At some point in your life, if you can, you should go to Fiji. It is one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been. In a completely different way to which I loved New Zealand, Fiji introduced me to a way of life that I wish I could always live by. “No hurry no worry, Fiji time”. The people, the food, and the general vibe of everywhere I went made it a very special place to me.
My first week in Fiji did not go exactly as planned, I spent a few days on the Coral Coast in order to get my Padi qualification. I had never even tried scuba diving before but I assumed I would love it as much as I love being in the water in general. In hindsight I should have had at least one taster session before I paid full whack for my open water qualification. My first pool session went well, I mean it was only 1 metre deep so nothing could have gone wrong. My second session, however, was our first open water dive, and one which ended up being my last. I managed to go about 7 metres deep before I went dizzy and couldn’t equalize (make my ears pop back to being normal). I panicked when I couldn’t get my ears to pop properly and panic makes you breath faster which makes you unexpectedly start floating to the surface. I started floating away from the group and all of a sudden found myself out of the water. Luckily the amazing Esa (pro diver and boat captain) was there to help me get out the water, scuba kit weighs an absolute ton when it's wet and you haven't used much of your oxygen. After that, we tried to get me to drive twice more in the next 2 days but my ears just would not co-operate. I managed a massive 2 metres before we had to call it a day and I was left to snorkel and not dive. I was soooo annoyed but what can you do, scuba diving isn’t for everyone and I still saw some pretty cool things under the sea just by snorkeling. But note to anyone who wants to get their scuba qualification, actually try diving first just in case you hate it or can't actually do it, it's way scarier than I expected it to be.
The second half of my trip to Fiji was an 8 day tour with Wanderlands. I met my group the day after I fell asleep in the Fiji sun (yes mum I was wearing factor 50) and it legitimately turned me into a lobster, you can refer to the photo gallery below to see how red I actually got. We spent the next 2 nights back in the Coral Coast (where I had stayed to do my scuba diving, in the exact same hostel) and it sort of became like home. Here we met George, Junior and Sammy who were the captains and boat crew for the Beach House and all around legends who took us to Yanuca Island (the rockiest boat ride of my life) and made sure we had the best time in the Coral Coast. They also taught me what bulash*t is (sorry Grandma) which is basically the Fijian word for banter and they just tell you believable little white lies that you believe and then look stupid when they’re not true. Trust me, nearly everything these boys say is bulash*t, in a funny way. It was here that I found my love for Bounty, Fiji's finest rum and that is all I drank for my whole time in Fiji. For the rest of the week we travelled up to the Yasawa Islands and stayed at Nacula and Manta ray Islands. Obviously the most picturesque places I have ever been and the people are incredible. On this island trip we snorkeled, we paddle boarded (I fell off multiple times and was not good at it) we cave dived, we sat in rubber tubes and watched the sunset and we drank Cava (Fijian ceremony that Europeans introduced to them to replace the drinking of human blood back when they were cannibals). Cava is basically a ground pepper plant and water mix, not really for me but I still had 3 glasses and it made my tongue go numb. Eventually if you drink enough proper Cava (they water it down for tourists) your whole body goes numb! And we ate a lot of food. The Fijians love to feed but also on these small remote islands you have to pay a daily fee for food, whether you eat it or not you have to pay, so may as well make the most of it! My favorite resort we stayed in was the Blue Lagoon resort incredible beaches and facilities and amazing food but Mantaray Island was an Incredible place for snorkeling. Unfortunately we didn't get to see any of the amazing Mantaray's but I did see a Reef Shark and the incredible fishes that live in the reef. I also managed to get a mini jellyfish caught in my bikini top and therefore got little jellyfish stings all over my boobs. Add that to my incredible sunburn and multiple insect bites and I looked fantastic.
A week was not really long enough with my tour group, they were all amazing people and I wish we had had more time together, but the tour came to an end as quickly as it had started and everyone went their separate ways. I had one night left on the main Island in Nadi and I arranged to meet up with George, Junior and Sammy at Bamboo hostel for my final night. The next day I wasn’t flying until 9pm so I spent the day with George and Junior and their cousins. Junior’s mum and dad looked after my baggage and I went over to their cousin’s house who cooked us an amazing Fijian curry. We sat on the floor to eat, real Fijian style and I ate so much I didn’t eat a single thing until I arrived and had was settled in LA! It was the perfect end to my time in Fiji and I loved everyone I met. I have already started planning how I can spend New Year there next year because that is apparently when Fiji is at its best!