FIJI - My Adventures Continue
By Gillian Scholes
Last updated: 30th April 2012
I have touched down in Fiji and back to tell you all about my experiences along the way. First of all, as I walked off the plane I was greeted by three Fijian Men dressed in Sarongs playing guitars and singing, I was then serenaded with a sea shell necklace at baggage claim – I think Heathrow has missed the point somehow. I took the transfer to Smuggelers cove – a beach front backpackers and my first stop in Nadi before my tour the next morning. That evening we were entertained by six sweaty men in sarongs who performed a traditional dance and then showed off their machete skills as we all happily took photos and watched on the side lines.
So over the next 4 days I am taking a round trip around the main island Viti Levu. All transport and accommodation is included in the package organised by Gap 360 and Jerry our tour guide is all the more excited to get stuck into the activities planned for us. Day 1: 8am pick up and the first stop is Nadi town markets. I was drawn to the fruit stalls where I got my hands on some fresh pineapple for only 50p. As we turned the corner this young man approached me offering a look as his hand crafted souvenirs. Being one not to turn down a local bargain I agreed, however as I was being taken down this side alley I was regretting my decision to be so trusting. However, all turned out ok and ‘Tony’ decided to serenade me with a Fijian welcome whereby we sat around a bowl of ‘Kava’ the local drink made from grounded roots and water which is then sieved through what looked like a sock. Before we drank we had to clap three times while Tony gave us a brief history lesson and informed me that turtles bring good luck to women. 30 minutes later and after politely declining his offer to stay in his hut I said my thankyous, purchased a turtle necklace and was on my way to the local supermarket for more important supplies.
Natadola beach was the second stop for the day – where I began my tan marathon while the boys and Big Will put on a great BBQ with fresh fish, pumpkin, potato salad and pineapple. It was then on to take part in some sand boarding; as the boys led the way showing us how to do it and how not to get a mouthful of sound…us girls trekked up the sand hill and screamed our way down. Of course, group leader Jerry could do one better and attempted to surf down, only to face plant and end up rolling down the hill finishing covered head to toe in sand.
Our final stop for the night is Mango Bay…which is everything you picture in Fiji. My beach front ‘bure’ hosts an outdoor shower and my own hammock…just got to watch out for the lack of lighting and hope I don’t end up walking into the wrong hut after tonight’s family meal. All in all my first day had been a good balance of relaxation, culture and entertainment…Everyone in Fiji is very welcoming and you are quick to learnt the local world ‘Bula’ meaning hello. Although recently they experience flooding in most areas there is no sign of the floods, instead I have seen beautiful landscapes and lush green forestry…Looking forward to seeing what the next few days bring!!