After a short stint in Auckland, Barb and I boarded flights to Nadi to live it up all fancy like in Fiji for the last leg of her sabbatical.
Nadi was by far the smallest (and I’d learn later, leakiest during a heavy rainstorm) international airport I’ve ever been to. One thing I didn’t realize is that no one really spends that much time in Nadi; there is a reason it’s called the “gateway to the islands”. Some of the islands also aren’t super close together and it’s generally worth it just to book flights between them rather than ferry (can take forever) or water taxi ($$$).
We spent an evening in Nadi before heading to Taveuni, ‘the Garden Island’ where we were collected by taxi and then by boat to get to the aptly named “Remote Resort”. I should have known when the staff greeted us at the jetty and we were treated to a traditional Fijian welcome ceremony that Barb had really pulled out all the stops. Within an hour of arriving we got complimentary foot massages and took kava induced naps. Not a bad start.
It turns out we were the only two guests on the resort (which was a small boutique-y one to begin with). Not surprisingly, they confirmed our suspicions that it was rare to have two, non married, non-involved college friends as guests. What?? No way! 🙂
Our package came with several excursion options, 2 spa treatments, and unlimited beer and wine. After the initial day of extreme laziness, Barb and I were ready for some adventures. We choose the waterfall hike/rock slide back on Taveuni. It felt like being a kid. We literally only had to show up to the boat; everything we’d need/could want was organized, packed and ready for us (lunch, champagne, towels, snacks, coolers, water, guides, taxi for when we got to land, etc). We still managed to be late somehow but whatevs…Fiji time.
The first waterfall was only a 10 minute hike in and full of local kids swimming and jumping off of the rocks. This gave us the first glimpse of just how fit and athletic every Fijian is. To her credit, Barb did get up there and hop off but somehow managed to scare off all the kids in the process.
We were the only visitors at the other two waterfalls/swimming holes and it was beautiful. The best part of the day though was the natural water slide. Since it was the weekend, there were heaps of kids and families hanging out and having a great time.
There’s no pictures but I’ll do my best to describe it. The natural water slide is formed from smooth rocks with a few pools on the way down. It’s probably ~50 feet long but you only descend about 10 feet overall. To get to the top, you had to climb a rock, hop into one of the little pools to cut across, then walk up to the end. These kids were just flying down, bouncing off the rocks having a grand time. Easy, right?
Barb and I were clearly the helpless tourists and within minutes we each had a personal tour guide (read: local kid who took pity on us) showing us where to step to get to the top. When my guide, who had run the length of the slide while I had struggled to walk/not trip, slowed down on a section I knew it’d be bad. I attempted to do the same maneuver he had but only really succeeded in slipping and smashing my ass into a rock, not falling all the way only because I’d been holding onto a branch (with my left hand! Which I felt was an accomplishment thank you very much!). I still have remnants of the bruise…1.5 weeks later. Ow.
Needless to say, we gave the local kids a good laugh. In case you’re wondering or somehow aren’t old yet…adults don’t bounce off of rocks like kids do. We just don’t. It’s not a thing. When Barb went down, she managed to somehow do a 360 from her back to stomach and then to her back again, much to everyone’s amusement. Thinking I’d be smart, I asked another kid to go in front of me so I could see how it was done. He basically surfed down, standing up. So much for that. I did fair a little better than Barb but you definitely wouldn’t describe my go as a “graceful” slide. That being said, the rock slide and getting to interact with the local kids was definitely the highlight of the day.
The next two days we did beaches and snorkeling to check out the famous Rainbow Reef, see some turtles, and get some sunbathing in. One of those days they even sent the chef with us to grill on the beach because they figured we must be getting sick of the delicious wraps they’d been packing for our lunches. Maybe we could just live here?
Outside of unlimited booze and candlelit romantic dinners, one unforeseen perk of this leg of the trip was that while Barb and I have passionately disagreed on almost every musical genre/band/singer for years, we learned that we are book soul mates. We both recommend The Rosie Project or All the Light You Cannot See for your next read. 🙂