Arriving in Fiji

As the “winter weather” (in the loosest since of the term) in California is proving once again to be completely inadequate with a high of 74 degrees today, while the rest of the country is braving through an “arctic blast,” I thought it would be fun to completely escape and look back on the warm days we spent in Fiji a few months ago.

Ever since we got back I have been wanting to share all the photos and adventures but it always seemed so overwhelming to dive into all the pictures and memories, for the simple reason that there are so many.  We had five cameras between the two of us: two Go-Pro’s, my Nikon, and both our camera phones, so I had a lot of photo organizing to do.  Once I pulled them all together, all the memories of the amazing time we had came rushing back and I am so excited to start this series of posts to share this trip of a lifetime.

I guess we can just start right where the trip officially began… waiting for the first plane at the San Jose International Airport in California.  This would be the first flight of three legs of the trip.

San Jose, California to Los Angles, California  –  1hour 30 min

Los Angeles, California, to Nadi, on the island of Viti Levu, Fiji  –  11 hours 20 min

Nadi, Fiji to Savusavu, on the island of Vanua Levu, Fiji  – 1 hour 20 min

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In our travels together, Mario and I have gotten really good at entertaining ourselves while we wait patiently in airports with scrabble, card games, and watching our favorite shows on the iPad. 

2For Mario and I this really was a “once in a lifetime” trip.  Although we talk about going back on a weekly basis, the reality is we don’t know if we will ever be able to.  There are so many places to see in the world, and for the moment we have a limited vacation schedule and limited budget.  So we really had a “bucket list” mentality as we set out on this trip.  Which is perfect as a tropical vacation in Fiji was actually on both our bucket lists.

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Our flight from San Jose to Los Angles went off without a hitch and at this point we had made it safely to LAX.  We got off the fist plane, hopped on a bus that took us from the plane to the domestic arrivals terminal, walked through the chaos of people to the international terminal where we waited in one line to check in, followed by the security line.  All in all, it wasn’t too bad.   When we finally got on the Fiji Airways plane, needless to say we were thrilled to be there.

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The eleven hour flight was a red eye. We left Los Angeles around 11:30 pm Pacific time on Tuesday and would arrive in Nadi around 6:00 am Fiji time on Thursday.  If your like me, you might we wondering “What about Wednesday?!?”

Wednesday is somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, and there it will stay.

If you’ve ever lost a day while traveling and thought about it too much, you’ll soon realize it’s pointless.  Just a reminder that “time” as we know it is really just an illusion.

And another reminder to live in the moment.

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Anyways, back to the flight.  Luckily I was able to sleep almost 6 hours on the plane, which left only 5 hours to stare at the little plane flying over the map.

Just kidding.  I watched movies, but it was fun to watch the map as we flew past Hawaii, over the international date line and the equator, and into the Southern Hemisphere.

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Once we were at the Nadi Airport we again made our way from terminal to terminal.  This time we went from the international to the domestic after picking up all our luggage.  It was at this point we made our way to the check in counter when the gentlemen at the desk weighed our checked luggage and then proceeded to ask us to stand on the giant scale so that we could be weighed with our carry on bags.

I had never been weighed before flying on a plane and I was glad I had been doing my pilates. 😉

Then we made our way to the plane.

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Here is us.

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And there is the plane.

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This is a little perspective on the size.  The camera of course does not really do justice.

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This was our view of the islands below.  Fiji is made up of approximately 330 islands so the view was incredible.

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And finally, we landed.

Between travel from our home town, layovers, and travel to the hotel we were on the move for nearly 24 hours.

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That little wood hut behind us… That’s the SavuSavu Airport.

The wonderful people from our hotel were waiting just beyond the gate to greet us with leis and warm towels.  We were absolutely thrilled to finally be here. I guess it’s also worth noting that aside from the 24 hours of travel this trip was about 18 months in the making.  It took us a really long time to plan and more importantly to save the funds such an incredible trip requied.  So whether you call it 24 hours, 18 months, or a lifetime, we had waited long enough.

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We arrived at the resort to the entire Savasi Island staff greeting us with a song.  It was truly a remarkably warm welcome.  They took us through the dining area, and sat us down at a table that overlooked the ocean.

The chalkboard above kept us informed of the sun rise and set times, high and low tide, the Fijian word of the day, and always reminded us to stay on “Fiji Time”

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We both received a fresh coconut with a straw.  After all the traveling, this was the perfect much needed refreshment to start our stay on the islands.

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Aren’t the leis Beautiful?

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They brought us fresh fruit, actually they brought us fresh fruit every day with both breakfast and lunch.  Watermelon, mango, pineapple, banana, and papaya.

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Every morning we chose an item from the breakfast menu, and then chose what we would like for both lunch and dinner from that days menu selections.  The food was INCREDIBLE.  We were continually so pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food, the beautiful presentations and they were all so delicious.

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Coconut Close-up.

When breakfast was over we were taken to our suite.  It was the Blue Lagoon Bure Two, which you can find here.

It is just as magical in real life as it is in the pictures.  The clear water of the infinity pool edges against the blue waters of the Koro Sea.  Our room, kitchen and living room were all connected by the patio of this pool, making for a beautiful outdoor living space that was all ours for the week.

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We settled in and rested for awhile.

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We quickly learned that when we heard the sound of the drum or ‘Lali’,  it meant it was time to gather for our next meal.  The day of our first arrival just happened to be the day that everyone went to have a BBQ lunch on the beach.  This first meal was truly beyond our wildest expectations for what a tropical island vacation should be.

We were led down the gravel road by Seleme (our new favorite bar-tender) and through a jungle path…

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…to this secluded beach.

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The water was blue, clear, and warm.  The beef and chicken were grilled on a BBQ on the beach, and the rice, salad, rolls, and pasta were all served buffet style.

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This was our first taste of Fiji beer.  It was love at first sip. 6

And the view as we had our lunch…

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Mario had found his new favorite beer koozie.

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Can you tell we were having fun?

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This is the view walking into our Bure.

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And the gate.

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Another view across the lagoon and the reefs on the other side of the island.

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We brought along with us about 10 bottles of wine and champagne from California.  One, to save costs and two, because we had been saving them for a really special occasion, and this was it.

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We also had some really great cocktails at the Bula Bar.

This was my margarita.  The limes were orange and sweet.

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This is the Bula Bar and the main entrance to the dining area.

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 I think one of the greatest highlights of the entire trip was being able to take my shoes off before we went inside anywhere.  This island custom is my favorite.

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Selfie down by the water.

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And Mario is his Hawaiian shirt.  Or in this case, Fijian shirt.

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And the first sunset.

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After dinner and drinks, we relaxed back at our Bure for the evening, and settled in after our first night in Paradise.

Hopefully if your reading this in the colder weather, you feel a little warmer today.  Check back soon for posts on the rest of our trip!

Sota Tale!

(Soh-tah-tah-lay / translation: see you again!)

13 thoughts on “Arriving in Fiji

  1. wow.!! that is some trip!! BEAUTIFUL, I don’t think i would want to come home!!, but glad you did:)..very nice you guy’s!!

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  2. Incredible! I can’t believe how beautiful everything is… You’ve inspired me to visit Fiji. And I agree with Uncle Bob – can’t believe you came home, but happy you did!

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  3. Hi Dookes,

    When we were there, Mario spent a lot of time talking to both our bar tender Seleme, and some other visitors from Australia all about Rugby and the Fiji team. Some of them even went into town one night to watch a game in a local bar, unfortunately no games were playing when we were there, or we would have gone as well. What an experience that would have been! : ) They say rugby is like American football with no helmet or pads, so I can only imagine how intense rugby fans must also be!

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    • Rugby is very special to those of us that once played, the camaraderie amongst fans and players is amazing. It is said that after ones own national team, Wales in my case, that Fiji is everyone’s second favourite! USA have a reasonable rugby team, as I have told my cousins in Chicago many times…but they only seem interested in some little team called “The Bears”!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oooo what a beautiful place and memories! I’m sure it will be etched in your memory forever! I too try to report on travel whenever I can, but at times the cooking side of my blog takes over. 🙂

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