Hi from Fiji!!!! Or should I say, Bula! (everyone here says Bula to everyone all day long. After the first three bulas I realised it meant Hello xD) I am doing well, quite happy here even though it has rained all day long. It rained when we arrived and it has been showery all day since. Sometimes it's rain that hardly makes you wet and sometimes it's just torrential downpour, as if someone turned on a tap somewhere up in the sky. But wait, too fast. Let me start with the flight. It was quite eventful actually...
So I got to the airport at 5 o' clock and my flight was at 8.30. I was feeling quite good about myself because I managed to get there and find the terminal and check in and eat and get through security with full body scans(first time, haha, felt a bit like a criminal xD) and to gate 121, a long walk from the checkin area. Once on the plane I found my seat near the front and noticed that there was a baby in the row in front of me, a baby diagonally in front of me and another baby diagonally behind me and the other way in front. FOUR babies. Great. While taking off one of the babies started to cry and that set the others off making men sigh and roll their eyes heavenwards and women smile and coo ooooh those poor babies, their ears must be sore... I awaited the meal which was served right after the plane leveled off and surprisingly, it was pretty good, and then within seconds of finishing it I was fast asleep. I didn't even notice them taking away my tray and folding up my table and I was in the middle seat of the between the aisles so either the stewardess or the woman next to me must have done it but never found out which. I was just wrapped up in the provided blanket with my head leaning sideways against the pillow against the headrest. I kept waking up every hour or so and moving my head to the other side and at some point I woke up and noticed a fuss diagonally in front of me. A woman was slumped slightly in her chair looking really pale (she was from Fiji thus dark skin and she looked greyish pale which is really weird). A girl of about 26 or so was standing over her with a stethoscope around her neck. She was wearing a hoody like jumper but on the front it had the international paramedic sign on it, the one with the snake around the pole with wings one, you know which one I mean.. She was bent over the lady and a nervous steward was standing nearby. The girl finished examining the lady and said something to the steward which he didn't look too happy about and then she pulled a bottle from a medical kit that I suppose was the planes and started prepping an IV saline drip! When she had prepped and checked it she knelt down and (thank whoever that I couldn't see over the top of the chair or I would have fainted) put in the needle attached to the drip. She taped it to the woman's arm and then stood holding the bag of fluid. After she had been standing there looking thoughtful for about 10 minutes, obviously searching for somewhere to leave the bag but it had to be vertical above the woman of course, a man stood up, rummaged in his hand luggage and pulled out a carabiner clip, used for rock-climbing. He came over, opened the overhead locker and on the inside there is a hole that clicks into place when the locker is closed. He put the carabiner through the hole, took the IV bag and hung it off the overhead locker with the carabiner. Pretty smart. The girl helped him take all the luggage out of the locker so that it couldn't fall out on top of the woman or the baby in the row in front of the woman or on anyone else and then all was peaceful again but it was quite disturbing to see an IV drip hanging off an overhead locker on a plane. Another less scary and quite amazing event was that near the end of the flight, after breakfast had been served (I woke up for that and stayed awake after that. I had slept for 8 hours. Pretty good for a middle row seat on a plane with babies :p). One of the babies, the one diagonally in front of me but not the sick woman side of the plane started to cry and coincidentally the woman from the row in front of me was at that moment jiggling her baby up and down next to that row. The mother tried to soothe the crying baby girl but miraculously it was the stare of the other baby girl that silenced the upset one. The mothers noticed this and the standing one sat down next to the one with the now not crying girl and they put the babies together in the crib provided by the stewardesses and for the rest of the flight the two baby girls (they can't have been older than 1. Neither could walk or talk, they were tiny) were silent. Not a sound was heard. It was amazing. How the mothers had tried to soothe the kids but the best way to do it was to let them soothe each other. As if them being put together gave them the idea "Oh, you're small like me too. Ok. I'm not alone then, I guess. If you're ok then I must be ok too." A bit like that. It was magic :) And now I know that if I ever have kids and am on a plane, just find another baby and it could be the solution to them crying :) When I got to the airport I stepped off the plane and the humidity whacked me in the face. I was stunned. It was hot but wet air. I couldn't stop grinning at the weirdness of it. I got to the terminal building and there before the customs desks was a 4 man band with Hawaii shirts and a guitar, tambourine, drums and some other instrument and they started to play some happy happy island cocktail hammock coconut music, you know the kind. It was really cool hahaha. I easily breezed through customs and baggage pick up and biodiversity customs or whatever (please don't bring the Africa Bull Snail to Fiji!) and found the awesome adventures fiji desk where the woman gave me a voucher and I was taken to the buses.
Jeez the taps have been turned on again. Theis rain is incredible. I'm in my room which is a nice 4 bed room with lockers and an en suite bathroom with a good hot powerful shower. On the bus on the way here this morning there were two girls who I started talking to, one from Brighton called Alice and one from Quebec called Patricia. They are both doing tours like me but different ones, none of us knew each other but we kind of hung out all day, it was really nice! I got my room first because it was dorm, they had to wait until about 9 or 10 for their single rooms. I showered and then joined them for breakfast. It was nice, when I got into the room there were just 4 empty beds. I had the place to myself which was really chill :) Then Patricia got her room and Alice and I decided to go out for a walk, despite the rain. We walked all along the beach (the hostel is small and cute and right on the beach which is cool! Black sand though xD Or maybe that was just because it was wet...) and saw a sad mangy horse and at some point noticed that we were not getting very wet but that about 20 meters ahead of us it was tipping it down. It was so weird. We stood and watched and suddenly this rainstorm moved our way and we were in it, completely drenched to the skin within seconds. We ran forwards and suddenly were out of it. It was so weird. We stood their quite baffled staring back at this rogue raincloud... We wandered on until the end of the beach where there was a rickety sign that said "authorised personnel only" so we peeked past it a bit sneakily as the place seemed deserted and there was no fence and noticed that there was a seaplane airport there! A tiny tiny seaplane hangar and a jetty to put them in the water and a small shack with lights to guide them I suppose, all pretty run down but there was a dirty white seaplane there that looked as though it was ready for use so we were quite thrilled to have found the place, haha. We walked back to the hostel and then the weather cleared so Alice went and got her room and then we went to town with Patricia and an Australian mother and daughter from Sydney. We took the local bus which cost us 1.5 Fiji dollars and the exchange rate is 1 FJD = 0.47 EUR so basically halve everything). The bus was amazing. It was a shack. There was no door, just some steps up to the deck with seats and no glass in any of the windows but the front one. The seats were all torn and it was so soooo noisy but it worked and got us into Nadi Town which is a dump, haha. We walked around there for about an hour and realised it was just as major a dump as the lonely planet said so we took a cab back for 8 FJD for the 3 of us as the bus wasn't going for another 2 hours. We tipped the driver and he thanked us profusely and then later we read in the lonely planet (Alice has one) that they don't really do tipping here but the driver was really nice telling us about the place so we thought he deserved the 2 dollars extra we gave him.. Anyway, after that trip where we bought water (not sure whether we can drink tap water, don't really want to try) we sat outside and suddenly the sky turned black and the islands that we could see from the beach vanished in this grey fog. The staff of the hostel started rushing about and suddenly we saw that the fog was this giant rainstorm thundering across the sea towards us. We ran towards the hostel but were a bit late and were soaked to the skin again. This was worse than before though, oooh it hosed down! It was horrendous! Just unbelievable! I have never seen that much rain in my life! Just WOW. So we were wet again, as were all other guests who thought they would be tanning here. At least we were all in shorts and tank-tops as it is really warm, even though it's raining. But we decided that we were tired so we all went and had a nap until I woke up at 5.30 and went to have some dinner at the hostel restaurant. Alice joined me just when I was ordering, I didn't know if she was awake or which room she was in so was going to eat alone but she had the same idea so that worked out well, haha. So I ordered some pasta with fresh vegetables as I think I'll be eating enough fish the coming week. Alice and I sat there chatting and watching the cricket that was on, Australia - India I think. The aussies won which pleased a lot of the guests, haha. At some point I suddenly noticed that next to us there were 3 people speaking Dutch!!!! Dutch! In Fiji!!! xD It was so weird! I haven't spoken to them yet but if I see them I'll ask them what they're doing here :) the holidays are over in holland! But pretty cool! So now I'm replete and going to go to bed soon. I got a roommate this afternoon actually. I was napping when he came in and he went straight to sleep too so I didn't meet him until about half an hour ago but he's called Andy and is from Germany. Nice guy. Is here to go diving so is not fussed by the rain whatsoever xD I was surprised to hear he was German (which I'm sure he is as his accent confirmed it, haha) as he is very tanned and looks quite surfer-ish. But then he said that he has been travelling in Oz and NZ for the past 6 months and suddenly the tan was explained :p But yeah, he seems cool and leaves his electronics all over the place without locking them up so I feel ok with him staying here. Am pretty sure he has enough electronic equipment so won't touch mine even though mine is hidden away in the safe :p But anyway, I get picked up at 7.15 tomorrow morning so Alice and I are having breakfast at 6.45. Yawn. So need to repack again now. Yay.
Did you know by the way that Fiji is a British colony(or maybe was a British colony, not sure which) and thus has the face of the queen on their money and coins and they all drive on the left? Did you know that? I didn't :p
If it keeps raining then many more posts will follow. If not, then you can probably picture what I am doing. It's probably better than you can imagine. At least, I hope it is..