Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Nadi, Fiji

Under the sea,
Under the sea,
Darling it’s better,
Down where it’s wetter,
Take it from me…

That played in my head continuously when I was lazing around in the Intercontinental Resort in Fiji.



BULA!

Leong gang

Smiles, warmth and familiarity emits from everyone you see.

Our one week stay in Fiji consisted of lazing around in the resort located 45 minutes from Nadi airport for the first 4 days and then the rest of the trip we travelled around Lami and Suva to visit my dad’s relatives and friends.



Gone are the days to rising every morning to a gourmet buffet breakfast, an omelette stand which you take full advantage of when you’re there early with no queue, order, go for a round of food to fill your plate to return to the stand and your omlette awaiting you. Get there around 9AM onwards and that luxury turns into a 10 people queue and standing there while it cooks.

A photo posted by Cassie (@jfromwithin) on

Our first day we enjoy Natadola Beach, just behind the Intercon Resort. The waters are crystal clear, and I cannot resist but to take a dip. As I am not much of a beach person, and the first time I was in Fiji, dad had thrown me right into the waters. As we were always told, sea water helps eczema – so I have always hated it. The stinging was evident, but the aftermath my skin did seem to not be as dry.


The family are all over the hotel, while we are on the beach basking in the sun, my aunt and her mother are off to the side enjoying a lovely massage. My parents and other aunts and uncles are walking about. My brother, cousins, uncle and dad then enjoyed a lovely 30 minute horse ride on the beach. It was only our first day, and they were all sunburnt already! All from a horse ride…


Being in the sun can be so exhausting, no joke. As the family were all lounging on the couches in the bar as we waited for a quick bite. Such a hard life we all live.

Tivua Island

We joined several tours, one of the tours we joined were via Captain Cook Cruises out to a private island, Tivua. It can take you a whole 6 minutes to walk around the entire island. Here you have a whole day of activities like snorkeling, canoeing, glass boat rides with a buffet lunch included.  It was such a shame, my brother and I had his gopro all ready to go and yet when we were snorkeling the batteries had somehow been all used up! The waters were clear, the fishes amazingly beautiful and the corals, unfortunately some had died from a not too long ago disaster.

Snorkeling
As we had enough people for our own tour, we requested to go to a local curry house in Nadi. The local city is completely different to what you are exposed to of Fiji, but it was an experience for us to have. Even though English is not a problem in Fiji, it was still a bonus to have my dad and uncles able to speak in Fijian to the locals.

Our early dinner ...

Their curries are absolutely amazing; you get a choice of chicken, goat or beef with either a side of roti or rice. Don’t worry about rice, but we love their roti, tearing it apart and dipping it into the spicy yet addictive sauces.  It is a shame that the hotels don’t really offer curry much and are generally your typical westernized pasta, burgers, sandwiches and steak.

A photo posted by Cassie (@jfromwithin) on

Mum used to braid my hair when I was a young girl, but in the spirit of being in Fiji and miss teenager cousin really wanted it done, we headed off to the outskirts of our resort. Sitting just outside the border of the hotel were some village people who offered tourists massages and hair braiding. So we spent about half an hour there as they did 4 braids for us two girls.


My dad and his brothers are from a village named Bua, it is located in Savu Savu, another island off Fiji. It’s unfortunate we are not able to pop in there to visit this time round, but maybe next time. Even though, they probably will not know anyone in the village now, as they left for Suva when they were young, it would have been nice to see where they were raised for a short amount of their childhood.

They were standing there waiting ...



However, we still got to visit another village, Batiri which is near our resort. We meet one of the men who is like the right hand man to the village chief. Unfortunately we didn’t get to meet the chief, as he was unwell.

A classroom

It was interesting to see how the schooling system worked over there. Due to the lack of teachers, they need to join two schooling years into one class. If the students were late to school, their punishment were things such as picking up rubbish, cleaning the toilets and such. They all learn English and Fijian in school, and at home they will speak their own village language. As we visited on a Saturday, we were unable to see the school actually running, and luckily a classroom was left unlocked thus we got to have our own teacher running with my little cousin, “Good morning class, I am Mr Leong.”

The making of kava

If kava is offered, you cannot reject it ...

The village greeted us at their hall, with girls handing out handmade flower necklaces to each of us. As we had chosen our chief, little Mr Leong, we commenced with their common Fiji ritual, the drinking of kava. They offer to your chief, he shouts bula, claps three times and accepts the bowl of kava and drinks it. For those who don’t know what kava is, it is a Fijian alcohol. I would say it’s more like a drug, as it is made from tree roots. And for those who have not tried it like myself, I have been told it’s sort of like drinking mud water. But the taste also really depends on the person who makes the kava as well.

Dancing with a villager

And Fijians all love to sing and dance, so without further ado they started to perform for us. Not long after that, we found that we were all pulled into dancing as well. They are so warm and welcoming, their pure nature really makes you feel accepted within their small little community.

Sunset on the boat ride

Robinson Crusoe staff welcoming with songs

We return to the hotel and wait for our next bus which will take us to the river, and on board the titanic boat and onto the island, Robinson Crusoe. Under the hot Fijian night sky, we were going to watch the fire dancing. We were excited, and how else to get us all in spirit, to get us all singing and dancing on the boat ride over of course!

Harabuji drinking kava

Lovo digging

Fire walking

We undergo the kava tradition again here at Robinson Crusoe, watch lovo digging and simply just wait for our buffet dinner again.


Then the real show starts, it is amazing! The way they throw their fire sticks, catch it, spin it and just the whole atmosphere was great. We thoroughly enjoyed the show, and had a lot of fun.


We travel back in the river back to our buses. What is amazing is, there is not a single light to be seen along the river, the stars were shining brightly above us, millions and millions of them. The path ahead was pitch black, a little fear in all of us wondering how we will get back. But no fear, a man will sit a top your boat and with his torch did an amazing job directing the driver where to turn and how to stay in the middle of the river.


And that, ends our stay at the Intercontinental Fijian Resort stay, we then got our hired cars and head out on our three hour drive to Lami for the next leg of our trip …

Vinaka!


6 comments:

  1. You guys look like you are having such a great time! We had our honeymoon in Fiji but sadly haven't been back since. I loved hearing Bula all the time! :D

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    1. The way they say bula is so welcoming! :D
      I hadn't been back for over 10 years, and we all wanted to except dad.. until he got there! haha!

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  2. Dear Cassie,

    The curry platter looks enticing though I wonder why there are so many bottles of soy sauce on your table. I would have chosen the goat curry :)

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    1. wow, attention to detail! i was there and did not even notice that they had the soy sauce there! I was too entranced by the curry :D

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  3. A very entertaining trip this was, Cassie! Culture, food and fun in one...

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

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    1. yes, very much enjoyed! It was a great insight :D

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