Well, we are finally back on Nadi mainland and back online!
We landed in Nadi last Friday evening, feels like a lifetime ago! The change in temperature was apparent as soon as we got off the plane, even late evening it was absolutely boiling! Bit of a change from NZ and the snow. Anyway, we were almost immediately accosted by a woman in the airport who took us to her travel agent office to show us what our options were for the next 9 days! We were pretty tired from the flight but we thought we might aswell have a look. We left the office with all of our boats and hostels booked! We decided to stay on Mana and Malolo islands, quite close to the mainland but still getting a good view of island life.
Nice and early the next morning, we headed to the marina and we were on a teeny boat called Morning Breeze (very appropriate) and headed to Mana. We saw some gorgeous tiny little islands on the way over, all palm trees and tiny huts. Mana island was very pretty with hammocks on the beachfront which we rarely left! We stayed at Ratu Kini's backpackers, cheap for $F60, about 20 quid, with 3 meals included! We got a bit of a taste of Fiji life living on this island! Our dorm was pretty basic, nothing seemed to work! The electricity came on at 6pm every night, about half an hour after it got dark and lights would have been useful, the fan didn't work and we ran out of water on a fairly regular basis! The shower was a pipe with cold water and we constantly had sand in our beds. But apart from that! We very much enjoyed being fed 3 times a day, drinking plenty of cocktails and chilling out reading, sunbathing and swimming in the sea.
In the evening we had various entertainment, including Fijian dancing which was pretty cool. The men danced around with grass taped to their legs, doing some nice intimidating dancing slightly Haka-style. The women danced with lots of leaves strapped to their hips. They men also did knife and fire dancing, which was slightly scary to watch! The climax of the knife dancing was definitely the bravest man of the lot who did it blindfold! The fire dancing was awesome, on the beach far away from the very flammable huts! We were slightly concerned though when one guy, clearly the clumsiest of the 3, managed to briefly set fire to his own shoulder! But still, impressive show. They also had an 'international night' where quests from each country sang songs. Many national anthems were involved, and the English version also consisted of Angels, by Robbie Williams! We were chickens and watched!
The best song though was definitely the welcome song when a new boat came to the islands, something along the lines of:
I give you fish and chips for you to shake those hips and do the rumba/ I give you bacon and eggs for you to shake those legs and to the samba
We got a good view of village life on Mana island, since the village was pretty much right next door and villagers get up early to do nice noisy things like continue building a hut at 4am! So when the time came to leave 4 days later for Malolo island, we were praying for a bit more of a lie in!
Malolo was exactly what a Fijian island should be like, huge palm trees on a golden sandy beach. We were welcomed by plenty of singing and the most friendly Fijian woman in the world, dressed entirely in yellow. Our accomodation at Walu Beach Resort was amazing, for 10 pounds more a night than the hostel we got our own private beach-front bure, with 2 beds in the lounge and a double in the little bedroom which I ended up in for the 4 nights, a ridiculously clean bathroom with hot water which never ran out, fans and constant electricity! The food was amazing, with a buffet for each meal and a different theme for dinner each night. We had curry night, pasta night, and Mongolian BBQ night which was awesome- you piled up your plate with veg, noodles and meat then poured it onto a huge hot plate BBQ where the chef cooked up to 6 people's dinners separately, all at the same time!
We did a few activities on Malolo, other than the obvious sunbathing, reading, swimming and cocktail drinking (they were very tasty!). One day we went out kayaking to a neighbouring island where we saw sharks, or very shark-looking fish, in the sea! I was impressed with myself as I hadn't kayaked since I was about 14 and spent the whole time going round in circles. It was exhausting though, and I was very achey the next day! We also did a fair bit of snorkelling over the coral, seeing loads of huge blue starfish, nemo fish, tiny blue and yellow fish and loads of others. Emma and myself also had a hermit crab race one day when we were particularly bored! They were quite uncooperative and it was very amusing!
Which just about brings us to today! Our boat got to Malolo right on Fiji time, about an hour late, which suited us well as we have a lot of time to kill today! We're currently hanging around the hostel in Nadi that we stayed at when we arrived. Our flight leaves around 10pm tonight so we are catching up on some much needed internet! We go back in time later which should be interesting! We cross the date line so LA is 19 hours behind Fiji. We get a whopping 43 hours-worth of June 12th! We land in LA at 1.40pm today, technically, after a 10 hour flight. It makes my brain hurt!
(But anyway, Huw, set the Hannah-clock forward 5 hours instead of back 19, makes life a bit easier hehe ;) LA is 8 hours behind England so we will be a bit closer to home!)
Will update you when we're in LA!