My ideal vacation is lying in a hammock, reading a book, and only getting off my ass to get food or a drink. Welcome to Fiji! This was the absolute best way to end our journey back home! This tour gave me the opportunity to pull back that “Australian Smokeshow” tan, relax like nothing else in the world mattered, and, most importantly, spend one last week with my beloved Norwegian babes, Guro and Kristine, and of course my best friend, Benjamin. Norway is definitely next up on the bucket list!
Guro, Jasmine, Kristine
The airport is located on Nadi, the main island of Fiji. We stayed at a hotel for our first night. Unfortunately, the AC wasn’t working in our room, so we had to drag all of our luggage to another room. Well, everyone except for Ben, whose luggage was lost on the flight over. Once we were settled in, we went to buy some new swim trunks and other items for Ben, stock up on bottled water, and find somewhere to eat supper. I was surprised to find that they had a brand new Burger King near the hotel we were staying at. It also had free wifi, which may or may not have played a role in us choosing to eat there.
In the morning, a charter bus picked us up and brought us to the port where we boarded the Yasawa Flyer. Our first island on the itinerary was Way Lailai. They had smaller boats come out to the ship to pick us and our luggage up. Once on shore, the locals came to get our luggage and carried it to our accommodation. For each meal, they banged on the drums to let us know it was time to come and eat. We stocked up on water because the tap water is undrinkable and a 1.5L of bottled water costs $6 FJD.
After lunch, the local ladies taught us how to make shelled bracelets and woven bracelets from tree bark. When we weren’t eating or doing activities, we were lying on the beach or in a hammock enjoying the relaxing sound of the ocean. The day after, we went snorkeling with lemon sharks. The tour guides even held one at the surface for us to touch. It was such an incredible experience!
Locals giving weaving lessons
White Sandy Beach was our next stop for the week. We stayed at each resort for just two nights, and then boarded the Yasawa Flyer to continue the journey. Here again, we were able to go snorkeling. I burnt my ass from laying on the surface for so long. The area we were in is home to a group of Manta Rays, but they are only in season May- October. I was very disappointed to learn that we were only 1 month off!
That night we went out for a sunset cruise with two tour guides. It ended up just being my group of friends that went along for the cruise: Ben, Kristine, and Guro. The two guides taught us how to sing “Old McDonald had a Farm” in Fijian. Each of us were given an animal to remember and, when it was our turn, we had to make the animal sound. We continued this the day after when we were back at the resort. I baaed like a sheep more times that day than I can count!
Locals signing “Old McDonald had a Farm”
Our final small island of the trip was Nabua Lodge. At this resort, they took us to snorkel in these really cool enclosed caves. We had to climb stairs to get into the first cave, and then swim underwater to reach the other cave. Our tour guides thought that snorkel gear would be provided, but it wasn’t so I went under blind. Ben and I also tried to climb the sides of the cave to a point where we could jump off. We definitely need to work on our upper body strength! I did finally made it up with some assistance.
Our last day out on the islands we each received a 30 minute massage. It wasn’t right on the beach like I was hoping, but pretty damn close! I finished an entire book in the two days that we were on this island. Three books in total for the week. You could say I enjoy a good romance novel. Since this was our last trip together, the four of us bought matching “Bula Fiji” bracelets when the local ladies held their market that day.
Jasmine, Ben, Guro, and Kristine
It was a long ride back to Nadi because we were so far out, but we enjoyed some ice cream cones from the store. That night we stayed at the same hotel as before, but chose to eat at a pizza place this time around… and then went to BK for free wifi afterwards. We spent the rest of the night packing since Guro and Kristine had to leave around 5:30AM. Ben and I slept in, enjoyed a delicious breakfast, and sipped $20 Mai Tai’s by the pool. Our flight didn’t leave until that evening, so we soaked up as much sunshine as we could. These are the Days of our Lives… Fiji style.
Fast forward two months, and I’m sitting in Moorhead, MN enjoying some freezing rain. If you have the opportunity to study abroad, do it. Don’t let anything hold you back, and definitely don’t make any excuses as to why you can’t do it alone. These were the best five months of my life, and now I have friends reading this very blog from all over the world. Life’s a beach, but I don’t mind playing in the sand… Do you?