Bula! This week, I’m taking you back to 2008 to Fiji Islands.
Boasting 333 tropical islands along the South Pacific, Fiji really is a place for proposals,
inexpensive weddings, honeymoons, great local food and the friendliest locals. According to Fiji.Travel, the population is made up of indigenous Fijians and a melting pot of different cultures – descendants of settlers from India, Europeans, people of mixed race, Chinese, and Pacific Islanders. Such influences are prominent in the local cuisines.
I travelled to Fiji in 2008 to be bridesmaid at a
former friend’s wedding. A couple of months in the making, a small wedding party consisting of her family and her future inlaws flew via Fiji Airways in February that year. Upon arrival, we hired three 4×4 which were our main form of transport around Viti Levu – the main island of Fiji.
In the seven days that we were there, we divided our time between preparing for the nuptials and exploring the island. Weatherwise, we experienced scorching heat, followed by bursts of torrential rain typical of tropical climates.
One of the most surprising things I saw were locals hitch hiking at all hours of the day/night, willingly accepting a ride home or to their place of work from passing motorists. One of the locals I spoke with explained that everyone on the island more or less knew each other, and therefore there is a sense of safety and trust among the people. I love that.
Whilst the soon-to-be-newlyweds stayed at a more fancy resort (Shangri-La?), I decided to stay
with some of the wedding party at Bedarra Beach Inn Coral Coast, a more affordable alternative. Besides, I heard there was a decent hole-in-the-wall eatery down the road with the best Kokodo/Kokoda and Madrasi masala dosa [Click here for a description of each]. This is also where I first had a taste of kava or yaqona, a popular drink in the South Pacific which also plays a big role in Fiji’s culture and day to day life [Click here for more info on kava].
We also took the South Sea Cruises boat to Castaway Island – the real one, not the Hollywood one – for the day. It’s basically a private resort island, where you are able to find a quiet spot alone to snorkel in peace. Or sleep. Or catch some rays. Or marvel at the pristine waters, take in some fresh air…or figure out which cuisine you will be trying next!
I plan on returning to Fiji someday to really see it, minus the time constraints. I’d really like to spend more time with the locals and visit the other islands.