I am in fact cheating a little as I'm not currently sat in a shack in Fiji at all but am in Oz and have been for over a week now, but I need to catch up!
Fiji: Beautiful, Expensive, Poor, Laid back. What more do I need to say???
Come on you all know I will now continue to rant for some time!
We arrived in Fiji in a whirlwind, as in we had everything to do in Fiji booked. We booked it in England about a year ago and so of course it was all wrong. The dates were all for a month previous leaving us in a little paniced pickle. Well I say panic, that's probably too strong a word, we... thought about it! After emails to STA and Dave talking to a very confused and slow women in Fiji, to which he soon felt a dislike towards, we were more or less sorted. Met our friend from Raro and NYE in Auckland, Oliver and his bro Matt in the departure lounge (our 5th tme there, I'm not sure I've been to London that many times), so that was really good!
Fiji, on arrival, had a similar feel to Raro. There were a quartet of dudes singing and playing guitar to greets us and everyone seemed very happy and helpful. We found out as time went on though that with helpfulness, often comes stern-ness, especially from the women.
We, luckily, ended up in the right hostel, got settled and jumped in the pool, cos my word was it hot compared to NZ. Oh yeah we had a pool! POSH! This was the first hint that Fiji is way more geared towards holiday goers as opposed to scanky backpackers! Once suitably cooled the four of us went into the unknown in search of food. Now this was the real Fiji. I'd read a little before arriving about Fiji's colourful past and understood the tensions between the native black Fijians and the vast Indian population of Fijians, but I did not expect to see the poverty that is a result of the conflicts. Ollie said it reminded him of south east Asia. The streets were filthy, litter everywhere. The roads were covered in pot holes and the public buses that went past every few minutes were crammed full of locals and had black smoke pouring out of the back and water out the front. The money in Fiji, it seems, is with the mobile phone compaines. The billboards lined the rubbish covered streets and low and behold everyone has one stuck to their heads! The old, the young, it didn't matter. ODD!
The next morning we said goodbye to Ollie as he hadn't decided on his plans and headed to the Marina in the hope they knew who we were and what we were meant to be doing. We got off of one of the lovely buses, this time only a few tourists on it though and were herded towards a shack, surround with big blokes in overalls and filled with beautiful ladies who had looks as if to say "can I help, but don't step out of line!!!" After a long conversation of repeating ourselves over and over we were shifted along onto a big yellow boat. Dave tells me that it was a Katermarang, now I don't know how its spelt but those who care can work it out!
The boat journey was four and a half hours, through the Yasawa Islands. Our 'BULA PASS' entitled us to island hopping throughout the Yasawas for fourteen nights and included a bed in a dorm and three meals a day. We picked the furthest one away, Nacula Island. The resort was called Nabua lodge. We were met from the Big Yellow Boat by a small silver boat which took us and our battered luggage to the 'resort'. We were met with big friendly smiles. Turned out it was only us, two girls who came with us on the boat and four guys who were already there, if thats not remote I don't know what is! The two ladies I should say, were Leanne and Sarah, absolutely fabulous pair from Britain, we got on really well.
The accomodation consisted of a bed in a shack covered with a mozzie net, it was cool. The bathrooms were a cold shower in a shack, with a loo in the next shack, which included cockroaches. The whole thing was run by one family with big Ron at the head. He did all the cooking and was so pleased to have people there, he looked like he may cry at any point! BLESS. Meals were, interesting but did the job and apart from that and the BULA DANCE there wasn't much else to do apart from chillax in the hammocks and watch the waves. We did go to the beach where Blue Lagoon was filmed. That didn't mean anything to me but someone might have seen it.
In our mad rush to catch the Big Yellow Boat (its actually called the Yasawa Flyer 2 but most people refered to it as the former), we didn't think to get cash, that reminds me I need to have words with the nice people at marketing at MasterCard! So we sent an SOS to Ollie who fortunately had decided to join us for a week, to bring money and meet us on the Island, turns out he was booked into a resot just up the beach.
But that is another story.......
Oh BULA DANCE is the dance you HAVE to do in most of the resorts in Fiji. Dave will demonstrate it to anyone and everyone when we get home. (please do ask, its funny and he secretly loves it!) Imagine the macaraina crossed with dodgy seventies dancing.