How do I begin a post in the new year? How do I begin a post after what I’ve just experienced?! I’m well aware that I’m already behind on 2017 (I have a feeling this year is gonna be a fast one), as I haven’t scheduled a single post on the blog. I’ve also procrastinated on getting my photos and videos edited, so maybe I’m just not quite recovered from my 9 days of absolute, blissful, nothingness.
This holiday season Paul (aka Richard) and I took a trip to Viwa Island for a little (big) getaway. It has been a life-long dream of Paul’s to visit Fiji. Shortly before our trip his parents informed me that when he was 16 years old he tried, tirelessly, to convince his parents to buy land in Fiji because he knew it would be a great investment. We should actually have a conversation sometime about all the strange things my husband did and knew as a kid. Back to my point though, Paul has wanted to visit Fiji for half his life and this year (errr, last year I guess) we made that happen.
In typical Paul fashion (lots of talk of Paul in this post), he researched, again, tirelessly, all about Fiji. He read reviews, compared pricing, researched weather, found photos (real & professional) to make sure I would be satisfied, and finally, after weeks of due diligence, decided on Viwa Island. I will do an entire post on Viwa Island next. I will say, as usual, his choices did not disappoint one bit. At this point Paul is aware of the type of vacationers we are–lazy, relaxed, thirsty, hungry, and need great photo opps. As I’m sure you saw in my photos on Instagram, Fiji is just as beautiful as you would imagine. The water is that clear-aqua color that is hard to believe is real, the sand a bright white, the horizon lined with other islands, boats, and each night, the most vivid sunsets.
Aside from the natural beauty, Fiji is just another location to add to my list of super special places that will be hard to ever top. Stay tuned for my Viwa Island post to learn more of why this trip was so touching, and below are 10 things I learned in Fiji.
10 THINGS I LEARNED IN FIJI:
–UV Index is a real thing. Not sure if you ever noticed (I certainly never did) a little thing called UV Index when checking the weather report, but apparently it’s a very important thing to note if you plan to be in the sun. Since Fiji is so close to the Equator, the UV Index is extremely high, especially this time of year since it’s their summer. To give you some perspective, the UV Index in Hawaii is 3, in California 0 (right now), and in Fiji…12!!! Needless to say, I burned like a mother f***er on Day 1 and legitimately thought I had 3rd degree burns on my legs. They are currently peeling in a very strange way. Looks like RICHARD didn’t quite research as well a I thought…BRING SUNSCREEN. AND USE IT.
–Zinc saved my life. This coincides with the above. In Italy I broke out in a terrible heat rash and was forced to avoid the sun. Pretty much the worst thing that can happen to me on a summer trip. On Day 1 of Fiji (that damn UV Index), I broke out in a terrible heat rash. I almost broke into tears, too. I tried not to focus on it, or let it ruin my trip, so instead the following day I applied zinc to my chest area before heading to the beach. I remained under the umbrella for the most part, but while in the water (and exposed to sun) nothing happened. Hallelujah. The heat rash went away 24 hours later and I was rash-less, and sunburn-less the rest of the trip. I used a clear zinc by Sun Bum that will now be part of every single trip I take.
–Flying in a seaplane is actually really fun. Some of you might have already known this, or thought this, but I was a HUGE chicken leading up to it. I kept having terrible premonitions of us crashing–my biggest concern was who would take care of my dogs?! They would think I abandoned them, and so on. Luckily, we didn’t crash and flying to and from our island we got to glimpse a ton of other Fijian islands. Some people prefer to take the ferry between islands but it takes hours and I personally loved the experience and the photos I took while flying. Oh, and it’s just a 4-seater so I sat up front with the pilot on the way there. So fun!
-Singing is a huge part of the Fijian culture. I wasn’t sure if it was just our island (aka Viwa Island), but after speaking to other people on the plane ride home we learned that everyone experienced a lot of live singing during their trips. There is usually a live song performed every morning, throughout the day, during meals, to welcome new guests, to say farewell to guests leaving, to celebrate life, etc.
-“Bula” & “Vinaka” are everything. Bula, much like Shalom or Aloha, have many meanings. You say it as Hello, Welcome, etc. Vinaka is Thank You. As a rule of thumb whenever we travel to other countries, we make it a point to show respect by learning these simple salutations.
-Kava ceremonies are fun. Kava is a natural root that is broken down into a powder, then sifted through a cloth with water to create a drink called Kava. It numbs your tongue and overall relaxes the body, putting you into a very deep sleep. We learned that the villages often drink Kava from the evening to morning to help relieve stress.
-Beware of lizards, insects, and crabs. I can’t even fathom rehashing all my encounters, but let me say that a lizard ran across my hand (why?????), a MASSIVE spider invaded our Bure, I had 17 mosquito bites, and crabs line the sand at night. The good part is, none are poisonous or harmful. Sadly, that didn’t make me feel any better.
-The time difference is funky. While it’s 21 hours ahead of Los Angeles, it was more like 3 hours behind (LOL). This concept blew my mind. We were an entire day ahead, but yet only 3 hours behind (time-wise), so there wasn’t really any jet-lag. I was very relieved because I often suffer from terrible jet-lag that makes me feel sick the first 2 days of a trip.
-Not all the merchandise sold is aunthentic. We were warned that not everything the locals sell is authentic. I’m not much of a souvenir girl, but I like to support local businesses (and in this case, the villages) so I went a little crazy, buying a handmade woven fan, some shells, jewelry, etc. We weren’t able to bring the shells home with us but luckily the fan made it past customs.
-There are 100’s of Fijian island. I obviously only visited one island, but I now have several others added to “my list” that I hope to visit in my lifetime. Fiji is such a beautiful place, with so much culture, I would love to be back very soon.