Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fiji Continued...

Once on Taveuni, there wasn't much to do besides a lot of relaxing. We went and swam at some big waterfalls one day, and I got my Scuba Diving certification. But other than that, it was just lounging about on hammocks and scavenging for coconuts.

This was the local airport on Taveuni island

The airstrip was paved, but the terminal seemed more like an open-air bus stop. When we approached the counter, the Air Pacific employee asked us for our names, found us on a printed list of passengers and checked us in with a pencil. He didn't even ask for identification.

Fire Dance

We spent our last night on Fiji watching a free fire dancing show in Nadi at a local resort. We were really impressed with the skill and dedication of the dancers!


Monday, January 30, 2012

Bula! Fiji

Bula! Here are some photos from our Christmas trip to Fiji. It is impossible to fully articulate the experience of these islands in photographs. These shots, unfortunately, do not come close to telling the whole story of our journey. One brilliant (yet strangely not photograph-able) aspect of Fiji is the wonderful personality of the people there. They are so friendly, welcoming and honest. Another thing is the landscape: the wild, hyper-fertile, tropical plants all around defy the photographer's earnest efforts to capture their intricate beauty. Only the naked eye can do them justice. There is an aspect of Fiji that those who didn't join us will not miss: the ferry ride from the big island to Taveuni. You can be glad to only enjoy the most aesthetically pleasing aspects of that journey, and not the more disturbing ones, which I'd be glad to tell you about in gruesome detail if you ask me.

Tuvununu Hostel in Nadi


The bus station in Nadi - waiting for our bus to Suva. We were late, but luckily the bus came on "Fiji Time"
In the end, they didn't have room for us on the public bus to Suva, so we had to hire a mini-bus for all 13 of us plus luggage and a big, crazy Fijian driver. We bounced and sped along the roads, hitting bare ground, speed bumps and pot-holes with equivalent vigor. At one point, our guide's girlfriend announced loudly that she had to go to the bathroom, but that would have involved moving 6 large backpacks that were piled on top of each other blocking the exit path out of the way, plus pulling over and losing time, so her pleas were left unanswered. There is a picture somewhere around here documenting how squished we were in this little van, with backpacks, oars and other miscellaneous items bouncing into our laps and faces as we galloped down the road. If I can find it, I'll post it. It's good for a laugh

We boarded the Spirit of Suva at 3pm on December 19th, expecting a 12 hour ride aboard the SOFI

At 6pm, we were underway

We now know the entire ferry journey covers over 250km

Life boats at dusk

Sunrise on the water

Pulling into port Savusavu at dawn - still about 70km from our destination

Departing Savusavu again - direction: Taveuni

Making a little Polynesian-themed addition to the SOFI, courtesy of Aloha Skateboards

Disembarking on Taveuni. We made it! Alive! Now for some super awesome natural rock water-sliding. Sorry, no photos of that part, I was too busy having fun.

The deck at our hostel on Taveuni - Tuvununu. There were more staff than guests most of the time we were there, and we were serenaded by Fijian guitarists at all hours. They played and sang especially well every night when they gathered around the Cava bowl to drink some of the earthy-tasting, natural anesthetic.

We found a coconut! (Not a very difficult feat - they're everywhere!) But now, how to open it?
One of the ever-present, hardworking staff members swoops in to the rescue
By George, I think he's got it!

But what tale of adventure and tropical paradise would be complete without some cute little furry animals?