Perks of Being a Tyneesha: Fiji Edition

This post is part 14 of 21 in the series:
Perks of Being a Tyneesha

After the agony of two germy pandemic years, I finally managed to leave the country and have a little holiday. This is a brief recap of the events of that holiday, written in between lots of lightroom editing. I got asked, “how was Fiji” like 30 times last week, and I didn’t know what else to say but “good” because I do not know moderation. It’s one word or 5000. If you want to know, I’ll tell you. Strap in. I’ll take it day by day for the love of all that is chronological.

Day 1. Getting there

For context, I must introduce some new characters. Wendy is my mum’s best friend, and Bob is Wendy’s husband. Yes, they did play the ‘bob the builder’ theme song at the wedding. This Fiji trip involved my mum, Dad, little sister, Wendy, Bob and myself. The night before we left, Wendy rather pre-maturely spilled the beans and revealed that she’d booked us a Limo to get to the airport in the morning. It was an anniversary present for my parents, who, for context, happened to celebrate their 21st wedding anniversary back in august. Wendy and Bob’s anniversary fell on one of the days we were in Fiji.

Anyway, sometimes in Limos they give you champagne. This is a very precarious position for a 21-year-old on a trip with four grown adults and a 12-year-old child – because do I want to reinforce the alcohol uni student stereotype? No… but did I want some of that bubbly at 8.30 am? Of course. So by the time we got to the airport, I’d made a handful of borderline disrespectful and plain silly remarks to my parents (they laughed, it’s okay); I was red in the cheeks from laughing, ready to run to the bathroom. The airport check-in process is surprisingly enjoyable when you’re a tad tipsy.

A brief word about flying: There is something a little bit godly about seeing clouds from the other side, and I like it a lot.

We got off the plane 5 hours later and then stuck around in the airport for like an hour and a half because someone accidentally stole my mum’s suitcase. She’s a world gal, so she was prepared for such a mishap – carrying extra clothes and such, but it was slightly annoying anyway. The man who accidentally swapped bags with mum brought it back a little while later, and all was resolved.

Day 2. Port Denarau & Nadi

For those unfamiliar, Port Denarau is a magical tourism port where everything is far more expensive than it should be. That part of the island is very geared toward tourists. It’s nice, but it’s less interesting for photos than Nadi. Nadi is the local town – there are these huge fruit markets and heaps of shops and a lot going on everywhere all the time. They happened to be hosting a footy match that day, and Fijian are big on rugby, so there were just people everywhere. The photos below are from this day.

Day 3. Tivua Island Cruise

So Fiji is like a cluster of islands, and the main island runs little cruises and day trips to the smaller islands. We went on what was referred to as “the pirate ship” (it was an old wooden sailboat). It took about 45 mins to get there, and they gave us refreshments and entertainment on the way. They have this tropical juice in Fiji that’s way better than any other juice I’ve had. It’s not the same flavour of tropical that we have here, and take my word for it; it’s the best.

Anyway, we get to Tivua Island, and it’s like a tiny resort, and you can walk from one end to the other in like 3mins. There’s snorkelling and kayaking equipment available, so naturally, I do both of those things. I saw heaps of fish but didn’t get any underwater photos because I foolishly forgot how to take pictures on the only camera I was willing to put in the water.

There’s an open bar and a huge lunch served. I generally don’t drink beer, but Fijian Bitter is an exception. On this fateful morning, I also decided to roll up my old roll of film and swap it for a fresh one. I did a very silly thing and opened the back of the camera before the film was entirely wound. I got both rolls developed when I got home and unfortunately lost some photos of various friends and a Telenova concert I went to a week prior. I’m morning the lost photos, but many of them still came out fine.

At some point, I am asked by one of the Fijian cruise workers whether or not I need a lifejacket – I say, “no, I’m okay; I can swim”. Fiji beaches are less violent than Australian ones; it’s easy to swim when the water is flat as an indoor pool. He says (rather flatteringly), “Ah, strong. Like Wonderwoman.”.

I got extremely sunburned on this day but didn’t feel it until the next day. I’m still peeling the skin off of me.

Day 4. Horsegirling & Massages

Okay, this might be too much information to share publicly, but you’ll get over it. What you need to know about this day is that I had started my period the day before. All my girlies know that day 2 is the worst, but there was no way I would hang back and stay out of the water – so I bravely decided to use a tampon.

Our driver, Levi, picked us up from the resort early in the morning and took us to a beach about half an hour away, where we could ride horses, snorkel and get massages. It was Wendy’s birthday, and she was keen to go horse riding, so we did. It was fun, except I really had to pee, and I was suffering some form of heatstroke exhaustion. I had to get off the horse at some point because I thought I would pass out. A little while later, I decided I couldn’t hold it in any longer and had to pee in the Fijian bush. “Fiji Pee”, they called it. So to wrap this unfortunate story up, I changed my tampon in the bush. Didn’t love that.

The last time we went to Fiji, we went to the same beach, and the snorkelling was fantastic. We saw sea snakes and all. I didn’t go snorkelling this time, but I did caution a massage. My sunburn was too painful to really enjoy it, but it did make me feel a bit better after the bush tampon horse fainting experience.

Mum got to know one of the ladies at the massage hut, Repeka – she looked after us all really well and even came to our room at the resort a few days later to give Wendy and Bob massages and hang out for a chat. She told us a lot about local gossip – from kidnappings to matchmaking.

That night, I barely slept. I’d managed to burn my back and chest to the point that there was just no comfortable position to sleep in. Even after a 2 am frosty shower, I couldn’t cool down enough.

Day 5. Healing hands and Chinese buffet

This day was the best. I got Chinese food.

We just hung out around the resort and recovered from our sunburns. Wendy and Bob spoke to a lady in the reception coffee shop who said she knew a lady who could heal the pain of sunburns. A few years ago, my dad got a nasty burn on the top of his feet, and I think he wound up with some nerve damage from it. So he re-burned that area the day before and was in a lot of pain. Wendy and Bob organised for him to see this lady, and he brought me with him, at the very least, because I was interested in seeing the healing magic. She touched my back, and unlike the massage the day before, it didn’t hurt at all. She absorbed the heat of my sunburn and kind of flicked it off her hands at the end – and I felt so much better it’s insane.

When we’d first gotten to the resort, I’d seen a poster saying that the Beachshack (the restaurant near the pool) was having an all-you-can-eat Chinese night. One thing about me, I love Chinese food. So naturally, it was the only thing I roped my family into doing on this trip. It was insanely good, I chose all the ingredients, and they fried it up in front of me. It was very spicy, though.

We saw some beautiful sunsets in Fiji, but that night’s sunset had dramatic, beautiful pink rays shooting out behind it.

Day 6. Mamacita’s & the frogs

This day was also rather chill. It was raining most of the day, not that it made Fiji any less hot. We went to Mamacita’s for dinner – a Mexican restaurant my mum loves. After the sun goes down in Fiji, there are just little frogs absolutely everywhere, so I have a heap of frog pictures when I edit them.

Day 7. Nadi pt2 & the horror schnitzel

Dad and I went back into Nadi town on this day, and I shot the last of my film roll. It was a tad dodgy only because sometimes tourists get scammed in the shops around there. We walked down an alleyway I thought would be interesting, and a local told us not to do that – and that it was dangerous. It was a tad precarious and very warm, but eventually, we found our way back to the resort, and I took some banger pictures.

We went to a steakhouse at the port that night so that Dad could have his night of choosing dinner and have a fancy steak. I’m not big on steak, so after a polite two minutes of pretending to read the menu, I stuck to my old habits and ordered a chicken schnitzel. They asked if I wanted a regular schnitzel, a parmi or a ‘ranch’ one. Mum and I thought the ranch one sounded exciting and different. What they ended up serving me was a parmi with ranch all over it. I was unappeased, but all the other food on the trip was good, so I let it slide.

Day 8. Coming home

Levi picked us up on the morning of our flight back to Sydney, and naturally, I sat in the van’s front seat to get any last-minute pictures (I have 4000+ photos, so I didn’t need any more). It was easy getting through the airport before and after the flight – but the flight itself was horrid.

There was rather dramatic turbulence the entire flight; one of the toilets broke, a mother and her son projectile vomited, and it took forever for us to be served some food or water. Our plane even got turned around half an hour before Sydney because there was “too much traffic to land”. So we flew around for ages, and I had the most upsetting cheese toastie in the world. When we got to the airport, quarantine squads and medical professionals came in to check on the vomit situation, so it took forever to un-board. Needless to say, the Limo home did not involve the same champagne-infused laughter as the one there.