Thursday, June 23, 2016

Day 9: Personal Island and Last day in Fiji

The night before, I didn't sleep well, after finding two roaches the night before in the bathroom I just kept having dreams of them crawling over me, so yeah I woke up at 5am and just sat and read. Until Tasha woke up, then I made sure everything was packed, YAY everything fit!
We had Continental breakfast again but this time they had pineapple... I LOVE PINEAPPLE!!!! Best breakfast ever!

we checked out and left our luggage with reception. We caught a shuttles to a boat launch passing a lot of sugar cane fields. We then caught a boat to Robinson Caruso Island. We have a full day planned on our own personal island... well there were other people there but they went off to do their own thing so we basically had everything to ourselves.

 This was the boat we took to the island, the shore was lined with the branches below

The island was just off the shores of Fiji and it would fit on a postcard so well. The day was bright and sunny. We arrived on the island around mid morning and we started the day off right with snorkeling on the reef. They were thinking of not taking us because there was a lot of seaweed floating about but we insisted. We got out to the reef and jumped in.

Snorkeling is so fun! The reef itself was covered in a brown sand so it wasn't that amazing to look at but the fish, they are cool. We saw little blue fish, and they were almost shining blue. There were small schools of black angel fish, stripped angel fish and some yellow disc fish. It was so cool. At one point we surfaced and out guide asked us if we saw that? we said what and he said he would tell us later. Well, it was sharks, two reef sharks passed us and none of us saw them, and a good thing too. I spent the week before watch shark attack videos at work so yeah, I would have freaked.

After a while we returned to the island and they had a presentation on how to weave coconut palms into a basket and a plate. Then they shucked a mature coconut and cracked it open, cracking it completely in half with just a rock. Then scraping out the meat. We were able to try the coconut water, the meat and the milk they mixed with crackers for us to try.

Then they had one of the attendants climb a coconut tree and knock down green coconuts for us to choose from, where they then took them and using a machete hacked off the top so we could drink the fresh water. It was so good and was different from the mature coconut we just had. It somehow had more flavor in it.

It was lunch time by then, so we were brought over to a pit called the lobo pit, where they showed us how they have prepared our meal, similar to how we had it in Te Pui but using more how stones than coal.

A couple of them walked over the hot stones, a little crazy but they're awesome. We had lunch which was fish, chicken, and potatoes, along with raw fish in coconut milk. Surprisingly tasty and while we ate. They performed  traditional Fiji dances along with fire twirling and knife juggling. All of it was very impressive!

They also presented what traditional Fijians wear, the patterns were very pretty!

We were given a small amount of free time, where I wanted to go and jump into the pools on the property because the salt was very sticky and made my skin itch but alas their pools were also filled with sea water. Oh well I'll endure.
There was then a nature walk, we were taken through the surrounding jungle and shown the trees they used for medicinal purposes, from muscle pain to stomach pain. Also passing an area that was aptly named crab city.

At night it would be filled with crabs. There are four types of crabs on the island. The little one on the beach which I thought were little sea roaches but turned out to be little grey crabs that skittered very quickly away. There were also mud crabs and they were the ones making the holes in the paths, we would normally think it was made by snakes but nope, they were from crabs. Then there were coconut crabs which we didn't see but are supposed to be monsters that eat coconuts. The last ones are hermit crabs. When we got to the beach part of the hike, every shell I picked up was a hermit crab. It was so cool!
So we got back to the main area, where we got to go see a turtle shell that was once a 114 year old turtle. That was fun, the shell looked very old.

We again returned to the main area and they had drawn two circles in the sand. We needed to choose a number which would correspond with a hermit crab. That's right, we bet on crabs for crab racing and guess what.... I won baby! lucky number 10 whoot! Well technically number two won but no one chose that one so yeah I won! I got a cool bouquet of tropical flowers and a seashell necklace.
 the crabs started out in a jar and when lifted would try to crawl out of the circle

The rest of the time I hung out in a hammock and enjoyed the area. So delightful!

Our boat came and we headed back to the airport, we dropped off some of the workers near their village so that was fun to see a bit of their lives. When we got back to the hotel, they thankfully let us take a shower in the pool showers to get the sea off us and we got to the airport to catch our plane back to America. At the airport I used the last of my cash to get some pineapple body butter. and then jumped on the plane.

Overall this was an amazing vacation, I'm so happy I was able to go with my parents and sister and I can't wait for my next adventure!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Day 8: FIJI, pool and shopping

We started the day off right with a continental breakfast which was ok, I like food so all it good, we did try marmite which is like a soysauce spread that taste horrid, why it's so popular over there I don't understand.
Well we needed a break from the rushing around so we spent the morning at the pool, It was so nice to just relax in the sun and read a bit. I also went swimming and they had a nice large pool to splash around in along with a big slide. I went down that thing multiple times. So fun!
this was the pool slide

Also, I noticed some of the locals hanging out in the trees next to the pool. Massive bats were roosting in the tree. It was really cool looking, occasionally they would stretch their wings and we got to see them. They were about the size of crows... they were big!
We finished up at the pool and around noon headed to Nadi, the local town. We caught a bus which was only a dollar. (much better than a $15 cab) we got to town and hit every shop we could find.

As we walked along we would be approached by some people inviting us to their shops off the main area. We followed one, and he did indeed bring us to a little wood carvings store which showcased his villages wood carvings.
They had a welcoming presentation which involved a drink called Kava. It starts out as a powder that comes from a ground up root. They put it in a bag then run water through it into a bowl turning the water a muddy color, then with a half of a coconut shell they scoop some out and give it to you. They clap three times and then you drink. The stuff tastes like muddy water and makes your mouth numb but it was fun and we did end up buying some nice pieces of wood work.

We kept walking around and I ended up buying a really cool wood bowl, but the thing was large and heavy after a while. We stopped at a traditional market with little stalls, at the last on I found a bag that could hold my bowl really well. Originally the seller wanted $45 for it but I got it down to $20 which translates to about $10 American, not too bad. I do enjoy haggling. Well I stuck my bowl in there and happily continued on my way.

We shopped for a bit more then we were getting hungry so we asked a store owner where we should eat. Well these people were so nice that he actually walked us to the restaurant that he though we should eat at. Super nice... we didn't actually eat there though. We walked around a bit more and found a Mongolian/Chinese place that had free wifi. There was a lot of food when we were done eating that we just got it to go so we would have dinner tomorrow :)
We called it a day after the meal that and like New Zealand everything closes at 5pm. We caught the bus back to the hotel, it was interesting cause there were roaches climbing on the side of the bus and freaked me and Tasha out a bit, The day ended with a nice/competitive game of 5 deck in the hotel. yeah my team was slaughtered....oh well I'm in Fiji!
all the kids have to wear uniforms for school :)

Also side note, we had to pack everything this night cause we were checking out early tomorrow, which was good because as I was organizing my bag I noticed an ant in the bag I bought today. Well, when I investigated further I found that there were ants all over the seems of the bag so I had to rush to the bathroom and shake out all the ants in my new bag. Thankfully I got them all! At least I know it authentic :)

A good day!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Day 7: Goodbye New Zealand and Hello Fiji!

  Alright so today was the day we left new Zealand, it being a Sunday we went to church. The service went a little long so we had to sneak out to go catch our plane flight. But they were having a stake conference, so the choir was wearing matching outfits with flowers. Absolutely beautiful!
Anyways, we sneak out and then drive to where we can drop off our rental, found the right place and caught the shuttle to the airport. The plane was only a three-hour flight to Fiji where we will be for a couple of days. We get to Fiji a little late but we decide to take a quick walk around the hotel.

Well that wasn't the greatest idea, our moods were not in the best of shape from all the travel and I'm pretty sure all the bugs were out cause they were biting. We went back to the hotel and stayed there for dinner. Tasha and shared a dish of Malu which was a white meat fish, it was very tasty.
This is the green hills of New Zealand

But as we were sitting there I noticed that a very particular insect was flying about.... it was cockroaches.... they have flying roaches in this country....ew

 Above is Fiji (compared to New Zealand's green-ness)

In any case, after we had our lovely dinner, our moods were still pretty sour so we decided to go to the pool area and check it out hopefully swim a bit. Well we got there and the water was just a bit cold. So we just dipped our feet and watched the cane toads eat crickets.

Our rooms were actually quite nice, we were welcomed with a red island flower on our beds. They also had air-conditioning which is a must cause it was night and already hot humid weather. Well, we are finally in the island I guess. Now Tasha can use the rest of her clothes she brought :)