Amber, Jon and I arrived on Wednesday 7am at the Nadi airport where we were greeted by four Fijian men playing ukuleles and nodding their heads as they smiled and said “Bula”. The Feejee experience bus picked us up at 8am- so no sleep for about an entire day and then we are off right away to start our adventures in Fiji. Before starting the activities scheduled for the day we made a stop at a local super market to pick up- of course, water and lots of it; we also stopped by a souvenir shop- Jon was stoked especially when coming across the war clubs- he had to get one. But as we were making our way there I realized how refreshing it was to actually be somewhere foreign. Australia is amazing but it does not feel foreign. Its nice to actually see something different, a unique culture. We first made our way to a beach where I once again took my chances at swimming.
We also met Dave from England (majored in Physics – Let’s go science) He’s awesome- We are now a pack of 4 rather than three. The next bit- the village visit, I absolutely loved. This village consists of an open field sparsely covered with small shacks. As we walked through the village we could easily glance into the homes of the Fijian families- the children often sitting on the front steps screaming BULA! Their heads peering through the old bed sheets that are used as curtains. Once we had walked far enough the children would run out to the dirt roads covering their mouths with one hand to stop their uncontrollable giggling. Here we learned how most villages are structured and a little about the Kava ceremonies.
After we said our goodbyes and waved back at the villagers as we drove away we stopped at the nearby sand dunes. The dunes were much more intense then I had imagined. Before making it down on a boogie board we had to make it up to the top of the sand dune. This required trekking up the side of the sand hill. The sun had already done its work- with one hand holding a boogie board, sweat dripping down our faces, backs, and chest, we fought the burning sensation of our feet on the burning hot sand. The view from all directions is breath taking. On one end a sea of hills and rooftops of numerous villages was visible and across that was the still water of the ocean, its blue horizon complementing the clear blue sky. A quick briefing abd push from our tour guide, Raffa, lead to a full speed slide down the hill- so fast, the momentum pushed me off my board and I went rolling a few feet away from where I landed. Of course one surf was not enough. This marked the end of our days activities sitting in our own filth- sweat, bug spray, sun screen, and sand- our hearts still racing from excitement we cooled off with the air conditioning on the bus as we sat patiently waiting for our arrival at the Mango Bay Resort.
When I booked this trip I imagined we would be staying at hostels- large dorm rooms with sketch looking bathrooms, and messy kitchens-(but we were staying at proper resorts) when walking to my room at the MBR I was surprised and pleased with the beauty of the place. The MBR has well kept greenery walking from my room to the restaurant (which overlooked the beach) felt as if I were walking through the botanical gardens. There is not much that can beat a delicious seafood dinner while over looking the waves of the ocean and listening to a Fiji performer play the guitar and sing great tunes. By this time I was over whelmed and tired but refused to go to bed so I asked the group to join me on a walk on the beach. The beach was nearly pitch black dark; as we walked we noticed the flashing of a light coming from the hands of a Fijian boy who was crabbing with his family. The family of five were casually walking along the beach with a sack, flash lights, and a stick for catching what was to be their dinner. They invited us to join. I volunteered to catch the next one- I reached over towards the rock wall where a large sized crab was trying to avoid being caught; grabbed it by its sides and dumped him in the sack. Dave also gave it a go but nearly lost his crab.
We had arrived back at the restaurant on time for a performance by some of the locals. Their big smiles, twists and turns, and shouts filled the crowd with energy. And then they pulled out the swords and fire dancing- Partay Win. After a few dances and a few laughs we made our way to get get some shut eye before our 7am departure for Day 2.