It seems like forever ago that we left home. Our time away has been interesting. We had only a few days in Sydney before we headed over to Fiji. Exploring Australia has been left to the end of the trip. We were excited to check out Fiji and sad to leave Sydney. Sydney was a pleasant surprise with so much beauty by the water. People were lovely and it was a really easy city to maneuver around. Sundays you can get a hop on bus / ferry ticket for only a couple of dollars for the entire day so we saw as much as we could before we left early Monday morning.
Fiji has had more than a few surprises for us. Nothing earth shattering, just unexpected. Our plan was to go from the airport in Nadi to a “homestay” in Momi Bay. We didn’t know much about what a homestay was but we had arranged for them to provide breakfast and dinner as there was nothing else available in the area other than the dive shop. We were greeted at the airport by a driver arranged by the dive shop First concern, was exchanging money at a bank enroute to the homestay. (There is an almost 4% surcharge to use a credit card anywhere in Fiji.) As it turns out we had arrived on a public holiday and all banks were closed. The public holiday was “Perfect Mohammad” which I heard him say “perfect moments” and I immediately delighted in this idea for a national holiday. At first glance, nothing this day was turning out Perfectly though. In hindsight, it was all perfect, just not easy. And after all, no one said that it was an easy moments holiday!
We were packed with significant luggage. We had brought some food from Canada including greens and protein drinks, enough personal products to last both of us at least 2 months, clothes, hand laundry gear, our Scuba gear as well as our electronics and cameras to record our time away and stay connected. Oh yeah, and 3 pillows and 2 blankets just for comfort on the flights. So, although we only had 3 checked bags, we were weighted down and looked like we might be moving here permanently.
As we headed to the car with all of our stuff, we were informed by the driver that the homestay was no longer available. The owners had pushed off to America for a few months! No worries…there is a “back packers” place on the beach beside the dive shop. Both David and I thought of our place at the dive shop in Bali with a bathroom outdoors and thought this might be similar and besides, we were not expecting much anyway so we were up for the adventure. We weren’t sure if we could get food there so we stopped at a grocery store and bought a case of water and thought we could wing the rest with the dive shop being close by. The drive took the better part of an hour and we weren’t certain if we were driving through the middle of Cuba most of the time. What happened to the turquoise sea that was to be surrounding us??? Was this really Fiji? As we drove, the driver referenced a few times about our stuff being safe at the “back packers” and he seemed a bit concerned because it is a public holiday and the locals are all on the beach. He was also concerned that we didn’t have enough bug spray and other necessities and kindly offered to pick up whatever we might need on a daily basis. I was thinking this was sure to be a great opportunity to really explore the local culture. Then we arrived!
There was a small wooden box with a thatched roof called a bure that didn’t actually have a formal door that was to be our home for the next week. Yes, it was on the beach but it was a completely obstructed view with clothes hanging on a line in front. The three of us walked around the outside trying to find the door and when we walked in, I was greeted with the biggest mosquito I had ever seen! Although I was assured that there was running water, I should have been more specific that it was a shower and not coming from a metal pipe over the toilet. It didn’t take long for both David and I to decide this was not for us. We didn’t need to say much to the driver, he got it. There was no way to lock up our belongings while we dove, let alone enough space to put everything. We laughed and joked about the mosquitos, the location, the safety, the running water and the Perfect Moment holiday as we drove to Denarau Island finding alternate accommodation. He was pleased to take us elsewhere and made the trip very pleasant. We have settled in on Denarau Island. We still have not been diving. I want to go back there and dive and take a picture of the place. I was too dumbfounded to do so at the time. We have access to water sports where we are so we have been spending our time sailing, paddle boarding and kayaking soaking up the very hot sun when it is not teeming down with rain. It really has been a mix of everything since we arrived. The first night the sunset was the most spectacular red but we didn’t have the cameras unpacked. Each night we watch the sunset, some nights with the most magnificent colours but not the red like we saw the first night and some nights it drops behind big black clouds. All in all, we have found that letting go of our expectations has made us realize what a perfect stay this is. It’s also lead to some interesting conversations about letting go versus having expectations and whether it’s possible to create something from only a vision without any expectations at all. Perhaps, I’ll write about that tomorrow.