After a wonderful 12 hour layover in Los Angeles, during which we stay with Jack’s girlfriend’s family and fully enjoy the last bit of America we will see for quite some time (home-made blueberry waffles, In N’ Out Burger, ice cream cookies, and wonderful Mexican food), we are back in the air to Fiji. The 747 touches down at 5am Fiji time and we step off into the humidity that can only mean we are in the tropics. We make it through customs only to sit at the luggage carousel for an hour. Ryan’s bag is nowhere to be found. He is about as pleased as he was when he got out of that van driving through the mountains to Machu Picchu. What makes it worse is that it is absolutely pouring outside. We realize that the Canadians we were sitting next to on the flight have also lost one of their bags, so ban together and head to a hostel that they have done some research on and recommeneded. We haven’t made reservations yet because we don’t know what things will be like on the ground, but we had plans to sit on a beach of a remote island off of the west coast of Fiji and enjoy some good books. Sounds like a dream right? Right?
Good thing we never made that reservation because we had placed ourselves down into not one, but two monsoons hitting the tropical paradise of Fiji. We didn’t see the sun once. We sat on the beach for exactly 30 minutes in between downpours. We saw zero stunningly clear waters. You have to laugh because we literally sat under this cabana with some Canadians and a lad from Germany, played cards, and gambled for who was going to get the coveted spicy ramen packet. What else were we to do with widespread flooding occuring everywhere? This combined with the fact that Ryan still didn’t have his bag was making for a very ‘unfortunate’ Fijian experience.
By the 3rd day Ryan had received his bag, it wasn’t raining too hard, and we were going to lose our minds if we had to sit around playing more cards. We were determined to do something fun. So we jumped in a cab and made our way to the orchid gardens. Now we were on to something. Although it was absolutely pouring the entire time, we walked through the jungle, enjoying what was a massive orchid sanctuary. Afterwards we headed to what was rumored to be a wonderful hotspring and mudpool. We were ready to exfoliate. Although we had to ford a flooding river, we made our way into the mudpools and completely submerged ourselves. We rubbed it into our skin, threw it at each other and even began to think that Fiji might not be so bad after all.
That night we enjoyed a wonderful tribal, fire dancing show put on by some of the locals at our hostel (they might have felt bad for us having such bad weather). After the show, we were lingering around, not quite ready to head back to bed, when one of the locals ushers us over to a big mat on the ground where they have set up one of their traditional drinks – Cava. We sit down and are given a large, carved bowl filled with a liquid that looks like bad laundry water. It is grayish, brown in color and smells even worse. If this goes poorly, we can just write it off to our continuing bad luck in Fiji. We each get a bowl full and pour it down the hatch. 2 minutes later we are wondering why we can’t feel our tongues or mouths for that matter. Another bowl and we can’t stop smiling. 4 more and we are grinding our teeth so hard that we break out laughing. We are then told that we can go to the market and buy some to bring back home, except if we are from Germany, because it is obviously illegial. Great. 20 minutes later the effects have worn off, and we are left puzzled, happy, and somewhat scared of the what had just happened.
All in all, Fiji could have been a lot worse. We could have been caught in the floods or been taken hostage or something wild like that, but to be fair, we were expecting tropical paradise and tropical paradise we did not receive. O well, next time I guess we’ll just have to drink more cava. Off to Australia…
Current Location: Nadi, Fiji