Travelogues

Trip Information

Fiji
Fijian Birth
Fijian Birth (12)
Trip Date:2004-11-16 - 2004-11-28
# Photos:6 [View]
Countries visited:Fiji
Viewed: 6926
Im not the best at witing so sorry if this just sucks, you are welcome to going back to reading the death notices in the newspaper. I mainly wrote this so I could remember as much as I could about the trip in years to come, so I figure that I should also put it up here so you can see what the pictures are about and so I dont have to explain the trip 10 times over to people.


DAY 1: Left Auckland at about 6 and arrived at Nadi at 8 local time, the flight was not too bad, we had chicken curry from memory as well as a few Fiji Bitters, we soon drank the plane dry as they had run out, so we drank white wine instead.

As soon as we walked out of the plane we could feel the humidity hit us. We were greeted at the airport by a bunch of Fijians playing their local welcome music which put a huge smile on my face, we since learnt that we get this welcome song at every place we went to. We quickly got changed into shorts and a shirt and went down to the backpackers bar where we got our first cocktail of the trip. Didnt take us long either to make friends with our first tourist (an American) and we chatted and drank by the pool until about 2am.

DAY 2: We had to wake up at 7am, to catch the 8am bus to get to the ferry. It was easily the worst sleep I had in Fiji, we only had 2 crappy fans in the dorm and I kept waking up every 20 minutes. Was very similar to the 30 degree nights you get in Perth once a year, except it was much more humid. So with only 4 hours sleep and waking up early to get some breakfast and wait for the bus, you can imagine how we felt when we found out that we could have slept in an extra hour as we both forgot to set our watches back an hour. It was too late to hop back into bed so we spent an extra hour doing nothing but just waiting in the heat with no sleep.

Our bus eventually came and we then got on the Yasawa Flyer (the infamous big yellow boat for people wanting to travel between islands). Me and Monty chose a seat outside which also just happened to be next to Canadians, Pete and Celine, who we would eventually meet a few days later. After 5 hours on the boat and getting burnt badly on our legs we eventually reached Sunrise Resort where we got our welcome song, however this place would have made the refugees want to remain in Woomera. We were basically given orders from the owner of the place about when we eat food and it really felt like we were at school camp. The first meal consisted of sulphur with spaghetti flavouring, then we found out that they had stuffed our reservation up and me and Monty had to share a double bed. That mixed wth the fact that my camera had run out of batteries, I was thinking what have I spent my money on.

Things eventually fell together however, we got our bed situation sorted out by having our own hut each, I found a power outlet to charge my battery up, and we also met 4 girls from Melbourne who just happened to have almost identical travel plans as us, a lot of the remainder of the trip was spent with them.

That night was quite tame for a first night, I was quite tired from the 4/5 hour sleep from the night before, so after our two games of bingo that even Grandma Rubin would have found boring we went to bed with the agreement that I would wake the girls up for the sunrise.

DAY 3: As promised I woke the girls up, I also lost my bet to Lou as I bet her that they wouldnt wake up. We spent about 40 minutes or so watching the sun come up, then everybody else went to bed while I couldnt be bothered going back so spent the morning on the hammock and swimming.

After breakfast most people went to the Sawailau Caves to swim around in. This was about a 1 hour boatride so gave a lot of people the chance to chat with other tourists about their travels while all packed in like canned sardines on the boat. The caves were pretty cool, was 1 section we had to swim underwater to get to the next cave which was pitch black and needed torches to navigate around. We were told by a local that majority of Fijians are too scared to do what we were doing as there were many stories about monsters being in the caves.

After a curry lunch which was a 5star meal compared to the day before, we went over to the Blue Lagoon for some snorkelling. This was the same location that the movie with the same title was filmed at, and we spent most of the afternoon just lazing about doing nothing. We then found a bar which was part of a different resort there, and spent the rest of the afternoon drinking cocktails, we left the place close to dinner time in agreeance that we would come back after dinner.

Sunrise was charging us $5 to listen to the local Fijians sing for us, so a group of about 10 of us with 2 torches hiked through the semi-rough terrain to get to the other side of the island again. The bar quickly re-opened when they saw the tourists. In the corner were a bunch of Fijians drinking, singing, playing guitar and just generally having a good time, when they saw us they pulled out some extra chairs and got us to join in their circle. The night was just brilliant, the tourists clapping along to Fijian songs, and then we would return the favour by playing some of our favourite tunes to them. I talked them into doing the Haka for us, however they would only do it if we sang Waltzing Matilda to them. They laughed and then showed us the Haka about 1m away from our faces, which was very intimidating. The night ended up with everybody dancing until the owners decided to call it a night.

DAY 4: We woke up again for the sunrise however this time planned it so we could get up, watch it, and go back to sleep all within 10 minutes which we managed to happen perfectly. However somehow this method doesnt seem as rewarding as watching the sun come up gradually.

We all left to our next island that day, so most of the morning was just spent chilling on the hammock listening to assorted tunes. As the girls were going to a different island for the next night we said our goodbyes and Monty and I headed for Korovou.

Now although the next place was still no resort, it was a hell of a lot better than Sunrise. There was a big balcony with a bar where everybody ate food on and the people were a lot friendlier. We were also relieved to find we had a twin bed so we rested a lot easier here knowing that our trip was looking up. Probably the best memory from this place would be playing volleyball with the locals while the sun was setting. Hear them argue about whether a ball was in or out in their local tongue is also something worth experiencing, you can do nothing but laugh.

Dinner for the night was a fish, head and all. This was the first time Ive tried eating a fish like this, and although it was damn tasty, it was too frustrating trying to pick the bones out. That night we learnt the Bula dance, and also had a musical chairs competition where we dance with a partner, I came close to winning but bailed out with about 4 couples out of 20 remaining. After that the night finished off with just drinking and chatting with Tim the American, 3 poms and an Aussie who worked for Channel 7 in Sydney.

DAY 5: Monty and I went for a 'hike' to the beach on the island which was only 20 mins. With 30 mins to check out and board the boat we thought we'd have a nice stroll along the beach. This ended up being more like rockclimbing quest as we tried walking and climbing over slippery rocks in wet shoes, my camera bag and backpack. My feet also got terribly hacked up along the walk and we ended up being late for checkout, but as the local motto of 'Fiji Time' indicates, no one cared.

So with our suitcases packed and our boat not coming until late afternoon, Monty and me invented Bula Cricket. The bat was a thong and the ball was a squash ball...after 20 minutes of playing we had drawn up about 5 lines on the beach and an ING Cup sign. After about an hours play, Monty was declared the winner with a score of 12. Paul Simon and a book entertained me for the rest of the day.

Kuata was where we were headed where we were picking up the girls from Bovaria along the way. However at this stop we were woken up by a crazy Melbourne girl (Nghi) telling us to spend the night on Bovaria with them and alter our plans. Before she had finished I was already boarding the boat to take us to the island. As Nghi had apparently gone to a lot of effort to get us onto the island, I felt like a celebrity when all the locals were saying 'Ah, you're Brendan!'. This place was still no resort, however was another step up from our last place Korovou. This is also where we met Canadians Peter and Celine who would continue on the rest of the trip with us who were damn cool people, as well as Megan from San Fran who was a great party girl to be on a tropical island with.

The snorkelling was top notch, and we also had free kayak hire. A Fijian called Joe was called out for a rescue mission early on after Monty dropped his snorkelling mask about 6-8 metres down, he later claimed he could go underwater for 10 minutes which he funnily enough never was able to prove. We walked up to the top of the lookout point for the sunset and also ran into some local villagers, Monty took their polaroid photos and gave them the shots, they were really impressed.

That night we ate some fish (cant remember how it was cooked), while being sung to by the local gospel choir which was just beautiful. The setting of eating outside on a tropical island with live choir music is something you can only experience. We them got stuck into Phase 10, a card game introduced to us by Cat where a few cocktails were enjoyed. Some of the Fijians tried to have their way with some of the touring girls but weren't too lucky.

DAY6: We started off the morning on a trip to snorkel with the manta rays. We didnt see any, however the coral and fish were quite amazing to look at. I also suspected I saw a shark, but thats unconfirmed. Probably the coolest thing about the trip was when Joe found a massive clam underwater and gave a piece to anyone who was willing on the boat. I ate a couple of bites worth and I guess the best taste I could use to describe it was salty capsicum.

We then went to Kuata where not a whole lot was done during the day as we arrived there quite late. After getting into a $5 bag of twisties (the biggest bag of twisties ive ever seen) I didnt eat the noodles but it looked good. The night entertainment was probably the best organised out of any of the islands, we started off on the Bula dance where yours truly won a can of Fiji Bitter from, as well as a snake dance. After Dina gave us an example of some Indian dancing which was quite insightful, a few of us got up on the dancefloor. My infamous 1...2...3 bum hit seemed to be enjoyed by the local girls, as next morning one of them imitated the dance then they all giggled.

DAY7: The morning of Kuata started off with us going for a short, but challenging hike up to the top of the peak. I nicknamed our guide 'Lil Dice' as he looked exactly like the character from City of God. So after taking in the view and getting some local knowledge from Lil Dice we walked back down which was just as tough as going up, as it was very steep and easy to fall.

We then went Kayaking around the island with Lil Dice, and got pointed out the big cliff from the movie Castaway, which looks a lot smaller in real life. We also managed to see a turtle swimming which was cute seeing his head pop out now and again.

Rest of the day was spent doing nothing. We said our goodbyes to Megan the American and exchanged email addresses.Monty and I left for Bounty Island while the Melbourne girls, Pete and Celine went to South Sea Island.

Bounty was easily the best island on the tour, we arrived for happy hour which had half price drinks (we got a $20 jug for $10) and the food was something that youd happily pay $30 for, plus there were seconds. The night started off with a kava ceremony. Kava is basically a root which gets grounded up and is placed in a big bowl which you drink cups of. The locals drink it like we drink beer, but instead of beer kava makes you chill out and makes your mouth numb. The ceremony started with a pom being Chief and me being his speaker, in traditional times the speakers role would be to follow the Chief wherever he went and spoke on his behalf, a lot like a PA in modern terms. This wasnt the first time ive had Kava, but the taste is displeasing at first, it basically just tastes like mud, however after a few you start to develop a taste for it and you begin to enjoy it.

While some other played pool, I had got a bit sick of chatting to tourists with the same replicated conversation every time (Where are you from, where have you been, where are you going etc), so I went down and sat with a couple of locals who were just by themselves. After about 1 hour of chatting with them and sharing stories we became quite good friends, and got given their addresses as they wanted me to send them pics of the night. It was about 2 or 3am and I had had about 14 or 15 cups of kava and definitely feeling mellowed out. The night was definitely the best of the whole trip, being able to joke with the Fijians as if you were best friends at the pub was a great experience.

DAY8: We had to leave early from Bounty for our day yacht trip, we were reluctant to do so as we had such a great time there and wanted to experience more of what the island had to offer. We were also meeting up with the girls again so we were also happy at the same time. The owner of Bounty Island walked us to our boat, and after sharing a few personal jokes from the night before and thanking each other, we left.

The yacht cruise enabled us to meet a cool chick named Sybille from Germany, as well as another type of tourist we hadnt seen on the trip...a lot of Japs. Free drinks were offered on the yacht which I had to decline from the hangover of the kava drinking, but it was quite a pleasant and relaxing day. First stop was at a village where another kava ceremony was held, unlike the night before I had to force this cup down. Afterwards we docked at Castaway Island (where the movie was filmed) and snorkled. The coral wasnt so great, but the fish were the best I had seen on the trip, very big and they weren't afraid of human interaction. The food just got better and better as well, we had a bbq cooked up for us on the yacht which helped me forget about my hangover.

That night we stopped at Beachcomber Island which had the reputation for being the big party island.

From memory we had curry on the first night which was fantastic. We got into our best clothes and quickly got stuck into the beer so we were ready for karaoke. I was paranoid Mark Holden or Simon Cowell was going to stick his head out from behind a coconut tree and shot my head off as I redid the masterpieces of Country Roads and Yellow Submarine. After that we went dancing where a 40 year old woman came up to me and said 'I like your style' which ended up being the joke of the night.

DAY 9: I woke up unable to find my camera, so I marched down to the spot we were sitting and couldnt find it there either. I marched into reception and saw Pete and Celine and hardly took notice of them when I found out nothing had been handed in. I marched back into my room about to put my fist though something when Monty woke up, looked at my suitcase for a total of 1 second and pointed to my camera. I sat down on the seat and laughed for a good minute.

The day was spent mostly doing nothing at all apart from just eating and waiting for night to come. Monty Pete and I walked to the other side of the island (a whole 2 minute walk) to see the sun go down which was fantastic. We then all enjoyed our last supper together as a group, and then got into crab racing. I won the auction for a crab named Russian Vodka which went for $17. The crab after mine had an Aussie name to it and went for about $60. Unfortunately I didnt win.

The next contest I entered was a rocknroll comp and my partner was Dina. Unfortunately we didnt win that either.

So the bar shut at 12 and I was left wondering how am I going to enjoy my final night on a tropical island when I spotted some people enjoying kava in the corner. I went over and donated $5 to get some and we were up until about 4am drinking. Eventually the rugby talk got too much for me so I went to bed.

DAY 10: Woke up at 9:50 and checkout was at 10. Quickly packed up my stuff and we spent the whole morning playing Phase 10. As we were all leaving on Sunday we agreed to meet up for a final time and get some pizza. That night was spent at the backpackers chatting to some poms I had met on Bounty Island.

DAY 11: Went into Nadi town to check out the markets. The place is full of indians trying to get you into their shop, after buying some cheap clothing we got out of there and played at possibly the worst golf course ive ever played on. The ground was too hard to stick your tee in, and there were cracks all over the fairway where your ball would be lost if it went down. To make matters worse I went from a lead of 6 to losing by 5. We then went to call a taxi from the golf club, where the bartender got his friend to drop us off home for $5, this was the second time we had been driven by a non-taxi, and we felt completely safe doing so.

Our last night in Nadi was fairly quiet, we chatted to an American until 10 or so until we called it a day.

DAY12: The most boring and worst day of the trip. We agreed to meet at our Hostel at 11 with our new friends, however we waited and waited and they never came. Twice I checked with the desk if anyone had called and I was told no. Waiting for 6 hours for a flight to come has to be the most boring thing in the world. We eventually got to the airport where we found Pete and Celine, they told us that they left multiple messages for us, which werent passed onto us. We were quite disapointed with the way the last day had turned out.

If youve got down this far, then congratulations you must be real bored.

All in all, was probably the best 10 days or so of my life, the people you meet both tourists and locals make it all worthwhile. People can go from Perth to Sydney, or Auckland to London but you are still stuck in western civilisation. We went from one extreme to the other and felt completely comfortable the whole time. If you are someone I met on the trip, then thankyou. If I spoke to you for 1 minute about where you're from or if I spent the whole time with you, thankyou for making my trip so good.

Rest of my photos can be found here: http://members.iinet.net.au/~hedaik/fiji/
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