walked us out of the airport and over the road to the bus stop to catch the bus to the Port.

Our first resort was Oarsmans Bay, about 5 hours on the boat from the main island. The boat was pretty comfortable and the views of the islands and the mainland were amazing. When we got to near the resort, the big boat stopped, and the little tiny speedboats from the resorts came out to the big boat to pick us up. It was quite worrying jumping between the 2 boats and having the Fijian men throw our bags from the big boat to the little one, but we made it and we cruised through the reef and towards our first stop. We climbed out of the boat into the water and walked up off the beach. The staff were all singing to us and they had a fruit cocktail for everyone. They showed us to our 'Dorm' room, which had 10 beds, and we were the only people in there! (we only had company 1 night out of 5!) The views from the dorm balcony were beautiful, the beach came right up to the front of the dining area!

Simon: For the most part at Oarsman, we laid in the hammock all day and sunbathed!!! I did a fair bit of snorkeling as you could walk into the Coral Reef right off the beach! There were zillions of fish, plenty of 'Nemos', Parrotfish, Triggerfish, Eels, Starfish, and hundreds of others. I did some sea kayaking too, paddling up and down in front of the resort whilst Flo did, well, NOTHING! We were on holiday though, America had been tiring! The whole time at Oarsman there was around 10 people staying there, the most was 14 (crowded!) and the least was only 8! The showers were pretty cold, but they warmed up after a while. We did do a few activities, we both hiked up the mountain in the middle of the island which had beautiful views of the resort and the neighboring island. We also went on a trip over to the famous Blue Lagoon area, where the film was set. The snorkeling there was amazing, and we had home made ice cream at the resort near. Our last trip was to the village to go to a church service. We were wetting ourselves at the kids and the teacher, who hit them SO hard on the head with a wooden stick if they were misbehaving! WHAM!! haha!! The service was cool, a bit boring, and in Fijian, so we didn't understand it at all! 

The food was pretty good, Breakfast was a buffet with pacakes, cereal and yummy Fijian muffins and Doughnuts. Lunch & Dinner were set menus, usually a 3 course meal for dinner, although sometimes we had Seafood buffet, and one night we had a Fijian feast that they cook underground with hot rocks, called a 'Lovo'. In the evenings an 'activity' was arranged, usually some kind of version of the Macarana called the 'Bula dance'. I usually refused and drank Fiji Bitter, but everybody forced me the last night. 

We also met the chief of the islands, Chief Ratu, who also owned the resort. He was around most evenings drinking 'Kava' with the staff, and a few nights we joined him and he'd play guitar and tell stories. Kava is a traditional Fijian drink made from grinding up the root of a pepper plant and mixing it with water. It's not a drug or alcoholic at all, it makes most people sleepy, and gives you numb lips and a numb tongue. Flo didn't like it very much, but i had about 8 cups the 2nd time around (always 'High Tide' or full, the Fijians had 'Tsunami', a bigger cup, full!). One night the Chief also entertained the Fijian Minister of Land & Agriculture, and we had some kava with him too. We also met some really awesome people at Oarsman, a dutch couple from Rotterdam who we got on really well with, an older Australian guy who is an open water swimmer (he SWAM between some islands!), an Australian family with a little half-Fijian half-Australian girl, and lots of cool couples.

We got on the boat after 5 nights and got dropped off 3 hours later at our next resort - Manta Ray Bay. It was on a tiny island, even smaller than the last one, but the landscaping was much nicer, with the dorm room and dining room set in the hillside overlooking the bay and paths winding through the trees to it all. The resort was a lot more crowded than the last place, but it was nice to have lots of people to talk to, and again we met some really cool people, including 2 Swiss girls, Kirsty, a backpacker who was on her way home after Fiji, she gave us lots of cool suggestions for New Zealand & Australia, a Finnish couple who i went fishing with (i didn't catch a single thing!), some Australian people, and lots of British backpackers. The snorkeling was much better here than it was at Oarsman, and i went snorkeling about twice a day from the beach.

Flo: There was a much bigger variety of food at Manta Ray, and we could choose from 10 choices for lunch and 4 choices for dinner. 2 nights we had buffets, Indian & Fijian. The beer and cocktails were also very cheap so we had plenty of those.There was also lots more activities to do, a lot of them free, like i made a bracelet from coconut by grinding a ring of shell on a rock with sand & water until it was smooth. I also weaved a basket from palm leaves that i used to carry my beach stuff with. We spent most of our time in the hammocks on the beach too, and we both read lots of books! We had entertainment in the evening from a local village who performed male & female dances and played music. The funniest thing about the entertainment was the gay Fijian barman who was SO camp, one night him and another gay Fijian barman and 2 girls performed the traditional girls dances with skirts and nail varnish and straightened long hair! Everyone loved him and he was always smiling and friendly. The only bad thing about Manta Ray was that the showers were cold water and outside! I was not a fan!

We had 4 nights at Manta Ray, and we'd enjoyed it, but we were looking forward to our last resort, Octopus Bay Resort, because we'd heard from lots of people that it was the best resort. Well when we got there, we realised why. The resort itself was immaculate and was beautifully landscaped, It had a fresh water swimming pool, coconut beach bar (where they served yummy cocktails in coconuts!), the beach was beautiful, and the food was really really delicious. Breakfast buffet especially was brilliant,  they had the best fruit i've ever tasted and 4 kinds of bread for toast!! The lunches and dinners were like restaurant meals, and the Indian, Seafood and BBQ all you can eat buffets were delicious, Simon had about 5 helpings of each!

We spent most of our time relaxing by the swimming pool (the only resort with one) and chatting to all the lovely people we'd met, like the 2 Swiss girls from Manta Ray, who were so nice a friendly, A Canadian couple who worked in the Canadian embassy in Beijing, and 2 of the poshest people we've ever met! They'd come from England to Fiji 3 months before, met with the chief of the island, who gave them some land so they could build a house on the beach and live there! They had their own boat and ate fish, coconut, mango and not much else! They were on their last week and wanted some luxury before heading home. We also went on a village trip to the other side of the Island where they danced for us and we drank Kava and looked around. It was quite poor, even with the village getting a lot of money from the resort, and the houses all had only 1 room for everyone to do everything. The setting was amazing though, right on the beach.

I also went snorkeling for the first time ever on our last day! I was pretty scared and couldn't get the breathing right to start with (Simon got a bit annoyed!) but i got the hang of it in the end and it was pretty beautiful. We saw lots of little fish and a Nemo fish too! We were about to swim a bit deeper when we spotted a GIANT black fish about 4 feet long eating just in front of us. I swam back to shore quickly!

Simon: Oh, i also won a crab racing competition one night too! We had to pick our Hermit Crab from a pit full of little crabs, then tippex a number on it and put it in a pot. They kept nipping us all the way, and Flo had to get another guy to carry her crab because she was getting nipped too much! There were 30 crabs, and i won the Quarter Final, Semi Final and the Final! Flo came 4th overall and just missed out on a prize (i got F$30 bar tab, we spent it on delicious cocktails!) We also did some bracelet/bookmark weaving AND Flo made a shell bracelet! All for free!

We got on the boat for the 2 hour ride back to the mainland and had 1 night in Nadi, near the airport. The restaurant at the hotel had the biggest dinner plates i'd EVER seen! Like lorry steering wheels! Next morning we got a taxi to the airport (it was 20 mins late - Fiji time!) and got our 3 hour flight to New Zealand!

Vinaka Vaka Levu!


Flo & Simon


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