Bula !

Save, Kesa, John, Singh, Maku, Nani & me at their home in Barara, Sabeto

Save, Kesa, John, Singh, Maku, Nani & me at their home in Barara, Sabeto

Bula, the first and only word you will hear throughout your entire trip in Fiji.  It simply means ‘Hello’ and hearing it over and over again shows how welcoming & friendly the Fijian people are…

When we think ‘Fiji’, we think ‘paradise’ and our thoughts wander off to palm-fringed white sand beaches, lagoons, colourful reefs & clear, tropical waters.  But I wandered what was beyond that. Fiji has a rich culture with it’s Fijian & Indo-Fijan people, it’s food, outlook & lifestyles.  I was eager to discover the real Fijian life. I was lucky to meet Save (pronounced ‘Sa Veh’), a local who lived in the small settlement of Barara near Sabeto with his wife Nani & their 3 kids John (9), Maku (7) & Kesa (2).

Havin' dinner with the family

Havin’ dinner with the family

His nephew Wise stayed with them as well. Sabeto is located between Nadi & Lautoka on Fiji’s main island Viti Levu or ‘the mainland’ as the locals call it.  Save took me to Lautoka and showed me around in town, visiting the local market etc.  It was intresting to see daily local life and how men here wore dresses to attend ceremonies or go to school.  Staying with Save & his family was just one of the most authentic experiences I had on this journey, living in a cozy wooden/tinnen house, having dinner with the whole family sitting on the floor, talking about life, sharing ideas, playing with the kids, …  Simply perfect!

Exploring the island of Mana

Exploring the island of Mana

After a couple of days with Save, it was obvious that I would explore the idyllic side of Fiji and so I took the local ferry to the small island of Mana (65FJ).  Fiji covers more than 300 islands with the Mamanuca Islands being close to the mainland and Mana was a good choice to start the island hopping.  Hopping the islands in Fiji is a must-do, the only sad thing is that it’s rather expensive.  Only a few companies sail to the Mamanuca Islands but just one (Awesome Adventures) to the Yasawa Islands up north.  Furthermore you have to pre-book your accomodation including meals meaning everything is taken care of and organised.  Like fixed hours for the meals…

Exploring the island of Mana

Exploring the island of Mana

Not really the way I like to travel but there was no other choice.  The only accomodation I found offering the choice between bed & breakfast (32FJ) or all-inlusive (66FJ)  was Ratu Kini on Mana.  And so I chose for that one…  Good to know is that on the islands you’ll only find resorts.  No shops, ATM, etc. can be found so take enough cash, drinks, snacks, … because the prices in the resorts are sky-high!

Once in Mana I escaped the touristic area, hiked around the island & to the top of the hills where I had magnificent views on the surrounding islands, the coral reefs & the beaches.  I was also looking forward to do some island hopping and visit some of the islands such as Monuriki aka ‘Cast Away’ island where they shot the movie with Tom Hanks.  To do this island hopping trip, we had to be 4 at least, so I found some people who were eager to do the island hopping as well…

Monuriki aka 'Cast Away' island

Monuriki aka ‘Cast Away’ island

Kalinda from Australia, Georgia & Jess from Germany were happy to join!  And so we sailed to the islands with Iliesa, a local who would guide us on the journey.  The small boat was dancing on the waves and after a fun ride of 30 minutes along beautiful islands, we finally made it to Monuriki.  Wonderful island and so was the neighbouring island Monu.

At night, I met Kenishi, Yumi & Midori, 3 nice Japanese people who stayed in Ratu Kini as well.  We had great fun participating at some of the evening activities, enjoying some drinks, …  The following day I took a local boat to South Sea island where I was transferred to the Awesome Adventure ferry to Nacula in the Yasawa Islands.

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