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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Fiji

FIJI | Tuesday, 30 January 2007 | Views [2508]

I’ll now tell you about my only day in the magical, tropical Fiji Islands. The plane landed at 5:30 and it was barely light out. The sunrise was so beautiful; I wish I could have run out and got a photo of it. I got off the plane and it was warm out. I was carrying all of those Australia jackets that I bought yesterday but they’re of no use here. After getting off the plane, going through Customs was a breeze, and I got my 6th passport stamp. The official stamped it on the same page as my Australia stamps. I hope to fill my entire passport someday. It’s a good thing they let me out for the day, because 17 hours stuck in an airport would have been a disaster. I went and changed my Australian dollars for Fijian dollars, so I have some spending money. I got $130 Fijian for $100 Australian. I wasn’t sure what to do, so a taxi driver asked me if I’d like a ride to Nadi for $10. So, I agreed. I immediately noticed how green the landscape is, and how Fiji also has McDonald’s. The driver’s name is Mr. Singh, and he is Indo-Fijian. Fiji has a very high Indian population because they were brought in by the British about a century or so ago. The next thing I noticed is that the distance to Suva is about 180 km! Perhaps another interesting thing I noticed was an old railroad track; I always thought Fiji would be too small to have railroads. I was thinking before I got here that I could rent a bike and ride around Viti Levu in a few hours. Mr. Singh drove me around central Nadi and allowed me to stop for a photo of Nadi’s most famous Hindu temple. He told me about the mountain called the “sleeping giant” because it looks like a face. He showed me some various other places and then we began driving back to the airport. He told me that Fijians wake up very slowly and leave for work slowly, and that if they’re late for work, their manager will just smile. The taxi ride ended up being $30 because he drove me around to all these different places. He was very nice. For a few minutes I felt like I was ripped off, but I felt that $30 was quite good for a little tour. I went to the tour place because Mr. Singh told me about a cruise that stops at several of the Yasawa Islands. I did find a tour though, but it only stopped at South Sea Island, shortly off the coast of Viti Levu. It was $99 for snorkeling, sea kayaking, wind surfing, unlimited soft drinks, and all that. That’s a good deal! As the agent was processing my tour, I got a Red Bull and then she pointed out the bus stop to wait at. So, I walked over there. I met this girl from Pennsylvania who was on her way to study in Sydney for a year. She told me it’s very bold of me to travel all the way to Fiji alone. Traveling alone really is no sweat at all. I think people who fear it should try it, and they’ll never regret it. It thought it was funny that the girl didn’t know what kava is. I teased her saying that she shouldn’t be here if you don’t know what kava is. I also told her she should try taking a trip alone someday (she was here with her best friend Rachel). I noticed that the public buses here are open air, unlike other places that I’ve traveled. For a while, it was like our bus was simply going in circles and I was thinking that we should drive around a roundabout like 50 times. I saw all the same stuff that Mr. Singh showed me earlier. Anyways, the bus got to the port at about 8:20 and boarding time wasn’t until 9:00. So, I got a bottle of Fiji water for $6 ($3.25US) and just hung around. It’s interesting how Fiji water is more expensive here than back home. At this open air restaurant near the port, I noticed salt and pepper in miniature kava bowls. I was really tired, and excitement was my only fuel. The boat showed up at 9:00 and after we boarded, we were on our way to South Sea Island. I shot some photos of Fiji’s distant outlying islands and of the boats in the port. On the boat I talked to this guy from San Diego and his girlfriend is from Melbourne. He told me that he once lived in Peru and in Costa Rica. The ferry ride took about a half hour and then we were at South Sea Island. The island is very tiny! You could walk around it in 5 minutes. It’s one of those so called deserted islands that people would talk about being stranded on with a wild lover. We were greeted with Bula, which is hello in Fijian. The leader talked with us for a few minutes about what there is to do, and then he said “Have a great day.” I went straight away to get some snorkeling gear. Afterward, I put it on and I jumped in the water and snorkeled with all my heart. The fish here are just as colorful as in the Great Barrier Reef. I saw a parrotfish, which is a blue and green color and I also saw another blue starfish. As I was moving along the reef, I cut my hand on a piece of coral. I got out straight away and immediately ran to the bathroom to wash it with soap and water. It wasn’t a bad cut, but coral can cause nasty infections if left untreated. After cleaning it out, I hung out with this girl named Tiere, from Alberta. She looked really beautiful in a bikini, and with the beach and island setting, would make a perfect model. I really wanted to get some photos of her in the water, but she said no. Anyways, I did have her take photos of me in the water. The water is so clear that I could see my whole body in the picture. The water is like what you would see in the Sandals commercials and all that. It was another one of my childhood dreams to visit Fiji, and now I’m here. I still remember Bryant getting here before me, and then being really jealous. Just three years ago, Fiji was unreachable in my eyes, but nowadays anywhere in this world is reachable, including outer space! I then got out of the water and lay in the hammock, falling asleep momentarily. I was super tired because of being up for 18 hours in Australia and then my flight here being only 3 hours. I woke up when it was time for lunch and the guys were playing the instruments. For lunch, I ate steak, beef sausage, and bread. Deliciously good! I had Diet Coke to drink while I ate. After eating, I went snorkeling again. There was an option to scuba dive, but I’m flying tonight. You can’t fly within 24 hours of scuba diving. I then went sea kayaking. I got out a kayak and just paddled away. My favorite kayaking trip was in Milford Sound last year. That was magical! I tried to paddle around the whole island without getting out of my boat but I was unsuccessful at that. However I made it all the way around the island in about 20 minutes. I put my kayak on the beach and then hung out with these girls from Britain. As I was swimming with them, I noticed a kayak about a ½ mile away with nobody in it. I thought maybe someone had fallen out, but I realized that I didn’t dock my kayak properly, and as a result it drifted way offshore. I thought about swimming out to go get it, but one of the leaders had to take the motor boat out to get it. At 3 PM, we had a snack of cookies and tea. Next up was the submarine trip around the reef. It was similar to the one in Catalina. I have to admit that it’s kind of boring because it’s more fun to see the reef while snorkeling, and you can’t get any good pictures while on the submarine. When we got back, the other people were playing beach volleyball and I rested in the hammock, Fiji style. Again I fell asleep for awhile. Some of the others went on a snorkeling tour, but I was too tired, and I see a lot when I snorkel alone. At about 4:30 it was almost time to go, and I rinsed myself off. I had the British girl, whose name is Danielle, take a photo of me in the hammock. After that, we all got on the boat to head back to Viti Levu. I went to the front of the boat so I could feel the salty Fiji air against my face. The ferry took about a half hour. When I got off, the taxi drivers all asked me if I needed a taxi, but I had a bus transfer to the airport. I was focused on getting some kava with the locals. This Fijian lady on the bus told me that I could ask the taxi drivers at the airport and they would make me some. The lady also instructed me to only pay $5 for it. We drove around central Nadi and I took a video with my camera so I can show my friends video of Fiji. As I got dropped off at the airport, I told the ethnic Fijians about what a beautiful country they have and I promised them I would be back very, very soon. I got dropped off at 6:30 and check-in wasn’t until 7:30. I went over to the taxi driver hangout and said bula and asked them if they would make some kava, and they said sure. I paid them $5 and they brewed some. I drank some and I realized it tasted kind of earthy. Kava is traditionally drunk out of a coconut shell and that’s the way I had it. I felt like a local. Kava is considered a narcotic drink, and is made from the root of a pepper plant. Mr. Singh told me earlier that kava is very good for the kidneys. Another thing I’ve noticed about it is that it kind of numbs your lips and tongue. I sat with the taxi drivers for like an hour; all of us drinking kava. One of them took a photo of me drinking some kava, which would be a cool photo for MySpace. I hung up my wet clothes to dry and then went to check in for my flight. For the first time on my trip, I checked a bag in. Afterward I hung out with the taxi drivers for awhile. I drank heaps more kava and I felt kind of relaxed afterward. I then collected my clothes and said goodbye to the nice taxi drivers. I promise to praise Fiji forever! I went through security and got my exit passport stamp next to my entry one. I’ve got more stamps on this trip (4) then either of my previous two. I then browsed around the shops and I looked around at the kava bowls. I got a few of them. I got a little one with a spoon for Karla, and I got some postcards and some stamps. I promised Deanna a postcard from Australia, but I filled one out for her and mailed it from Fiji instead. I then did a postcard to Jessica and Kyle thanking them for their hospitality in Australia, and I filled one out for myself and mailed it. I still had some money leftover, so I ordered fish and chips at the food stand. They were very good. I really wish I had more time here in Fiji, but I told the girl earlier that I would be back. It would be nice to spend like 3 months here and see every little nook and cranny. I’m going to get ready for my flight, because it will be ready for boarding in just a few minutes. I’ll see you on the way home.

Tags: adventures

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