Monday, 1 September 2014

August Holiday in Fiji

As mentioned in my prior post, my Mum, Gigi and I had a holiday together for two weeks in Fiji. It was brilliant. Such a great holiday destination for kids. Gigi got disruptive and throw tantrums at times. None of the islanders batted an eye, apparently everyone knows and accepts what Toddlers are like.

I also found it interesting, that everywhere, men, women and older kids all fussed over Gigi- saying hello, asking her name and occasionally giving her a kiss on the cheek.  I know that some people would probably be bothered by that, but i thought it was great, and Gigi responded really well to it.
Singers serenading some guests
We stayed at the Wyndham Resort on Danarau Island, which I have to admit was beautiful, even though resorts are not really my preferred method of holidaying. The staff were great and very patient with kids. It wasn't unusual to see an activities staff member being followed by two or three kids. Every evening, there was a 'torch lighting ceremony' where a man dressed traditionally, went around the resort lighting all fires with a torch. Every evening he was followed by a pack of 10-20 kids.
Nana and Gigi on the bus. Most had no windows, just rolled up canvas.
We didn't hire a car or anything and found it really easy to get around via the local bus system. The buses are AMAZING, they seemed to go everywhere we wanted and only cost a few dollars per trip. Plus we met and chatted with heaps of interesting local people, who were more than happy to offer advice for where to visit and how to get there. If the bus didnt go to where we wanted, it always went within a few kilometres and it was easy enough to flag down a cab to take us the rest of the way.

Nana, Mumma and Gigi at the Mud Pools at Sabeto
Mumma and Gigi

Gigi 'snorkeling' 
South Sea Island
Our highlights of the trip were the mud pools at Sabeto, which we caught a bus near, then a cab the rest of the way; the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, which is about 1km from the mud pools and I recommend doing both on the same day; a day cruise out to South Sea Island; a trip down to Natadola Beach, again the local bus can drop you off near it and it is easy to get a cab to the beach; and the Village of Viseisei, where we met a lovely family with kids around Gigi age, who befriended us.

Gigi at Natadola Beach
Some local kids at Natadola Beach

As we stayed in a resort, food was ridiculously expensive. We asked a staff member where a good place was to buy food and she told us to catch the bus into Nadi from Danarau and to get off at the last stop, as there is a Fresh Market there. The market was fantastic! So much fresh fruit and vegetables for sale and quite cheap too! Also the market is open every day, with different produce each day. We bought all our food needs- bananas, pineapples, papaya, eggs, watermelon, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, butter, raw honey, cassava, cucumber, bok choy, zucchini, herbs etc. I couldnt get over the variety of food and the freshness. There were also a lot of foods i'd never seen before, like taro, some giant green banana (apparently sweet, not a plantain), yams, some weird spiky fruit and something that looked like a yam, but i think was Rutabaga?
We cooked all our meals in our unit and took fresh fruit and picnics with us everyday to try and save  money to spend on experiences and adventures. 

Green gazebo at the garden of the Sleeping Giant
Nana and Mumma at the Garden
Gigi and Nana at the Garden

In my suitcase, I packed seven outfits to last the two weeks (obviously had to wash a few times) and the rest of my suitcase I filled with Gigi's clothes that no longer fit her. Initially I thought I'd give them to a Church, but I ended up giving them to the family we met in Viseisei village to use for their kids and to pass around to other family members or friends. I also took several story books and gave those to the kids, as well as hats and some shoes.

Gigi and the village kids harassing a chicken

saying goodbye at the airport
 I would definitely like to make Fiji a yearly holiday, but I think the next time we go, I'll try to find us a farm stay or a BnB to stay at. Danarau Island is a fake island, created by developers and full of 4-5 star resorts. Definitely not a place to experience the 'real' Fiji.
All in all, we had a fantastic trip and I hope Gigi will retain some memories of it.

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