Once Around The Sun

56387 km


NADI

F@*! Fiji!!! This is going to ruin the rest of our trip and dry up our budget! Yes, first thoughts were not promising at all. It has appeared to me like we have landed in a ridiculously expensive up market destination, where you can't simply get out of the claws of chain hotels. My AirBnB homestay in Nadi town has cancelled on us upon arrival on the airport, so we were forced to seek a hotel while we find ground under our feet. Booking.com turned out to be a good bet and after short search we have been sitting in a taxi leaving the airport behind and heading to Oasis Palms Hotel. This one was really worth the money, staff was very friendly and we have met Joe here. Joe is a key figure to our Fiji stay, but I didn't know that at the time. What we knew from the first evening is that he makes good Kava sessions by the pool, plays guitar and is blessed with great voice. In fact, the best singer we've heard on the island, but we didn't know that then either. We've thought that everybody has the musical gift...

Fiji consists of the main island Viti Levu, the northern islands Vanua Levu, the southern islands and Karavu, the remote islands in south east and the most popular among visitors the Yasawa Islands. Joe, our singing friend from Oasis Palms has put a word through to Nalauwaki village on Waya Island in the Yasawas. We are set for a homestay in a real Fijian village in the house of the village chief. I didn't have a choice but to trust a stranger, whom I didn't know a few days back. But in order to get away from the money making tourist machinery I had to trust someone, so I picked our gifted singer. To get to any of the islands in the Yasawa group you will have to get on the ridiculously overpriced Yasawa Flyer. An obvious government monopoly. No, not own by government directly, but I suspect someone very loyal and close to the law makers. I have been trying for 5 days to find a boatman with however small boat to take us along with locals to one of the small islands. Impossible. They wouldn't risk to cross the Yasawa Flyer business. So, unfortunately, the heartless bright yellow catamaran tourist trap it was. We have spent more time in Nadi then most, 5 days. As I said I had to figure out something to get out of the resort type of holiday makers and I also wanted to give this tourist hub a change. Many blogs say that Nadi is not worth the stay. Go to Denarau Island or to Yasawas immediately, they say. Nadi is not hugely interesting, but the market and the few shopping streets gave me plenty of people watching opportunities and that's good enough for me. Truth to be told, I actually felt blessed that most tourists stay away. Funny story is that around this market area I had my worst and my best haircut in one day. Obviously I had to get that mop fixed after what that Indian lady who has never held scissors before has done to me. And I hope she's never held scissors since! ...and never will! On the other hand the Indian boy who did his best to fix what was done is a rare talent, Edward Scissorhand! But that's enough of girl talk! I mention Indians because they have a huge presence on the island. Not as much as it used to be but still around 30%. Best about Nadi were the buses. Those open to elements, windowless, full of character, older than my father, buses. And they only cost a fraction of a taxi, go fairly regular almost anywhere within the city or around the main island. I actually regret that I didn't ride them more... Wind in my hair and sand between my teeth with an occasional fly in the eye. Perfect!

Fiji is a strange place. People are so friendly that for us it has been more than suspicious at times. Of course, there is always the odd scumbag, but generally Fijians are the friendliest of people I've ever encountered. Not friendly in the way my mate Norman can be, but pretty close, minus the touchy part. They would talk, entertain and laugh with you, just to make you feel welcome. But why?? I still don't understand. Well I didn't understand at the time...

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