...we didn’t ;–) Best place to get real Hula exercises in Hawaii would have been Molokai Island. But as we had just 7 days on the pacific islands (and already some concerns about our travel budget) we decided to stay on the Oahu island.
And we still had plenty to see! Waikiki beach with the sunlovers, the North Shore with world famous surf (and surferboys ;–), deep south for snorkelling in Hanauma Bay and even some spots we’ve detected for nice hiking tours: The hike through the extremely muddy volcano crater valley led us to a hidden waterfall – and we really would have appreciated the swim in the clear waterfall’s pond after that treck, but the leptospirosis bacteria has even reached this far secluded area :–(.
When not swimming, hiking or waiting for The Bus – the Bus service on Oahu is generally quite good, some 2,50$ can take you around the whole island, but it’s extremely slow! – we enjoyed the Hawaiian art of brewery. Imagine the names the Hawaians gave their beers: “Longboard”, “Bikini”, “Big Wave” or “Firerock”… But besides the funny names, the beer was really good and refreshing! With a kind of Ananas taste ;–) Together with a worldclass “Surf and Turf” (a fantastic steak and some king prawns) a delicious combination and a highlight of the stay.
So, we had some sports, sightseeing, fine dining and culture. What we did not is the Luau, the “Hawaiian BBQ and show”; we weren’t that attracted to have dinner with some 80 other tourists, cramped in a garden, entertained with kitsch flowers and animation, pseudo-folkloristic dances, tons of food served on plastic dishes – we’ve seen people returning from that parties, and that was already enough.
Instead we found another way to hook up with the myriads of Japanese tourists: shopping! Unfortunately we’re still bound to our backpack’s capacity and airline’s weight restriction, so we had to concentrate on the necessary stuff, that is some warmer shirts for the upcoming travel destinations. That at least saved our money – there’d have been reeeeally nice shopping in Honolulu ;–)
Bula ! That’s definitely the first word in Fijian you’ll hear – and remember. Bula is the kind of word valid for (nearly) everything. Originally meant as a “hello” it may also work as “great”, “ well done”, “I feel good”, “I’m drunk” or “I’m a stranger and that’s the only word I know, but I like to party with you ” …
The second most important thing to learn is: Forget about your watch – you are here where the “Fiji Time” rules! So when you hear about the boat is coming in 5 minutes… expect it’s arrival in 15 min or in 2 hrs. Or tomorrow ;–)
Further generals: Fiji is said to be quite expensive and an exclusive, exotic destination. Exotic: yes. One immediately thinks about the just 1m high sandy islands, surrounded by turquoise water and squeaky white sands, with just coconut palms… Forget about that! True, there are indeed some of that islands, but: Fiji is also part of the “Pacific Fire Ring”, means: Fijis origin is volcanic, and this is reflected in the landscape, with it’s steep mountains and hills. Expensive and exclusive: well, when you book and arrive via Europe: yes. As there is no nonstop connection from Germany – you may be some 26 hrs or longer on your way (with some 2000 – 3000 Euros less in your wallet). But when you’re anyway already in Australia – or, even better: New Zealand – then you might be lucky and grab a ticket for less than 150$ for that 3hrs trip. Expensive and exclusive islands are the ones that are offered in all the travel agencies in Europe. 250$+ a night is the standard with prices up to some thousand Dollars for a night. Without breakfast. But: There are other, smaller, family- run places on Fiji for less than 80$/ night, including 3 meals a day! For 2 people! Family connection and no crowds guaranteed!
And thats how we made the Fijis :–)
We arrived on Nadi Airport (Fiji) on a late Thursday afternoon and found ourselves after a quick drive in our first Fiji hotel. Not really worth to mention that hotel (besides the fact that it was in the middle of nowhere), but ok for the one night of stay on the main land. Next day we’d anyway leave for the island. We decided for an island in the Yasawas group to become our “South Sea Island Dream”, the so-called “Wayalailai Island” in the north of Fijis main island. Unfortunately the “Big Boat” running daily for all the Yasawa Islands was already fully booked, but we got a ride on the “local boat” organized. After the scheduled 30 Fiji-Minutes (= 2hrs) our “local boat” was ready for departure. Just in time, heaven decided to open it’s gates now. Fortunately we did not need to care about getting a seatin the dry area organized, as there was just one other passenger with us – Rachelie from Switzerland. And: there was no “dry area”. Because unfortunately… there was no roof. Actually we found ourselves in a nutshell of a boat. So our transfer to our hidden south sea gem started already the right way – with a 1 hr unprotected ride through heavy rain.
The welcome on the Naqalia Lodge nevertheless was a very warm one, with guitar music and singing and flowers… and together with the warm water of the sea we didn’t feel that frozen any longer. Our bungalow was quite spacious, with running cold water supply 24h! Electricity on the island daily from 18:00 – 22:00. But as there was anyway neither mobile phone nor internet connection, there wasn’t that big problem to get our devices charged ;–)
With us were a few other couples: two world travellers from Hamburg, two world travellers from St. Gallen and two World travellers from Bern. And of course our swiss companion from the boat ride :–)
As you see… We aren’t anything special with our “round-the-world-tour”. Actually the just 4 months we had planned was more or less peanuts to our fellow travellers ;–)
Our upcoming 5 days on our Fiji Dream Island are described in a few words: Check temperature of the rain, check strength of the tropic storm, check water depth on the resort garden, define whether it’s worth to go now for a coffee or later… Have lunch, have a sleep, read a book, have a sleep, have dinner, have a sleep ;–)
Nevertheless, we had three real highlights on the island:
“Happy”: After one night of heavy rain and storm we found an exhausted, half-dead kitten in our resort’s garden. We organized some milk and fish as well as a protected sleeping area – and the kitten was doing it’s first steps the next day. One further day, the cat was already in exploration mode and checked the whole resort. It was really great to see how life and strength came back in that poor (and really ugly and awfully smelling) little thing :–) We decided to withstand the first intuition and didn’t name her “Ugly”. No, actually she was named “Happy”, as proposed by Tui (one of the resort’s women, who was indeed happy by herself to have a cat now in the resort to eliminate the mice). And happy she really was to find a place on the island like this, where she’s not only allowed, but indeed respected, treated well and needed .
Fiji Day: National Day / Independence Day of the Fiji Islands. All three resorts of the region and the villagers prepared one big party, with a real Kava-Ceremony (sorry, no pictures were allowed, was really not that usual “tourist” stuff – everything quite serious!), singing and dancing and loughing (needs separate explanation!) and loooooots of food. Just the “games” – as we’ve learned a usual entertainment for the young backpacker folks on all the other island resorts – we really wouldn’t have needed. Okay, and the neverending rain was somewhat annoying…
The People: we were really lucky! Not only the locals of our resort were really nice and friendly and amiable. We were as well really lucky regarding the other travellers we met there… Not sure whether it was that damned weather, the flair of the island, the relaxed and chilled atmosphere (or the Rum-and-Vodka-sit in;–), but we’ve had lots of fun, interesting conversation exchange of travel experiences etc. In a nutshell: a really good time with them all! Actually it was – even just after this short time – somewhat sad to leave… But hope to meet the one or the other again; maybe on one of the next dive safaris – through Switzerland. As mentioned, they’re – like we – on their trips round the world, and we wish them all a safe, pleasant and colourful ongoing journey!!!
One final word to Fiji’s people: During all our travels, we’ve nowhere seen people laugh that way. While in Asia everyone is really friendly and the smile (sometimes even a biiig smile) is a usual way of business practice and culture (contrary to our usual behaviour in Germany; sorry to say so), the Fijians are really laughing. You can count all of the remaining 17 teeth (haven’t met one single person with not having at least a loss of 2 teeth; guess they don’t waste time and get rid of that white things even in the very first second of a tooth pain) while doing conversation! :–) We really liked that happiness, and the music and singing.
The Fijians we’ll indeed recall as the most funny folks we’ve met so far! Thanks, Fiji, for that great lesson of relax and happiness!
Etwas spät - wir sind ja schon wieder ein paar Kilometer weiter, in Kalifornien - aber mit Liebe hochgeladen :)
One of our favorite video clips so far - our days on Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia. Nice island, great diving, awesome Mola Mola.
This time the video is marked public viewable in the first place :) Retry the Ubud video as well, should work out now!
Now that we have some resonable internet connection again, we are able to upload some more already edited footage from the last weeks. First off, some impressions of our stay in Ubud ...
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