Bula! from Fiji. We could not believe that we had arrived at one of the most friendliest places in the world. As many of you might know we recently embarked on a cruise through the South Pacific with one of our destinations being two part stop over in Fiji. With quite a few days at sea to get out there, we were both eager and ready to get out and do some exploring when we arrived.
Our first stop in Fiji was on the Eastern side of Fiji in the city of Suva. We stepped off the boat with fully charged batteries and a spring in our step. Unfortunately this time of year in a tropical area meant instead of beautiful palm trees with sun rays poking through we were treated to a thunderstorm. At least there were still beautiful palm trees.
Instead of booking a tour through the boat we opted to waking up early (still spending way to long at the breakfast buffet) and checking out what the locals had to offer in the area of tours. We managed to score a private bus for just less than $20 bucks a head and a tour guide beaming with the biggest smile and tonnes of facts about his country. Did we mention that these were the friendliest people in the world?
Fun fact: Bula! – hello, welcome, goodnight – just a fun word used in just about every greeting situation.
We will admit, the miserable weather did dampen our moods slightly but not enough to warrant a failed day. As we further explored the town with the tour guide from happy-ville, we all seemed to notice how efficient the town was planned. All the schools were in one area, all the medical facilities and all the government houses. We kinda hoped their city planner could come to Perth, so we didn’t have to drive to medical facilities in all corners of our city.
As our little tour bus left the city and entered the townships ,we pulled up into a small village just in time for Sunday church. We were treated to a tour of the small village and watched the congregation slowly fill up as the church bell rang. We were invited to stay for the opening prayer and song and all agreed that it was a beautiful cultural moment that we had all just experienced.
We said our goodbyes and continued on with our day, we went past some waterfalls before heading back to the port for some very light shopping and finally being able to have real coffee (note: coffee on Cruise ships kinda suck).
Our day in Suva was saved by the energy of the locals Fijians in the village, which was enough to cheer us up on this rainy day. As the sun went down we slowly drifted West towards Lautoka.
Using our new found love of the word ‘Bula’ we once again woke up early and were one of the first out of the boat the next day. This time around myself and Jess decided to experience booking a tour through the boat, rather than the locals – wow what a completely different experience.
It’s hard to recommend a cruise tour if you are worried about price as in most cases can be double if not triple the price when compared to booking through locals. However, we won’t lie that we thoroughly enjoyed our little touch of luxury.
Our tour involved visiting a local village to participate in the national tradition known as the Kava Ceremony. This ceremony is undertaken to welcome new guests to a village and involves a performance, creating the Kava and drinking and drinking the Kava which is followed by dancing and celebrating.
Afterwards, we hung around and talked to the local kids who begged us to stay the week or even the night. In any other situation we would’ve jumped at the opportunity, but unfortunately our ship would leave us behind.
After explaining the little pickle we were in to the kids, we left and arrived back at the port before realising that we could squeeze in a quick trip to the natural mud pools. Oh the contrast of the two tours, instead of a bus we got a non-Fijian taxi driver who didn’t smile and attempted to scam us a total of 9 times, maybe it was the Kava or maybe we were just in a good mood but we managed to laugh all 9 of them off.
The mud pools were a very interesting experience as we slopped the mud across our face and bodies before dipping into more of the slime. The natural elements in the mud are supposedly meant to work wonders on your skin so hopefully no more pimples for the rest of the trip (yus).
We also popped into the Garden of the Sleeping Giant which was (as you guessed) a garden of flowers and plants from the local Fiji area with the beautiful Nausori Highlands as its backdrop. Unfortunately time ran out so we only managed to drive past the Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple to snap a quick shot.
Overall we certainly enjoyed our time in Fiji with two completely contrasted days. With so many more islands to visit around Fiji we hope to come back one day.
One final bit – no we didn’t go see where they make Fiji water – but it was on sale everywhere for a buck, at least four times cheaper than at our local gas station.
Have you been to Fiji?
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