We arrived in Fiji at about 7pm on Jan 3 after a fairly uneventful flight with Air Pacific – GREAT Airline aside from a few issues with the seatback TV and a broken chair. The service was spectacular though.
We spent the first night at the West Motor Inn in Nadi. They had lost our reservation, but they had a family room available so no sweat. Well, LOTS of sweat actually – it is HUMID here. First thing we did was jump in the pool to cool off and then had a totally overpriced and crappy meal. Aside from the blah food, the hotel was a decent three star place.
The following day we headed to the Sheraton Denarau…. WOW talk about a step up in class! We were met with a tropical fruit drink and a mint-scented wet towel to refresh ourselves with as we checked in. Then they DROVE us to our room. The room is decent, but the bed REEKS of mildew and makes me crazy. Probably pretty hard to control that with the humidity around here though. The hotel food is very expensive, and of pretty average quality. Grant had a really good steak last night (high praise from an Albertan) and I had some really awful lobster. Breakfast was really good, though, and the view from the dining room is fantastic. Jessica is still on the peanut butter only kick and is delighted to find that most places here have it.
Everything is super expensive at the hotel. The little bottle of vodka in the mini-bar is $17 (around $12 or so CDN) Internet access is $1 per minute…whereas in town it is about $3 an hour. Yikes! So, we headed into Nadi today to do some shopping. We figured we’d save ourselves the $10 for a cab and take the local bus. No idea what the timetable is, so we waited over half an hour in the hot sun. The bus was pretty rough and the seats were some sort of lurid red vinyl that made our already sticky legs even stickier. The breeze through the window and the scenery was fantastic though.
The route was not, in fact, direct to Nadi as we had thought. Instead, we wound our way through the local surroundings and people got off at whatever house they wanted by pulling on the bell. Cool, a tour of Fiji for $1.20! Then the bus stopped in front of one house with a bunch of cat-calling kids/teenagers in front. There was some good natured shouting between passengers and the kids. Then the bus broke down, amidst MUCH heckling from our steadily-growing audience.
Here is when we discovered the delightful Fijian custom of throwing water on perfect strangers to wish them a Happy New Year. The kids surrounded the bus and began pitching water through the open windows…and we were completely unarmed!
We were allowed off the bus to wait for the replacement bus due in ten minutes (30 minutes Fijian time). We chatted with an Aussie family who were visiting relatives at one of the nearby houses. Steve and his family ended up in a waterfight with the pack of kids across the way, and explained the tradition to us. All good fun. The bus came and we finally made it to town…where it immediately started POURING with rain. Good thing we were wet already.
Did a bit of shopping in the local craft stores and at the market, but got tired of being dragged into shops by the owners. Had a really lovely dinner at Nandos and now we’re heading back to the hotel for another go at the mildewy beds!
We’re heading out to the Octopus Resort www.octopusresort.com the day after tomorrow – hopefully it stops raining for some of the time!
Wow – it’ve read it and heard it so often that I almost forgot to mention it here…the people here are so amazingly friendly and helpful! I must have been politely asked 15 times at the airport if I needed help and a shuttle bus driver from another hotel dropped us off for free when our shuttle failed to materialize! We tipped him, of course, but still, very nice of him!