Welcome to Fiji!
Finally, our first real Pacific island destination! After an extremely timely flight; getting up at four, at the airport at five and leaving at six we arrived at Nadi International Airport on Viti Levu in Fiji!
We were greeted at the airport by local representative Vere who gave us the famous welcoming necklace. She gave us a ride in her car to the Newtown Beach Motel, which is about ten minutes driving time from the airport. The first thing we did was lie down and trying to get used to the climate…hot and moist, not something Dutch people are accustomed to. J
Fiji was our hub from where we wanted to visit the other islands like Kiribati, Tuvalu and Samoa.
The easiest way really, since Fiji is the biggest country in the region and its airline (Air Pacific) is the only one operating throughout these parts. Our first stay in Nadi would only be two days, not very long but inevitable in order to make it to Kiribati which was to be next on the list. Besides, we had plenty of Fiji time later on in our schedule, so a short first stay wasn’t a real problem.
We had our own private swimming pool at the motel
The only thing we did during this first visit was getting to know Nadi (which is actually pronounced Nandi). We took a taxi from the motel to the town, a ten minute drive for a small fee of around 4 euro. We stumbled upon a nice looking café called Bulaccino where we could also get online while enjoying a cool drink. One of the owners heard us talking to each other in Dutch and immediately spoke to us in our native tongue. The guy had lived over half his life in Holland and had returned to Fiji the previous year to start up his business. It’s a small world I guess. ;-)
A warning for everyone wanting to go to Fiji: people will talk to you, touch you and try to get information in order to eventually get some money out of you.
It’s never really aggressive, but you should be careful and firmly but politely decline their advances!
The first Pacific sunset
Nadi isn’t very inspiring, despite it being the second largest settlement on Fiji after the capital Suva. The main street is a big variety of all kinds of small stores and shops. Well worth a visit was the Hindu temple Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami. A beautifully decorated building with a lot of bright colours. We were able to visit the temple against a small fee of about three Fiji dollars (which included the ‘right’ to also take pictures within the grounds). We were asked to remove our shoes before entering the temple, the explanation being a sign of respect.
The evening before leaving Fiji for Kiribati was the first time we managed to get a few great shots of a real Pacific sunset. We were lucky enough to view it against the backdrop of a dance show given by the restaurant we chose to eat in. A great ending of our first Fijian visit!