Wyndham Resort, Fiji

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Just back from a very relaxing week in Fiji.  This was our third visit;  last time was to Suva in 2013 and the first time, around 2009 we also spent a week at the Wyndham Resort on Denarau Island.  So it was with many fond memories that we made the return trip.

 

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This lady’s grandmother weaves the fans, she adds names and sells them at the local handicraft market in Nadi.

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I stopped at the tailor in town and had a dress made to measure from one of these bolts of fabric in one hour!

 

After so many years, there were many improvements.  The airport is no longer like a big shed, we drove through Nadi (pronounced Nandi) which now has good roads and actual footpaths and the “air conditioned” little buses (meaning no windows) with wooden bench seats have been replaced with regular yellow buses.  There are many more shops and a cinema and it’s now compulsory for children to go to school.

 

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The “adults” swimming pool

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All these changes mean that it is more expensive than before but it is still a very nice place to holiday and everyone was very friendly and welcoming.   The weather was good,  our apartment spacious and comfortable and located close to the beach and pool. Swaying palm trees, swim up bars in both pools, tropical breeze and cocktail in hand …. I’m talking “Fiji Time”, which relates to just relaxing and enjoying the moment.  Very nice to leave our fast-paced Aussie lifestyle behind for a little while.

 

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A wood carver at the resort.

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The only two words you need to know are Bula and Vinaka;  Bula is a Fijian greeting which is very easy to say and is heard everywhere and Vinaka means thank you.  Put the two words together and you have a warm “hello”!

Apart from two trips into nearby Nadi, we were very lazy and stayed at the resort, which is something we seldom do.  But after our very busy time in New Zealand we didn’t feel it was necessary to visit all the places we’d already been to in Fiji, so the payoff was that the week passed nice and slowly and we’ve come home feeling rejuvenated for the start of the Christmas season.

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The end of another day in paradise!

 

 

We were very excited to find ourselves upgraded to Business Class on the plane –  both ways.  What luxury – priority everything!!!  We flew Fiji Airways which is a partner airline with Qantas, so as we’re all required to be at the airport 2-3 hours ahead of departure time these days, we felt very lucky to be able to spend that time in the Qantas lounge.

Once seated, we were served with welcome on-board cocktails before everyone else filtered through the plane.  Fine wine and good food,  high quality headphones and individual IPads to watch movies, all while seated in extra comfy lounge chairs with lots of buttons to press!  We certainly felt like VIP’s with the flight attendants offering such excellent service.  Now that I’ve had a taste of sitting up the pointy end of the plane it’s going to be very hard to return to “cattle class” next time!

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Bula from Fiji

Mon, August 26

A few years ago we stayed in a lovely resort on beautiful Denarau Island, and explored Nadi and the surrounding areas, so it was interesting to arrive in Suva this time to see a different part of the island.

Suva with its colonial buildings is the commercial centre; not a great deal to do there so we jumped on a mini bus (with real air conditioning this time) for a 3-hour tour and headed out of town. We drove through rainforests and coastal areas and passed many villages – groups of houses where families and extended families live in close contact. There are no nursing homes to be found here.

The unemployment rate is very high, about 30% and many people live in very poor housing so that they can afford to give their children a good education. Some houses were no more than small shacks and because it was Monday, everyone had their washing hanging out to dry.

In contrast, we drove through roads where the President, Chief Magistrate and Attorney-General had lovely big houses surrounded by beautiful gardens, tended by prisoners from the local jail. We also passed Government House, residence of the Governor-General. Every two hours, the armed military sentry is changed and our guide we were told that having a photo taken with him was fine as long as we did not touch him or speak to him.

Once back from our bus tour, it was interesting to take a stroll around the shops and then through the market to see the colourful fruits and vegetables, spices from India and many karva stalls.

What I remember most about Fiji is the warmth and friendliness of the people; lots of smiles and waves and greetings of “Bula” met us wherever we went.

Suva

Suva

Sea Princess FIJI (Suva) 056 (800x530)

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Sea Princess FIJI (Suva) 019 (800x469)

Roadside stall

Roadside stall

Police Dog Unit

Police Dog Unit

Guess where the restroom stop was!

Guess where the restroom stop was!

Sea Princess FIJI (Suva) 046 (800x530)

Government House

Government House

Safety tunnels dug during WWII which were never used

Safety tunnels dug during WWII which were never used

Market place

Market place

Sea Princess FIJI (Suva) 064 (800x476)

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Negotiating the shallows as we left the harbour

Negotiating the shallows as we left the harbour

Sea Princess FIJI (Suva) 087 (800x530)