Our 44th wedding anniversary rolls around at the end of the month and although we've visited a good number of the Pacific Islands, Fiji hasn't been one of them. A good time to rectify that! We told our adult kids that we were taking a break and received the predictable sarcastic response, "A break from what, exactly?" We'd booked in at a small resort mainly staffed by residents of a local village on the south-west corner of the main island. With flying time only 3 hours from Auckland, plus a 45 minute drive to the resort, we could hit the ground running, so to speak.
Air NZ's splendid silver fern logo and tail koru
Land ho! Arty first shot of Fiji
Step straight off the deck onto the lawn and this is what you see (and you could hear the clunk of my jaw hitting the deck). The other person on this trip was far more refined than her less cultured husband and took it all in her stride.
I suppose it'll have to do......
The rest of the day was spent exploring all the facilities and planning adventures for the coming days. Oh, and quietly sipping the odd beer and cocktails!
Tough day at the office
Fijians, like most Pacific Islanders, are incredibly friendly and really go the extra mile to make sure that visitors to their shores enjoy the experience. The service isn't the formal type that you would expect perhaps in Europe or Asia, it's low key and laid back but totally on the ball - love it!
Every evening, there was a local cultural performance of some kind and beautifully done, followed by dinner under the stars and a stroll back to our room...... magic.
Jennie seemed to be taking an exceptionally keen interest.....
Curved swimming pool lit from under water - spectacular
An encounter with a local villager at the lagoon ended with us being taken for a boat tour round a nearby island where they keep their goats and pigs, even dropping us off on a deserted beach to walk the length of it and picking us up at the other end. Really doesn't get better than that.
Village boats at the lagoon entrance
Off we go......
One of the island deserted beaches - well, apart from.....
Never let it be said that that our holidays don't lack variety. Just before we arrived, it was reported in the international press that a tourist had found a human body part on a beach not far from us. The Fijian navy divers were brought in to search the reef and we saw them heading out on several mornings. Apparently, it involved a Russian couple who were living on the island so who knows what the investigation will reveal!
Back to more relaxing parts of the break, we love visiting produce markets to see what is grown and to chat with locals. Fiji grows the usual range of gorgeous tropical fruits and the range of vegetables was pretty impressive. We were particularly impressed with taro root chips seasoned with fiery local chilli powder - made quite a change from normal potato chips. A little less keen to try fish that had been sitting in the sun for a couple of hours though.
Beautiful fresh produce at amazingly low prices by western standards
A trip to an eco reserve area to look at some local wildlife showed various bird species with the most amazing colours, as well as all sorts of reptiles. Jennie didn't seem at all fazed handling a snake! Here's an interesting factoid...... Fiji imported mongooses (mongeese?) to control snakes which live in their sugar cane plantations. You see them trotting about all over the place.
Bright colours weren't just restricted to land animals and plants, with the reef fish also having spectacular colours, as well as starfish the size of dinner plates having the most amazing electric blue colour.
Fiji must be called the land of sunsets as every night was stunning and quite different - here's a selection which were an utter privilege to see....
Locals in traditional grass skirts silhouetted at sunset
No self-respecting moto blog avoids food porn and on our last night, we had dinner at their award-winning top restaurant. My word, the service and food quality were equal to the best food we've had anywhere. Amuse-bouche to start, then wonderful palate-cleaners such as homemade mango sorbet between courses....... doing it in style!
Dinner under the stars
Exquisite presentation - sure beats the normal biker meat pie at a gas station!
At the end of the meal, the staff sprang a lovely surprise on us with an extra dessert of fresh mango cheesecake with coconut ice cream and anniversary greetings piped in dark chocolate. The only downer was that Jennie wouldn't let me lick the chocolate off the plate, but there again, she's always had a sight more class than me.
In a recent post, Aussie moto-blogger Chillertek took the mickey by asking what sort of a busy social life was possible for a 68 year old (i.e. me) to have. Well Steve, now you know - one with no debt and kids who have left home *grin* .
Wonder where the next adventure will take us?