Fiji or bust

Our friends Roxy and Carl on SV Sky Pond pulled into Fiji last July (2022) and after enjoying their time so much, decided to spend all of 2023 in Fiji. Lucky for us! A plan was hatched and finally the day came to fly to Fiji to join them. Well, after a bit of big island living for the two of us first…

Let me just say, Fiji Airlines deserves its high rankings! I have never been pampered as well before; amazing service, great food, and a very comfortable new Airbus 350 carried us across the pacific. Oh how that contrasts the cattle call we experienced on Southwest from Steamboat to Denver to LAX. Smashed between screaming sick kids in the rows in front and behind us. Ugh.

First challenge was getting all the boxes and bags through customs. Anytime you visit cruising friends it involves being a pack mule for all sorts of necessary items needed to keep a boat running. In our case, the biggest space hogs were two new, replacement paddleboards. I was a bit apprehensive about getting hit with import duties due to the big boxes clearly holding something unusual, but thankfully explaining the boxes were sporting equipment we were waved through. Whew.

Then on to the car rental, I booked with local company Central Rentals. So great to have someone waiting for you with a sign (oddly only my first name) to drive you a short distance to the rental agency. Paperwork filled out quickly and boom we were on our way with a loaded car. This being my first time driving on the left side of the road it was a bit disconcerting, especially given my 36 hour travel to get here.

After some caffeine we headed into Nadi to get a Vodafone SIM card. The drive went fine and soon we were looking for parking, ultimately pulling into a spot that required money, which we did not yet have. Hmmm. Well Fijian people being friendly, we were approached and met Steven. After a bit of a chat he plugged the meter for us.

Okay, this isn’t our first rodeo, and while we knew there had to be more to the story we chatted a bit more and soon enough he had us walking down the street and into a handicraft store. He led us in our first Kava ceremony (which left Jean worried about the quality of the water and cleanliness of the bowls, I say roll with it). And for Steven, a very disappointingly small purchase. Not to worry, I needed a lulu (men’s skirt) for village visits and Steven knew a guy. We checked that off the list and said thank you and goodbye. Steven was a really nice guy and we very much appreciated his help and spending time with us.

After picking up a Wifi hotspot and data plan it was time to hop in the car for our beach hotel that was 90 minutes away. Whew, nice to get out of the city and into the country. It is not fast driving, with twisty roads and a lot of villages but soon enough we were parked and ready to rest a bit.

A great late lunch at our hotel’s restaurant, a rest, a walk, and before we knew it another meal was upon us. I had wanted to eat at “The crab shack” which happened to be highly recommended and walking distance. But unfortunately with incoming rain they did not have a table for us (we booked for the following evening). Across the street was a sister restaurant that squeezed us in for an enjoyable garlic shrimp meal polished off with a Fiji Gold beer. Given our jet lagged bodies we accepted the 8:00pm call to bed and drifted off into dreamland. Whew, we made it!

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