Fiji – Bula!

Fiji – Bula!

Bula! That means ‘Hi!’, ‘Cheers!’ or ‘Welcome!’. It’s the first thing you will hear when you arrive in Fiji. No matter where you go, people will greet you in the same way. Very often the next questions are the standard ‘Where are you from?’ and ‘How long are you here for?’. One person actually surprised us by asking: ‘How did you hear about Fiji?’. Huh? Doesn’t the whole world know about Fiji? It certainly ranked our list of top destinations for a very long time and it is good to finally be here. As Miek already pointed out; the people are friendly, the skies are blue and the beaches are beautiful. Does it meet our high expectations? Hmmm.. Tough call.. We’ve had a great time so far but as far as beaches go, Palau is still number one. But we have ten more days and a couple of islands to go so who knows. Fact is that right across from the little island we are right now (Tavewa, one of the Yasawas), there is the beach that featured in the world famous castaway movie ‘Blue Lagoon’. Remember? With a very young Brooke Shields.. And what’s his name… 😉

On Viti Levu, Fiji’s main island, we rented a car for a week and traveled mainly along the South coast. We made stops of a few days in Coral Coast and Pacific Harbour. From there we visited the capital Suva, a city of 300,000 people. We thought that it was big enough a city to find some decent book shops (we’re in desperate need of a South America travel guide!) but that turned out to be a disappointment. Fijians apparently do not read that much. The Fiji Museum however was very nice, giving a good view of Fiji’s violent and cannibalistic past; tribes were at constant war with each other and prisoners of war were clubbed to death and eaten! Other hungry creatures here that eat their own are the sharks as we found out on the shark feeding dives we have made. Imagine a couple of wheely bins full with dead fish. Sink those to the bottom of the ocean and open the lids. What do you get? A fish feeding frenzy! As the cloud of fish feeding on dead fish gets bigger and bigger and the blood is coloring the water greener and greener (red looks like green under water) the sharks start to move in to get a piece of the action. Luckily they are not at all interested in the big fat human beings watching them and the nurse sharks do not seem to mind being petted. They feel like sand paper!

The Yasawas are a group of islands a bit North of Viti Levu. A fast ferry tours the islands every day which makes it a popular destination for island hopping backpackers. We’re currently on the first of three islands we’re going to visit and because some of the resorts were booked full, we’re now at a place that mainly caters to backpackers. And damn do we feel old! Over 90% of the guests are in their early twenties and love the actvities and games that are organized throughout the day. The after dinner game on the first night here was: ‘Hairy chest contest’ for the guys. OMG. Luckily we could escape to our quiet beach hut (a Bure, no hot water!) before we could find out what they had in stock for the girls.. One very nice touch though is that the staff makes music and sings songs while you eat. They even sing a special ‘farewell’ song for guests leaving that day shortly before the ferry appears on the horizon…


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