Feejee... What an Experience!

Trip Start Aug 01, 2007
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Trip End Jan 11, 2009


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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Wow, what an amazing week thus far in Fiji!

Last Wednesday, I woke up in the wee hours of the morning to catch a cab to the Auckland airport. What for? A little "holiday within a holiday". (And I figure, my travel route is so non-sensical anyways so far, why the heck not?)

I spent two nights in Nadi. I met up with an English girl named Sarah who was also booked onto the same Feejee Experience bus as me. We took the local bus into town which was such an awesome experience in itself, both days. The windows are open air with tarps to roll down when it rains, and local tunes blare over the radio. On the second day, we went for lunch and had the best pizza I have seriously ever had- including New York! "The Aussie"- egg and ham. YUM is all I can say!

On Friday night, T, one of the bartenders who used to work for Feejee Ex, took a group of us out on a little "bar crawl". We first went to a local watering hole, ohana, for a round. Then it was off to the dance club where we sweated like you would not believe, and juat had an awesome time dancing until Sarah and I decided to pack it in in order to get up early for the bus the next day.

Saturday morning, the Feejee Experience began! We did SO much in 4 days, this is going to be a long one! We started by heading back into nadi town for some pre-trip shopping. This inclided sarongs and tee-shirts for village visits, cash and water stock-ups, and we even hit the fruit market for some dirt-cheap deals on local produce. Then we headed onwards to Natadola beach, my first beach in Fiji! It was gorgeous, and apparently it will be nothing compared to the islands I am headed out to tomorrow! Then we had a fantastic BBQ lunch prepared by our guide, Miriam. Later on, it was a short village visit, our first introduction into the Fijian lifestyle. It was pretty cool, unfortunately not very long! But we got to see traditional houses that they live in (they really are what we would consider like a shack- but to them, it is their normal way of life!). Lastly, we finished up with some sandboarding at the sigatoka sand dunes. I have already done this in NZ- but holy hell were these ones STEEP! Looking up (or down) them was really daunting, but it was actually a much shorter ride than the one in Cape Reinga. Finally, it was back on the bus one final time for the day to take us to our accomodation, Mango Bay. We all jumped in the pool ASAP, and started up a game of pool volleyball. Mom's teenage skills finally decided to show up and I whooped some ass. I served seven in a row before finally tripping up when everyone decided to stare to see the fierce look that apparently comes across my face whenever I go! Then it was KAVA TIME! Wow, that stuff is gross. it looks, and tastes, like muddy water. It is the national drink of Fiji, and it's a narcotic. Basically all Fijians have it every single night before they can go to sleep. After a bonfire and some sleep, finally time for bed!

Day two took us from Mango Bay to Suva. If only it were as simple as that... we completed an 11 km trek! The actualy route is only 8km, however the road is extremely rough and impassable by the truck a lot of the times. It was sweltering hot and the first half was all in the open sun... I do not think I have ever sweat so much in my life. Serious. Suffice to say I was at the back of the pack pretty much the whole time. About halfway through, the path left the open sun and started through the rainforest itself. It was extremely hilly and muddy, and SLIPPERY. I think I held the record for the day for most slips... however I was pretty lucky in, I didn't actually fall really hard at all and made it through with only minor scrapes and bruises. (and very muddy clothes). Then, it was time for the river walk. About 20 minutes of walking through water ranging from ankle to knee deep. It was actually a welcome break from the heat, as painful as pebbles getting in my sandals and under my feet was. Then, the last part (finally!) and mountain climb. Up and down! It was extremely steep for the last portion, and thank God for the ropes some brilliant person installed beside the path.

Once we completed the trek, and came out alive, we had a picnic lunch on the riverside before plopping ourselves in some inner tubes for a float/paddle down the river. What a welcome relief! Our destination: waterfall. We made some daring jumps and had a fun (that was sarcastic!) time getting ourselves out of the current. Lets just say thank goodness the guys were waiting to grab us and pull us toward the rocks! Lastly we finished with a long cruise back down the river in a longboat, getting completely soaked (more soaked?) since the rain had started. So good that it held out til we were done! (and we were also really lucky since the next group the left wasn't able to do it, since the river flooded due to pouring rain for 3 days straight starting in Suva!) Then we booted it to the hostel where we showered ourselves silly, and had an amazing buffet and watched a movie (Fantastic 4) with popcorn! We all crashed pretty early since we were totally knackered. (Yes, I am picking up lots of English slang!)

Sarah and I hopped off the bus at this point. I had everything all well planned out, so I thought. We were going to get the Ferry to Levuka, on Ovalau, and spend a night there before heading back for another night in Suva to catch the next bus through. HOWEVER. Despite both the internet and the Lonely Planet guide telling me that ferries departed daily, when we called up Patterson brothers, there was no ferry on Monday! So we basically just chilled and explored Suva for 2 extra days. Turned out ok, since the rain began! On the first day, as we were walking towards the Fiji Museum, a Fijian man introduced himself (a schoolteacher)and said it wasn't safe to walk around alone. (It perfectly was- middle of the day!) Anyways, he led us to the museum and showed us around, and then walked us back to town (through the rainstorm) and took us to this really cool cafe place that is run by a Methodist church. The cakes were actually amazing and it was super cheap. A cool thing we never would have found on our own. by this point we were exhausted (again!) so he showed us which bus to catch and we headed back for a nap and shower, before dinner and a DVD.

We woke up on Tuesday to lashing rain. We had to head into town though, as Sarah had an issue with an ATM withdrawal- only after getting back, she realized the ATM only gave her $180 instead of the $300 she typed in. Too bad, they said everything had balancedthe day before and she was screwed out of that money. After spending way too much (but! I finished all my Christmas shopping in OCTOBER!)we headed to the cinema. It was dirt cheap- only $4.50! (matinee- reg price $6, big bucks!). Fiji is nearly half Indo-Fijian- so we decided to treat ourselves to a Bollywood flick, "Jab we Met". It was a story about two people who met on a train and blah blah blah end up together. But it was actually really excellent and we really enjoyed it! The music was pretty good too!

Yesterday, we hopped back on the bus. This was another really cool day. There were only two people on the bus so they were glad to see us! Our first stop was another village visit, a proper one this time. Normally it had to be guys as the chief and spokesperson- however as Iain was the only guy, i got to be a female spokesperson! Pretty cool. We did a formal kava ceremony, and after our gift was accepted, the males (being Iain and Cam, the guide) kept drinking kava while the girls wove bracelets. (Typical.) Anyways, we actually only wove like 1/4 of ours, then got to purchase for only $1. I also picked up another one as well, bargain! It was cool too since there were so few of us, Iain made his own bracelet and we drank some more kava. Unusual! Then the cheif gave us permission to use his river and billibilli (bamboo) rafts. Sarah and I lucked out and got to sit and chill and enjoy the views while Cam and another Fijian paddled- the other raft held the chief, Iain and Helen so they all had to paddle. we all jumped in for a swim and some keep up the ball. (we sucked). then it was a race- we won, no thanks to Sarah and I I must admit! Next up was the school visit. We brought some supplies we had purchased earlier as gifts. it was cool since we had a primary school- the Fijian kids are fascinated by white people, and the young ones like to grab your hands and high-five. We had lots of songs sang to us- the year three class didn't even have a teacher that day, but they asked Cam if we could come visit anyways and they sang. I even taught the year fours something new- the capital of Canada!! On a side note, they all have to bring toothbrushes to school and brush when they get there and after lunch. Cool!!

Yesterday was Halloween at Volivoli beach! Its really a non-event here in Fiji, however some people dressed up, and we played some games and I won some free drinks. It was pretty unusual to have a kava ceremony in fancy dress! An interesting Halloween anyways thats for sure!

Today, we awoke to some sunshine (finally!) After brekkie, we headed down to the beach. After some lazing in the water, we decided to get proactive and take out the kayaks. Someone (ok, it was me :S) had the brilliant idea to paddle out to the island across the way. (I would estimate almost a mile). Anyways, after lots of hard work, we finally made it. It was really cool though, when the water got shallow, the water was crystal clear and we could see coral below us- pretty cool! After a bit of a rest we headed back for some more keep up the ball. Around mid day we piled onto the bus for our last day. We had lunch at a curry place where I sampled some goat for the first time! Kind of like lamb. Our final stop on the green bus was the Sabeto mud pools. This was awesome!! The water is thermal so it was nice and warm, and we got all coated up for a photo op. (And a skin treatment too!) Then we rinsed off in another thermal pool- this one was super hot, ouch! After dropping Iain off at the airport, we returned to th Nomads Skylodge. I'm being a bit anti-social right now, but I have to update this sooner or later, and tomorrow bright and early, I am headed off to the marina to jump on the Yasawa Flyer to sail out to the islands for 6 days of lazing in the sun. it'll be great to just chill now!

XOXO
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Comments

tumbleweeds
tumbleweeds on

Speechless!!!
Wow Shawna - what an amazing entry. I can't believe you did all that in four days... what an incredible experience. That was great to see/hear the video of the bus - I felt like I was on it with you. I can't wait to see you next week - but until then, I hope you have a very relaxing time chilling on the beach.

Love,
Auntie Melissa

countrychick
countrychick on

Amazing !!!
Hey Shawna,
Looks like your having the time of your life. What an amazing photo album/s your going to have when you put all of your adventures together. Stay safe and have fun !!

Mom Young

tw_aaron
tw_aaron on

Fast and furious in Fiji
Wow - quite the action packed trip! I never got to see a Bollywood film while I was in Fiji, sadly.

Your trip out west looks like a blast. The cool thing about Fiji is that it is so friendly and laid back that you can travel the whole country and have amazing experiences wherever you go. Next time you'll have to check out Tribewanted (http://tribewanted.com) to try out being immersed in Fijian culture. It's also off of Vanua Levu in the north, so it will provide a different experience from Nadi and the Yasawas.

Happy travels!

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