In the Beginning – Fiji

fijiWelcome to Getting Lost. My wife Mercy and I are empty nesters with a mutual love of people and places, cultures and architecture, art and music, landscapes and wildlife, and food and photography. We love to travel. It’s our one mutual hobby. While I’ll occasionally write about various topics here that are of interest to me this blog is primarily about travel. I hope to share the experiences and tips that I’ve had and learned as I’ve begun to scratch the surface of my quest to see the world.

Twelve years ago when our youngest son went off to college we booked our first trip together overseas. Previously we had taken our three boys twice to Hawaii and Mercy’s motherland, the Philippines, but most of our travel was via mini-van to places such as Disney World and D.C. and NYC and Hershey Park and Montreal, etc.

Going to Fiji was our first trip together, just the two of us. After an 11 1/2 hour non-stop flight from Los Angeles we arrived in Nadi very early in the morning. We were shuttled off to breakfast while awaiting the launch of our boat to Malolo Island. The first thing I learned in Fiji was that the people (ethnic Fijians) were among the friendliest I’ve ever met. Malolo is as rustic and it is beautiful and unlike many of the resorts in the South pacific it is 100% owned by a local Fijian family, many of whom greeted us on the pier with traditional music on well-played instruments as we arrived. There are no distractions of modern conveniences. How could we possibly survive? Once I saw our bure (hut, cottage?) accommodations just steps from where the South Pacific’s gentle surf rolls onto the white sand I soon forgot about televisions and phones and computers. The bure is authentic Fiji inside and out with a hammock slung between two coconut palms just outside the front door. Note: Always check overhead for coconuts when walking in Fiji. This was a great place to wind down for a few days. Between the wonderful staff and the treetop restaurant and freshly caught fish served at a table for two on the beach without another soul in sight, Malolo is a great destination for couples and families.

From Malolo we cast off on the Blue Lagoon Cruises boutique ship, Fiji Princess for a 7 day cruise of the Yasawa Islands. The Fiji Princess is “small enough to tie off to a coconut tree”. She accommodates only 68 passengers and can access bays and islands impossible to reach by a large ship. The service is amazing and friendly. I knew everyone, passenger and crew within 48 hours and you are immediately adapting to Fiji time. What time is it? Who cares! The crew to passenger ratio is 2 to 1, everything is casual, the seas are calm and there are no crowds. We had amazing sugar white sand beaches virtually to ourselves. When Mercy scheduled her massage they offered her a choice of having it on board or ashore. She chose to have it on one of the many islands we visited. She got to choose the spot and decided on a remote corner of a small island where over a 180 degree panoramic horizon the beautiful beyond description blue water was interrupted by countless white sand islets with tufts of green palms. Talk about serene. That was one of our many amazing experiences in the Yasawa’s. We visited villages and schools where the innocence of the children made be soften myself to this simpler life that seems to make so many things so less complicated. Villages still communicate major events, such as births and deaths, by drumming on a hollowed out tree trunk. How quiet is a place where ancient percussion could be heard across miles? This was an experience of a lifetime and one I wouldn’t mind repeating if only it can get to the top of THE LIST. I’ll refer frequently in future writings to THE LIST. It’s the cause and product of many day dreams.

After our cruise we spent a few days on the Coral Coast of Viti Levu at the Hideaway Resort. Another beautiful slice of heaven on earth. One of the questions I’m commonly asked is “What has been your favorite destinations?” This is the most difficult question to answer. One reason is that contrary to what some think we haven’t been nearly everywhere. If I can narrow the question down to country with the best architecture, or best food, or best music or art, or ……. then I can subjectively answer that question. As for Fiji, if there’s a country with friendlier people I haven’t been there yet. I suppose this was the perfect destination for our first trip together. Meeting these people and seeing the bluest water and the starriest night skies fired my dream engine and together we’ve enjoyed exploring the world, a little bit at a time.

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