So this morning, we got up really early to leave our place on Nadi Beach for the airport. We had counted our money to the last cent of reaching the airport with nothing. We did it! Once we got to the airport we had a quick breakfast. Markus actually had the same flight again with us, so we were together. We then got on the flight and headed for Sydney. After the four hour flight, we started descending beneath the clouded sky and at a instant, you saw the entire Sydney harbour, with the Opera house sitting on the water, and the city standing proudly behind it. It was such a magnificent view that I was hoping so much that it was sunnier! As we circled the area, we landed and got our baggage together. Australia is VERY strict about what you can and cannot bring into the country, so I actually had to declare a nice wooden mask that I bought in Fiji. Luckily, it wasn’t taxed, and they just wanted to make sure the wood had been treated properly and I was on my way.
This morning, we got up early and headed for the beach. The beach we wanted to go to, Dream Beach, which is characterized by the softest feeling sand you’ve ever felt, was on low tide, and all the water had been sucked back down and it was left with rocks. So we started to walk around the entire island and found ourselves weaving in and out of the beaches and roads getting back to the first beach we had gone too. I felt like such a little islander, because from the time I took my shoes off at the airport, I hadn’t put anything else on! My feet were becoming one with the earth, and dirty at that, but I knew eventually I would have to buy sandals sometime–I just didn’t know when :) After snorkeling some, and playing in the water, we headed for a lunch at a nearby hotel restaurant and got our bellies full before our journey back to the mainland. At first, the 2 hour journey seemed a bit long, but it was so nice. The South Pacific is really quite beautiful, and we saw a lot of great little islands along the way. Actually, one of the islands across from Mana is where the film, The Castaway, with Tom Hanks was filmed. He stayed in a Bure right on Mana island during the filming. After we arrived, we headed for a hostel that had been recommended by Daryl, the deaf guy from AUS. He was staying there, so we headed for the same place. Unfortunately, it was full, so we ended up staying at the place across the street. We had a great dinner and went to the Fire Dance at another hostel right next to this one. The dance was really cool, with the guys twirling the fire right before us. Looked a little dangerous actually, cause they kept dropping the fire batons!
Tomorrow we’re off to Sydney to start our Australian adventure! Stay tuned!!
As the boat approached Mana Island, the waters were colored so many blues, we saw that this was really a much more desolate island–we only saw a few people on the beach. Once we got off the boat, we headed for the backpacker’s hostel, and decided where we should stay. After walking around quite a bit, we ended up in the first place we had found, and decided it would be the best. After we got our stuff settled, we headed for the beach where we met some other people. Two deaf, one from AUS and one from NZ, some US girls and guys, and some UK guys. Everyone just was hanging around and carving coconut shells, swimming, sunbathing, and completely living the life of a shipwrecked island. The island is inhabited by two villages, one of which our hostel was in. That evening, the local school gave a singing performance after our dinner. It was a great cultural experience because the locals all would introduce themselves, and learn our names, and ask where we’re from and such. It was really cool. After the performance, I dozed in a hammock right next to the ocean being swayed by the wind.
Today we got up after a great nights sleep and got our bags ready for our trip to Mana Island with the others. Unfortunately, Kelly and Ashley couldn’t make it to the boat on time, and said they would arrive on the second boat coming in. So the UK guys and us headed for Mana Island and bid farewell to the little slice of heaven we were leaving behind.
We decided to go to Beachcomber Island, which is well known for its younger crowd. Off the coast of Fiji, and about a 25 minute boat ride, you reach the isolated oasis in the middle of blue waters. Along the ride, was a bunch of younger people, and we met Lindsay from South Carolina who had been studying abraod in Australia for the semester and traveling there on her way back home. We also met two girls from Montreal named Kelly and Ashley. We all chatted the entire way to the island and had a blast. It reminded me so much of my times traveling in Asia and Europe where I would meet up with the greatest people just by chance and in communal ‘dorm’ type living.
The beaches surrounding the island were white with sand and as we landed, we took our first steps in the warm South Pacific, and headed for the hostel. We didn’t have any reservations, and I suppose it was a bit risky, but they have 160 beds available in their dorm, so we figured we had a good chance. We got a great group of beds with Charlie, Matt, and Tom from the UK. It was on the second floor that looked down to all the rest of the beds, so in a way it was a ‘luxurious’ loft. After check in, we all met at the beach and sunbathed. After a while, we moseyed in for dinner which is signified by the playing of drums. We all sat together and had great steaks, potatoes, vegetables, and fruits. They had said at the airport the food at Beachcomber was the best food in the Fiji islands, and I was not disappointed.
Today, I took the day off to prepare for our trip to Fiji. Got all my stuff done and put together just as Mike arrived with his friend to take us to the airport. I had worried a little bit about the timing, thinking that traffic would be a problem. Of course, when Mike and his friend arrived, there was a flat tire, and we ended up having to take the train. Since the train took quite a while, we arrived just at 6 o’clock for our 7 o’clock flight. I figured we’d be pretty close, but alas, we made it, even with enough time to get a sandwich for dinner.
After we got to the gate, we boarded the first part of our flight which was directly to Los Angeles. We arrived there and had dinner and got ready for our non-stop to Fiji. This was Mike’s first time overseas, so the big 747 was an experience. Unfortunately, it was with Air Pacific, and their entertainment and food was all but stellar. Thinking only of the long flight, we boarded with magazines, books, and things to hopefully keep us occupied during the 11+ hour flight ahead. After a couple of hours, we were zonked out, and for those of you who know me well, I do not do well with sleeping on transporation. Well, this was a first, but I slept all the way to Fiji, and awoke as we were flying over the islands, and seeing the sunrise. Talk about a wake-up call. The waters were blue, and the islands desolate. We landed safely and started our queueing for immigration. In the line, we met Markus, a german traveler who was flying alone. We befriended him and tried to figure out where to go for our first stop in Fiji.