I said before that Fiji is more developed than Samoa. And that is certainly true for its resort tourism. But as soon as you are outside the resorts Fiji becomes very basic.
We got a taste of both during our stay there.
In the first half of our visit to Fiji we rented a car and drove around the main island – Viti Levu.
We had read about a rural village that could be interesting to visit, – the only village in Fiji where people still live in thatched roof houses and more or less live their lives like they always have. We expected a village which existed because of tourists. But Fiji is more a ‘resort type’ of vacation place, and it doesn’t seem like these tourists ever go outside the resorts. So when we got to the village we learned that they actually live like that. It was a really nice place to visit – a beautiful drive to get there, and friendly villagers. We were followed around by a whole group of kids who couldn’t understand why we weren’t going to spend the night there 🙂
But we were spending the night in a small hut in the middle of nowhere. Probably even further away than the village out there in the mountains. This small hut – which to Carla’s exitement was purple – had the biggest spider in it that I’ve seen for some years. Yikes…! It was in our ‘bathroom’ when we went to bed at night (thank you mosquito nets), but in the morning we heard something crawling on our cardboard roof – and it was the spider. Right above our heads…! Yes, we waited a little while before leaving the beds and the mosquito nets that morning!
The only good thing about huge spiders like that is that you can actually hear when they walk away 🙂 …and pleasantly enough there are no dangerous snakes or spiders in neither Samoa, Fiji nor our next destination, Tonga.
After leaving the spider infested hut, we drove to a village on top of a mountain. The village itself had nothing really of interest, so we left again (without getting lunch), but the drive there was pretty amazing. For me it was the views, and for Søren the off road drive to get there 🙂
…and that was basically what we did in term of exploring Fiji. The only other place worth mentioning was the capital Suva. It was a small, crowded and dirty capital. But we spent an afternoon there, and as you can see on the pictures, it is not the typical Fiji images of idyllic white sand beaches that pop up 🙂
For the rest of our Fiji time we stayed at 3 different resorts.
The first two were a few nights at each. It was pretty clear that we were the only ones who weren’t on a package tour. Here we learned some things about package vacations, and we struggled a bit with the concept of ‘adult only’ restaurants – I mean we were on the most family friendly resorts… but no one could understand why we just didn’t get nannies for the kids while we had dinner. Well, we wanted to be with them…and after some good arguments from our side we were allowed to order from the ‘adult only’ menu card and eat it in the child friendly restaurant. Welcome to resort vacation 😂
The last resort we stayed at was on the island of Mana and it was exactly like I imagined Fiji. Finally we found it! Clear blue water and white sand beaches. It was a small island, and we could walk from the north to the south beach in ten minutes.
There was no better place to celebrate my birthday. And the birthday cake even came with a song 🙂
“Life is short ‘eh – make the most” …I got a massage on my birthday, and this is what the massage lady said when I told her about our trip. However, she couldn’t have been more right. The whole point in living should be to make sure we get the most out of our time. And I can’t describe how thankful I am to be on this trip right now. To have all this time with my family, to get away from the comfort zone at home, and to have time to think about everything and nothing. I’ve thought surprisingly little about our apartment, all my things, and life back home. However, I am starting to compile a list of things we miss (like eating good food – one and a half month on Pacific Islands and we’re craving good, healthy food!!).
There are many ways to make the most of life, but for me traveling has always been a big part of that. Luckily I found a man who feels exactly the same! And by looking at my family right now I couldn’t feel stronger about this. Both Carla and Gustav are shining. Gustav by chatting up everyone he meets, and expecting them to take him when he now holds his arms towards strangers he has gotten in contact with. And Carla by the way she is comfortable everywhere we go. I love to see how she has no fears – no fears of the ocean, of stray dogs, of spiders under the bed. And how she makes every place home. For her there is nothing strange in moving from place to place every few days – she just asks “where are we staying tomorrow ?” “how do we get there?” “what do we do afterwards?”.
Relaxing at nice beaches and in swimming pools in Fiji came just at the right time on our trip. It was like a vacation during our travels. And it was so good just to kick back and enjoy doing nothing.
BUT… our hearts beat for experiencing the local life, for life in the streets, and even for the basic huts. So we were SO ready to move on to Tonga and get ‘back out there’ after vacationing in Fiji.