Bula!! (that’s Fijian for “hello” or “welcome”… literally means “life” but you hear it as a common greeting everywhere you go here!)
I’m sitting here by the dimly lit poolside, looking up into a clear night sky filled with stars and thinking to myself about the tiny turns of events that led me to being here. Just six months ago Fiji was nowhere on my list of places I thought I’d visit in 2012. And yet here I am! Happy, contented, and feeling extremely lucky to be able to set foot on yet another new country.
It’s been two nights since I got here. Took the 3-hour flight from Auckland direct into Nadi, and was picked up at the airport by a pre-arranged taxi. The driver, Nilesh, was extremely friendly and chatty, telling me all sorts of stories ranging from personal ones to national history as we took the 3-hour drive to the resort I was to stay in. The drive was supposed to only take 2 hours, but huge stretches of the road were under repairs or construction hence the ride became very slow, and very bumpy. I won’t complain about the presence of the potholes though – it only made for better opportunities for me to take photos of the scenery as well as be greeted by shouts of “BULA!” by the all the locals who were either walking between villages or selling produce by the roadsides. I wondered if they greeted every foreigner in a taxi as excitedly and warmly every time one passes by. I’m guessing yes.
It was well past sunset by the time we reached Volivoli Beach Resort, located towards the North-Western tip of Viti Levu, one of the two largest islands amongst the Fijian republic. I’m booked into one of its dorm rooms – 8 bunk beds with 2 showers & bathrooms per dorm. They also have private villas and rooms available, but for a solo backpacker like me (who barely stays or utilizes a room aside from to sleep in at night), the dorm fits perfectly. It’s pretty quiet here at the moment, only a handful of other guests around so it sort of feels like I have the entire resort all to myself! I had two other French girls in my dorm with me the past two nights, but they’ve since checked out so I will have the entire big space for the remainder of my stay. Will be here another two more nights, as I’ve booked to dive with Ra Divers (the dive centre attached to this resort) for 3 full days.
Yesterday’s and today’s dives were amazing. The corals are so colourful and healthy, teeming with fishes, and being greeted by a few grey reef sharks, some white-tipped sharks, and a green turtle were more than enough to keep a huge elated grin plastered on my face day and night!
The crew at Ra Divers (all locals) are a warm, friendly, helpful and cheerful bunch who would dance along with me every time I asked them to blast the music haha. They also know their ocean well. The dive boats are great too! Powerful and sturdy on the waters, comfortable, well-equipped and you’re just spoiled like a princess as there’s a warm dry towel waiting for you as soon as you climb up from a dive. Fresh tropical fruits, cakes and cookies are also handed out together with cool drinking water to keep you hydrated. They are also only one of two land-based dive outfits that take their dive boats out all the way into the famed Vatu I Ra passage (with pristine dive sites that’ll make you want to stay underwater forever), so if you’re planning a dive trip to Fiji then I think you really can’t go wrong by choosing to dive with them.
I have a final day of diving here tomorrow, before heading off to the Yasawa Islands to get some dives in its surrounding waters. Am getting sleepy now and do not want to be mosquito food, so I better head back to my room and call it a night. Hope to get another post in with more pics soon.
And to follow the Fijian way of bidding goodnight, “Moce!”
Soundtrack: Jasper James – This House
Mood: Overwhelming bliss & satisfaction
Location: Poolside, Volivoli Beach Resort, Fiji
Random thought: Grey hairs argh!