A year ago i won tickets for 2, to Fiji for a week from Mr Vintage. I was totally stoked since I had never been overseas before (and im 36!). Heck, I’d only ever been in a plane a couple of times. Because I had my kids young i was never quiet out of the ‘always broke’ cycle, dispite hard years of working.
Anyway I decided because i loved my kids, and i wanted them to have broadened horizons, and not be 36 when they first go overseas, i wanted to take them. Luckily Mr Vintage was really awesome and said ‘sure that’s fine’ so we organised that I would pay for the kids , and the nice guys at Flight Center booked it all up.
It took a year to get the finances straight, and even still it involved selling my beloved iPhone, and some other geeky gadgets we didn’t really require due to other various financial bullocks that went on (gearboxes breaking down etc).
Then we had mega passport hassles with it being declined multiple times which ended up costing us an extra $450 in the end to get urgent ones (and a birth certificate change). It was not entirely unstressful, but totally worth doing. We asked for it to be booked on ‘Easter Weekend’ so we didn’t have to take much time off work. turned out the guy at Flight Center didn’t know what weekend that was and managed to book us in for the weekend after. We ended up going with those dates because of the passport issues among other things (just easier and less hassle to change it all).
We drove to Auckland Tuesday night and stayed with my awesome Big brother for the night. I don’t think anyone slept much, i know i only slept from midnight until 3am myself. At 3:30am we got up, got into our clothes and got into the car. We had cheated a little and worn T-shirts and underwear to bed so we only had to put on our pants and shoes and go. Took a bit to find the park’n’fly place to leave the car at since they had moved and failed to update their website, but we got there in the end.
We must have timed it right, we got in right before the rest of a large crowd, checked in, then headed to McDs for breakfast. We finished breakfast around 5:30am at which point it was time to head through customs etc. It was great going through it all for the first time, and boy is there a ton of duty free booze on the other side !
The flight was uneventful, we had a second breakfast somewhere around 9am in the air and the kids happily watched movies and played games. We landed just after 10am and boy was it hot. We had warned the kids but they were just stunned by it.
We were then greeted, and gifted a shell necklace each, and got a lift to our hotel. Along the drive our driver showed us sights, leaning over the passenger seat and not looking where he was going whilst swerving all over the place just to point things out. It was both scarey and awesome at the same time! He often tooted his horn at people and was seen yelling out the window. When we asked why he was doing this he replied that most of the area were related or knew each other, they were always that friendly!
It was during the drive I was really glad I took the kids with us, they realised what’s in the pictures and brochures has nothing to do with the real Fiji life style! Most of the houses if they were in NZ would have probably been condemed, they had missing windows, rotten wood, dirt roads and driveways etc. It wasnt in a bad way at all, it was just a very different lifestyle to what they were used to, and even in the hotel, it was impossible to get away from the greetings every 2 feet they took.
We had a swim whilst waiting for our room to be free, once we got it we left the luggage, and got a taxi down to Nadi Town to get some food. We had already established that some food was really insanely expensive in the resort area!
Getting into town cost $1 per person by bus, but the Bula Bus was $6 each just to get around the corner to the ports. We decided on the taxi because we were unsure what supermarket to go to and where it would be, also we figured since it was only $8NZD it wasnt to hard a bargin.
We found a brilliant chicken place which had great chicken and chips for a 3pm lunch (since we had already done 2 breakfasts and been up since 3am!)
We had a look at all the shops, found some really cheap souvenirs to take home (not the overpriced garbage at the resorts), and the Sulu (sarongs) were as cheap as $6 FJD vs the resort prices of $30FJD. The supermarket was an interesting experiance. They had no lollies at all really to speak of, there was a small selection of seriously overpriced chocolate in the fridges (theres no way you can keep that out of them in that heat), cheese was stupidlly expensive, as was anything imported from NZ because of the dollar conversion. A simple packet of breakfast cereal that normally is $4 in NZ cost up to $21FJD. We found however things that usually cost lots in NZ were dirt cheap in Fiji, so we just got local brands or american brands which were by far cheaper.
I did notice the meat section had a lot of lamb, and some chicken and pork, and i dont think i saw any beef at all. I suspect this is related to the fact that nobody does cattle farming and 50% of the country is Indian and probably dont eat beef (I could be wrong!). This is not a bad thing since we have been living on beef for the last month since i bought a partial beast at home! Totally sick of beef!
We grabbed quick easy and cheap meals, 2min noodles, some milk, bread, chippies (which btw are really pricey also!), and biscuits. Also a good selection of drinks etc.
The taxi ride home was good, its almost 6pm, i suspect dinner will be almost non-existent, maybe something quick to snack on, however this is dependant on when everyone gets back from swimming again. I was to tired to be swimming, and im about to sit out on the balcony with a glass of wine and some chips to finish off my first night in Fiji!
Please excuse any crappy english, ill re-read/edit when i get back to a real laptop at some time.