Official languages-English, Fijian, Hindi
Area total- 18,274 km2
Population 2012 estimate- 858,038
When i was a little girl, my Dad used to take me with him to a place he liked to hang out every day after work. I remember there was a lady, in her mid 40's who was pouring drinks for all the men in that small, local, improvised bar. She was always offering me a small chocolate which was soooo good, called "Papion", and I was hiding behind my Dad's shoulder every time she came closer. Until one day, when she asked me:"why are you so shy, do you know that being shy is not going to take you anywhere?". Those words just got stuck to me, and even until these days i refer to them when i want to remind myself that I should always take what I want.After three years of flying as a cabin crew (february 2015), I felt like it was time for me to step out of my comfort zone and try something completely different. Go to a place which i could only dream of. And that was Fiji Islands. At the beginning I thought that I need to fly to Australia, and then to New Zealand, and then take a plane to Fiji Islands. But I didn't care, I just wanted to go there so bad that even if I had to swim to the islands would've been fine by me. Apparently it was easier than that. So, 14 hours from Dubai to Brisbane with Emirates Airlines and then 3,5 hours with Fiji Airways to Fiji Islands.
Foto by me
At the passport control they didn't even know if i need a visa or not, because that was the first time they saw the blue Moldovian passport. By the time I got out of the airport I was so tired that I couldn't even understand what's happening. Some local ladies came up to me and started to explain about different packages they have for the trips and hotels: "one coconut", "two coconuts", "3 coconuts". I was like:"whhaaaat?". In the end, thank to booking.com I got a room in a hotel called Capricon, that serves butter in cold water for breakfast for it not to melt from the heat. No good. It's very important when you go for such long trips to reserve at least two days to acclimatise yourself, otherwise it's too much on your body. I had only 10 days vacation and didn't want to waist time, so, I was on the road again, on the way to Mana Islands that is a part of the Mamanucas Group Islands, located approximately 1,5 hours from the main Island, Nadi. The cheapest way to get there is by boat. I went to a local agency and I bought one coconut deal(😹) which included: two boat trips, one night stay in a backpacker hostel in Mana Island, and one more night stay in the hostel in Bounty Islands for 250 Fijian dollars(~125 USD).When we arrived in Mana Island, I went where the crowd was going, because that's what tourists do. In the Mana Island Resort & Spa, I had a very warm welcome with refreshing drinks. Waited there for almost an hour to be told in the end that this is not the hostel, this is a 4 stars hotel, and obviously my booking was not made for this place. I had to drug my suitcase in sand all the way to the ghetto side of the island. Stupid of me that i paid first and then i looked at the room, which was a terrible mistake. Now, i have decided to go back to the Resort and beg them to take me back and not let me sleep with the cockroaches. After a little bit of bargaining I paid only 200 Fijian dollars for an absolutely adorable bungalow with a very stylish shower outside under the green trees and the burning sun. Now we are talking.I had one of the greatest time of my trip, I met really lovely people, the General Manager of the Resort, U, is a great man from Germany that takes care of that place like no one else does. He showed me around the Island and introduced me to the little Fijian treasures from the primary school, and their classes were held outside because it was too hot to be trapped in those blue walls. A lot of volunteers mostly from Australia came to help the locals in need. That beautiful landscape requires some good work. I was very impressed of how much effort they all put into maintaining the Elegant Seaside Chapel and the local church. You won't believe the wedding pictures you can take with the Fijian breathtaking view.
Foto by me
I haven't seen such a clean, azure colour of the water in my entire life. On the way to Bounty Island, I just couldn't stop staring into the blue. I was able to see at least seven meters down, It seemed like I could see the bottom of the ocean. In the distance, the dolphins were doing their daily job, greeting new arrivals. There is only one boat per day, that goes to Bounty Island and this is basically your only connection with the northern part of the Fiji Islands, called Yasawas Island Group. The main reason I came to Bounty Island it's to convince myself that the island is as sweet as the chocolate. I found the spot with the palm tree that it's shown on the chocolate cover. And ,only, at the sunset time I have realised why this is such an unique part of Fiji. I had to go through a little jungle to capture the sunset, and the locals where advising me not to go on the other side of the island because this is a line They don't even cross. It didn't matter to me, it totally paid off. But on the way back it was so dark that I couldn't see my own hands, and i was trying to take a picture with my camera, hoping that the flash will show me the way, no luck, I started to run. It was pretty scary.
Foto by me
I didn't realise that 5 hours on a boat can be so tiring. From Bounty Island to Blue Lagoon I paid around 175 Fijian dollars. When i touched the sand on the beach I was about to kiss it, was so happy to be there. I stayed in "Blue Lagoon Beach Resort", and they have all kinds of different accomodation for those traveling alone( like me) or for those who travel with someone. Don't be afraid to travel on your own. It might seem crazy but trust me, it is the best way to discover yourself, and truly observe the surroundings. There will be so much time for self reflection, which we need from time to time to understand who we are and notice the small daily changes within our souls and minds.
Foto by me
Foto by me
Of course you make friends, and socialize with people from all over the world. I met F from Switzerland, K from Wales, T and A from Australia. They were great partners in crime: we watched the shooting stars at night, had breakfast-lunch-dinner all together( the food is very international and has a lot of Australian influence), played in "crab race" (a local Island game), tried to cross the swimming pool on a long piece of wood after shots of tequila ( only A succeed), had movie night, learned how to enjoy the local drink Kava ( the roots of the same plant are used to produce a drink with sedative anesthetic properties, that makes you relax without disrupting mental clarity), went to the famous cave on Turtle Island where the movie "Blue Lagoon" was shot in 1980, went for scuba diving (11meters deep), it was great fun.
Returning back to Nadi felt like I am going back to the war. This time I have decided to take a small sea plane back to the main island and it cost me only 200 Fijian dollars for only 30 mins above the unforgettable ocean view. I stayed in Hilton Fiji Beach & Spa (Denarau Island) and I absolutely recommend it if you want to get a good night sleep before stepping into the airplane.
They say that there are things in life that will mark you forever. Fiji was the place where i have seen the adult in me, and that was the good bye trip to the old me. I am thankful for every single second spent in that heaven. Once seen you can't forget it.
You can close your eyes to reality, but not to memories.