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Once Around The Sun

56724 km


We didn't have an idea where to next from the village. It was clear however that we will need to spend the night in Nadi. The 3 hours slip in the Yasawa flyer schedule made sure about it. We have arrived to the main island way after sunset so we head to downtown. In the morning we've figured out where from we can get a bus around the island. Main bus station near the market, jump a bus towards Lautoka and change for another bus. I figured Vatia Beach sounded pretty good on paper. It is an eco lodge right on the beach. Only downside is that we may need to walk about 5 kilometres from the high road. But the course is set.

I like the public transport on Fiji. Buses are older than my father, often windowless and you can forget about air con, but almost always there is a loud music that keeps you entertained. Or the locals themselves. Not that many tourists take this kind of transport, despite being dirt cheap and pretty regular. And I can't praise Fijians enough. The most friendly nation ever. They will talk to you just out of interest, help you whenever you look just remotely lost and if you ask they will assist you with almost anything reasonable. Just go ahead, try! So we are getting wind in our hair, dust in our face and Indian music in our ears. Yes, the population of Fiji used to be almost half Indians and half native Fijians. The Indians got here as workforce of British overlords and established strong roots on the islands. Well on the main island mainly. Fijians disguise Indians and whenever they can they will remind you that you should not do business with them. Apparently Indians drive a hard bargain and if you're a tourist you're likely to fall for their tactics. I felt this by minor overpricing of services or getting to pay first class price for lesser value product on the market but in the eyes of native Fijians it dates back a few decades when Indians tried to launch themselves into politics and business which essentially kickstarted a coup after which many Indians seek return to India, other South Pacific islands or even Southeast Asia.

Once in Lautoka we have had time for a quick lunch before we hoped the next bus. Another hour and a half and we should be by the road that would lead us to Vatia Beach Eco Resort. Sounds better on paper than it is in reality. The bus driver and his steward (yes, almost every bus line has a helper that makes sure all have paid their fees) ensure us that we will be notified at the crossroad, so we enjoy the ride and the views. Sure enough soon the bus stops and all eyes turn towards us signalling our stop that is merely more than a T crossing and a lot of dust. We set to walk hoping that some good soul would give us a lift. No cars on the small dirt road for about 10 minutes but then a family of 4 just pulled over and offered us a ride. I call that lucky! They didn't quite know where we are going, but it didn't stop them to drive us up and down while we have finally took the right turns in the maze of dirt roads. Vatia Beach Eco Resort didn't look like much at first. Still some visible damage after Cyclone Winston, locals working on beachfront open bure's, volunteers repairing and painting and a couple of long term volunteers from Australia, one carpenter and the other some kind of a hydrophobic farming expert. At the time it seemed like we are the only paying guests. The arrangements are clear. Bamboo hats with no electricity or running water. Toilets are outdoor and so are the 'cabrio' showers. Three meals per day, usually a choice of meat or vegetarian meal and not much to do in between. One of the main attractions is the earth-ship that has been started here and was meant to be followed up with more dwellings but somehow the idea came undone with only one of them to date not quite finished either. There is a beach, but gets muddy so not quite ideal. For water sports there were a couple of kayaks, but the paddles were destroyed or blown away by Winston. Thankfully the second day a French couple has arrived. A product design couple, Eliz and Jean-Mark. Jean-Mark has decided to make a paddle out from scraps and I have 'volunteered' to help. In a couple of hours a sport equipment masterpiece has emerged and suddenly there was a thing to do. You know, apart from catching up on editing pictures and writing blogs. I realise I may sound like I haven't enjoyed my time here due to the lack of 'entertainment'. However this place is ideal to unwind, sit down and read a book or better, write one!

All in all this very basic 'resort' with only solar power and collected rain water offers no distractions for you, so you can concentrate on recharging and unwinding. There is not much of a crowns turning around here and apart from the staff, few volunteers and 2 couples, we haven't met anyone else. Both couples however were very engaging. The French couple with interesting career and life choices and the eccentric Dutch couple that entertained us with their life success. The day before we were ready to leave I've eared an information that the nearby Rakiraki is a world class diving spot and so we had our next destination set.


​© 2022 by JAN ROCKAR

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