the perfect fijian vacation

Nadi Travel Blog

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holy crap.

i am still jet lagged from the long trans-pacific flight from Nadi to L.A. I am staying at a friends house with two cats whom i am slightly allergic too. I sit here, typing and drinking some tea and ask myself "where have I been the last few months??...even the last week". Culture shock maybe. March is not the time to go to Fiji. It is rainy season. And, Nadi had bad bad floods in January...still obvious several weeks later. Peoples house were underwater...water to the roof line and they still live there. They have no where else to go but back to their house that was under flood water for days if not weeks. Locals living in shack creations...some with running water. I think Fiji, after a bit of a natural disaster, is similar to a third world country. A bit of poverty, not the cleaniest towns. And, the Coo. Military over threw the government a couple of years ago i guess. Military rule. Dictatorship. A few guys with all the power and money, controlling the police, courts...everything. Locals told me stories of how they are arrested and beaten. And, there is nothing that can be done about it. The common wealth may pull all supplies out of Fiji in the coming months unless democratic elections are held soon. That would mean no rice, no flour for the locals. But, the military leaders will not hold elecions willingly...they will lose their power and go to jail if the government goes back to being run by the people.

I got off the plane on a sunday afternoon. Was not really expecting to be pounced on by all the travel and tourist companies once you clear customs at the Nadi airport. Be prepared and be rude to get what you want and not be sold some bullshit you do not want. I took a taxi to Ed's place, in the hills just outside town. Meet Ed on Couchsurfing.com. The taxi driver didnt know where it was. we got a little lost. He tried to convince me to go to a hotel...also desperate for a wife like so many Indian and Fijian men are. I think this just fueled my taste to find a fijian adventure a little more Found Ed's place no worries. Beautiful compound. he built it all. Big dormitory style room in the back. Big beautiful deck and hammocks. I was going to go to Suva for a few days during my trip but, asked if i could just hang out at Ed's place for the four nights/five days of my stop in Fiji. Its better to just chill in a place for a few days and get to know it then to try to see the entire island or country in such a short period of time. It took a while to learn that travel lesson. I digress.

Wow. I just hung out at Ed's place for five days. Wow. i seriously watched pirated DVD's, smoked, drank beer, drank even more kava, went to the beach everyday, bought food at the open air market and contributed towards dinner everynight. Freakin paradise. i mean, it is exactly the fijian vacation i wanted. cool chill locals, getting fucked up and eating well. sleeping in the hammock and chillin in the pool by the beach. Its the side of Fiji i wanted to see...how the locals live not how the tourists relax. I just can't do the tourist package trip...not for me.

So, I took $250 FJD cash with me to Fiji. I didn't really have a budget, just had a maximum allowance to spend so, starting with $250 FJD was alright with me. I arrived back at the airport with $5 left over five days later. Good budgeting! I paid for as much as Ed would allow me while at his place. I paid for all the transport, as much food as i could, i bought a kilo of kava tea for $38 at the market...good strong kava tea to bring home with me to the states. Ed and Ronnie (the house care taker) gave me two homemade coconut bowls for drinking the tea out of. Thats all the souveniers i wanted. I try to be a good guest when i am couchsurfing...i try to pay for food or cook food or pitch in with costs. Its the least i can do. I was prepared to spend $200 FJD on my own room at a hostel/hotel for the four nights i was there. It was much more comfortable to hang out with the locals and it was fun to be the center of attention at times. People come over to the house to see this white european women who can drink kava tea with the pacific island boys all night long. I stand out when i'm in fiji. In town, with the locals, i stick out so obviously. I played pool with Ronnie one afternoon and i was the only white person and female in the pool hall. Glad i had Ronnie. Being escourted around by a local was ideal. He knew who to go to in the market for Kava tea and other produce.

Hot Bread kitchens. Fresh bread and rolls. Really good tea rolls with butter cream for 35 cents. Loaf of bread 70 cents to 1.50 depending on size and if its sliced. Good, fresh, kitchens all over. Just ask around for Hot Bread Kitchens.

Half Indian culture and half Fijian culture. So, Fijians are lazy. They tell me this, it is not a judgement on my part. Fijians lay around, drink kava then beer, smoke and are very relaxed no worries people. There is alot of sugar cane in Fiji...the best sugar i have ever tasted on this planet! Fijians won't do the work of harvesting the sugar cane...so, back in the early 1900's maybe, the british brought over a bunch of Indians to do the work. So, now there is a healthy mix of Indians and Fijians. Sometimes they get along well together. But usually, they stick to their own nationalties. Maybe a little bit of tension between the two...the Fijians see the Indians as snobs, they are hard workers who spend their money to show the wealth they have. Indians see Fijians as a lazy bunch. Maybe its a higher class tension with both sides holding their noses up in the air. It was interesting cause i had several Indian boys ask me about marriage. In their culture, it is bizarre for a women of my age to still be single and theres massive pressure to get married off in these families. Indians...the couple of taxi drivers i had whom were indian definately tried to husstle more money out of me. make sure you travel with plenty of change to make exact fare. and make them turn on the meter if you travel alone and do not have a local guide.

15 languages. There are about 15 dialects spoken in Fiji. The locals are lazy and will speak using all 15 languages if it will make the sentence shorter. It was fun for me because i only understand one of the 15 languages so i only understood bits and pieces of conversation. But, the inflection in voice and reactions of people is enough to tell the story. Beware people trying to steal from you. Fiji is a depressed economy right now. People are desperate for anything. I was swimming one day when a hotel guest had his bag stollen. Only towels, nothing valuable but, still beware.

I will return to Fiji. It was a good spontaneous story stop.

goezi says:
Nice one.
Glad it was all you hoped it was going to be.
Fitting end to the adventure huh?
Posted on: Mar 20, 2009
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photo by: SheLuvz2Fly