I’m back from an amazing trip to the one and only Fiji, and it was pretty much the coolest place I have ever been to, and here’s why.
It started when Dad happened to have a week off from work. Originally, we had been planning to go to Fiji for Christmas, but it just seemed like a great idea to all of us to head over there, especially with the cold winter weather we had in Gizzy (Gisborne). So on Saturday morning we took a flight in a little plane that went to Auckland Airport, and then we took a bigger plane to Fiji. (Aukland to Fiji is less than 3 hours!)
As we were walking through the parking lot when we arrived to the Fiji airport, we saw some people and instantly I thought to say “Kia Ora” which I had gotten pretty used to saying. But right as I was about to say it, they, pretty loudly, said, “ Bula”! None of us answered “Bula” back because we were all surprised that they hadn’t said Kia Ora, but they didn’t seem to really care; they just kept on walking and saying Bula to everybody they saw. We asked our cab driver and he told us what we had assumed, which was that saying “Bula” in Fiji was the equivalent of saying “Kia Ora” in New Zealand. Arriving at the Westin, our hotel, we were greeted with many ‘Bula’s’ and were offered free bottles of Fiji water, because apparently that’s just water there. Chloe and I both agreed that this was by far the best hotel we had ever been to. Our room was very comfortable and the meals were phenomenal. Similar to NZ, everybody was really nice, not just at the hotel. We spent the first two nights there and then took a ferry over to Mana Island, where the tropical part of our vacation really began.
For starters, one of the main things I was looking forward to on this trip was seeing if the water was really clear and if the water color changed as it got deeper or shallower; I quickly saw that the answer was yes. The deeper water was as vibrantly blue as one of Chloe’s bath bombs and the shallow water was the same color but a lighter shade with a little touch of green. And when we got off the docks, we walked down the beach I got my shoes a bit wet because the water was so clear that you literally couldn’t see it until you were in it!
As we all unpacked and made our way over to the pool we all for some reason had snorkeling on the brain, so that’s exactly what we did (Julien was not up for it though). On our first go at the snorkeling, we saw a couple of really cool fish and a blue starfish, but knew there was more to see, so we asked the snorkeling employees for their opinions. They said if we went maybe thirty meters out, we would find a drop-off in the water, and that’s where there would be the fish and a chance of seeing sea turtles! So the next day, we did exactly as they said and they were so right. There must have been at least 50 different kinds of species of colourful fish swimming right under us! My two personal favorites were a lightning coloured fish with yellow, white, and black zigg-zaggs on it, and the other one was a larger fish with pretty much every colour on it, as if a rainbow had fallen on it. Unfortunately, we never found any turtles on this trip, but I did see a Black Tip Reef shark swimming 15 feet away from me as I was walking on the beach. It was cool but kind of scary, since I had never seen wild shark outside of an aquarium.
What did upset me a bit was that as we were coming back “home” from the trip, I realized that we were referring to Gisborne as home. I don’t think I have really wrapped my head around or accepted the fact that Gizzy is going to be home for the next year. I personally believe that home is where friends and family are, and where you feel familiar with your surroundings. All of our family is in the opposite hemisphere and while I do have some friends here, I don’t know them nearly as well as my Washington friends and I know I won’t ever have as much of a connection with them since they all have known each other for years and I’m the new guy. I’m still figuring out how it’s going to work out, but I’m staying positive and know that everything will be alright and that if worst comes to worst, I’ve still got my family here with me.
Anyways, to finish up on a high note, I think that Fiji was possibly the best vacation our family ever been on.