The trip started well when we were given a meal on the plane which we weren't expecting. Although we were debating for a little while whether we would get one or not which made it more exciting when we did. It was the most excited we had been all week, free food! We landed on the main island at Nadi where we were greeted by a little group of men singing 'bula' (hello) and welcoming us. The plan was for us to spend on night on the mainland then we would be island hopping for 5 nights (staying at 3 different islands) and then once again a night on the mainland. We checked through customs and I had some seeds taken off me I bought from New Zealand for Grandad (sorry, no present for you now). The woman was rather scary and butch and I didn't want to argue with her! Then we found our travel agents desk and they arranged a taxi and hostel for the first night. That evening we got into the spirit with a drink at the local bar and a pizza. Not hte best pizza I've ever had; the base was weird. It was huge though!
We had an early morning to get the bus to the ferry terminal where we finally found out which islands we were going to. Although, we had no idea what the difference was between them all. We had a long journey, about 5 hours, to our first island as it was one of the furthest away. It was called Coral View and we were spending 2 nights there. The ferry stopped in the middle of the sea and we had to get off and board a smaller boat; much easier than it sounds. The 2 boats would be bobbing up and down and moving away from each other. When we reached the island we had another bula singing welcome. However, this one didn't seem quite so sincere. Each member of staff shook your hand and welcomed you but their face told a different story, they didn't look very friendly and welcoming. It was quite funny really as Fijian's are suppossed to be the happiest people, seems someone didn't tell that to this island. We were in the bar/dining area and dinner was served. We had a lovely spahetti bolognese, not what we were expecting but it was good. We were also given our orders for the island. The bell was rang at meal times which were 7.30 for breakfast, 11.45 for dinner and 7.00 for tea. Oh and an afternoon tea and cake (which had to be paid for) at 4. We were in a dorm with 20 beds but it was only half full and we had all come on the boat together and all girls of a similar age so it was quite nice.
We had been told about the view from the top of the hill on the island we were on and told it shows a good sunset. Apprently it was an éasy walk'. I would hate to do a hard walk if that was an easy one! It was steep, long and very loose under foot, and it probably wasn't worth the effort. We expected the sun to set over an island but it didn't, it just disapeared in the sea. There were some good views up there though of the surronding islands. We all started to walk back down before it got to dark but this is when it got trickey and a few people ending up on their bottoms (including Louise, bless her). We had earnt out tea. Sadly we'd experienced our only nice meal on the island, it all went downhill from here. Steamed rice (very dry) with every meal and weird concoctions. One day we had tinned sausage which I wouldn't give to a dog.
That night me aqnd Lou stopped to watch the bula dance, it was so cringey. These poor people had to do it everynight and obviously hate it. We even heard one woman say that she was bored! Couldn't believe it. We then had to join in with the entertainment. I do not do audience participation. We were all in a long line with a volunteer at either end who took it in trns to dance like a prat and we had to copy them. We wanted to make a run for it but had left our things on the table and everytime we got near it the 'snake'changed direction and we would be walking in the other direction. We managed to escape at the end of this game before the next started. We spent the rest of the evening in a hammock, mostly trying to get in and then out of it. Its not as easy or comfy as it looks.
The eaches on all the islands were not quite what we expected. We thought it would be lovely golden sands but they were all covered in coral and impossible to sit on. There were very few islands with a nice beach. The other side of the island was a bit better and we spent a little while there with Becci and Sally from York. Although you did have to walk through a bitof a jungle to get there. There were fish in the sea too which freaked us out too much to spend any thime in it. We spent quite a bit of time with them over the next 2 days.
We were glad to move islands after 2 nights, needed a change of scenery. Our next stop was Korovou and it was much nicer and friendlier than the lat island. There was a long stretch of beach to walk along (perfect for shell collecting) and a pool. That night we had 2 courses! Soup, which at one point we were worrie this was our meal, and spaghetti again. Very nice though. Once we had finished eating it was time another bula dance. This time performed by the Bula boys. It was very entertaining watching them, especially when they ran at the tables and shouted bula in your face. Although I was scared by this and I wa hidden by Lou, she got it all! I was proud she didn't scream. Now it was our turn as everyone had get up and learn the dance. It was like being at Butlins. No one had a clue what they were doing, it was very funny though. More party games followed as we started to play the limbo. After a couple of dreaded turns me, Lou, Sally and Becci snuck off to the bar. Whilst we were there the music stopped and everything went quiet. We loooked to see what was going on and someone was lying on the floor looking in pain. Turns out Ellen (from Ireland) fell and dislocated her knee!! We became good friends with Ellen and Lianna over the next ew days and helped her hbble around from island to island. I knew auidence paticipation wasn't a good idea.Whilst on the island we were provided with quite a bit of entertainment: one day we took part in a crab race. All the crabs were placed in a marked area and the las t one out was eliminated. We didn't win. We also went and fed the fish. Although we were feeding them left over cake which seemed a waste, I could have etaen it. On our second evening we had a traditionally cooked Fijian buffet. All the meat was cooked underground, it was lovely. Then we were off to our final island, Bounty. We were all a little worried how Ellen would get on and off the boats but she survived. She was carried and lifted everywhere but it was nerve racking to watch! The journey was not so good this time the sea was really rough. When we had to get off to go on to the little boat ttake us to Bounty the sea was so roacky. We were worried about losing our bags off the top thats how bad it was. This islad was probably my favourite though. That evening we even had a menu to chose from. This proved to be a tough choice, roast beef with veg and mash or mahi mahi fish. We went for the fish, it was lovely! We even had a choice of deserts, shame we only had one night on the island. It was our last Bula dance too with a human goat! He did a good impression. We also managed to avoid any games which was good. We started talking to Lee and Vicki who were from Wigston and Lou discovered that Emma, who we had spent quite a bit of time with, lived not far from her. It was time to play 'do you know so and so'and every answer is always a no haha. The next day we went to use the internet and got chatted up by the decorator! He told Lou that he would pay for us and our friends to stay another night. Weirdo. We also had free ectivities to do here so we took full advantage. Me and Lou kayaked around the whole island! It was funny and we probably wettwice as far as we should have because we couldn't go in a straight line but kept zig-zaging. I also got caught out lieing down letting her do the work! We wereshattered by the end and gave up fter we crashed into the side and got a little stuck. We dragged the kayak out pulled it abot then dumped it abou 10m shrt of where it should g. It was lucnh timew and we didn't want to miss out. We also had a go at snorkelling but it was horrible. The water was far too shallow and the masks kept leaking. But you couldnt put your feet down to fix it because of standing on coral. We only lasted about 5 min and when we got out I was bleeding! I cut my knee on some coral. We did see a bright blue starfish though which was pretty cool. In the afternnon we sat and had a cup of tea and biscuit as we watched the rain come in. It rained so fast and we were meant to be getting back on the boat. We were worried about all our stuff getting wet on the journey. It was ok though, they put the bags on with us rather than on the roof. We had one last night on the mainland now and all stayed in the same hosteland ate together which was a nice way to finish. Although it took about 2 hours for our food and we were the nly ones there! It wasn't really worht the wait either. We had an early flight sogot a taxi with Ellen and Lianna in the morning, and then argued with the taxi driver again as he tried to rip us off. We then sorted Ellen out with a wheelchair which was funny, bless her. That was the end of another chapter. Australia awaited.