Although I enjoy the rush of a city and the unseen energy that seems to move everything; my mind, body and soul can only tolerate so much noise, traffic and busy people. Sydney was amazing, but we were ready to bid her a fond adieu and once again embrace the island life that suits us best.
We arrived at the airport and immediately joined the outstretched line for Air Pacific. We entertained ourselves with some people watching and our usual banter. The line moved fairly quickly, despite the passport issues, forms not filled out and too much luggage that caused a few delays. The attendant gave us a deal on our overweight luggage. We did our best to trim it down, but missed by 5 kilos. Not too bad considering the amount of gear we carry.
We breezed through customs and security. Usually we have to pull camera cords and chargers out because they resemble a homemade bomb. Monty has even been pulled out and scanned separately, but nothing this go. We looked at each other a little shocked; we get nervous when things go that smoothly during the airport portion of the trip. We found some comfy chairs and I enjoyed a Pure Blonde, while my pure blonde shopped for a new watch in Duty Free. I was impressed when he came back with a lovely dive watch that he had selected in less than 20 minutes. This is quite an amazing feat for the Dunkster. His usually shopping techniques are very thorough.
As we found our gate, a massive 2 level plane was pulled up. Wow, must be going on to LAX after we stop in Fiji. We were both anxious to get on the plane and begin our first real vacation. I know, I know, we travel a lot. This is true, but it is always work or work related. This is our first trip together that is just about us exploring a new place. There is no schedule, no plan, and no underwater camera housings. We found our seats near the back and I kid you not there were 4 babies strategically placed to our 4 sides. There was however an empty seat to my left. Last time we flew to Fiji we had a guy that chugged 5 beers and 3 double whiskeys before passing out for 10 hours. We had to climb over him to get into the isle. One flight attendant hit him pretty hard in attempt to wake him, but he was out cold. Ah the adventures of travel. Monty luxuriated in the spare seat when he was not acting my pillow.
The flight was fairly quick, a mere 4 hours. This breaks down to a meal, 2 glasses of wine, part of a movie (Yogi Bear) and a 2-hour nap for me. There was only mild screaming from the strategically placed babies. We arrived in Nadi and were excited that this trip we would be staying longer than a 5 hour explore. As we made our way through customs we were greeted by lots of smiling faces and everyone yelling “ Bula!” This is hello, good morning, good evening…etc in Fiji. We headed to the rental car place where it took nearly 30 minutes to get our car. Yep, back on island time.We were anxious to get on the road, as we knew it was going to be a bit of a drive. Our trusty steed was a small Toyota that would surely be put through her paces. Had to stop and get fuel and grabbed a few snacks. Now we were officially on our way.
We wove through villages that became further and further apart, as the jungle consumed more space. It is quite exciting driving down a rather bumpy and narrow road when you have absolutely no idea where you are or where you are going. We passed people walking, dogs, cattle, horses and avoided taxis that came flying around corners with 2 wheels on our side of the road. It was Sunday and most of the villages were holding a church service with people sat in circles in small huts. We could hear singing and laughing as we passed. The air is heavy with freshness and nature. It smells of flowers, fresh cut grass and the sea. You feel invigorated and it seemed to cleanse us of the toxic plane air you ingest when flying. The road kept winding as kilometers passed. Our directions said the turn for our house was approximately 5 minutes past the Outrigger Resort. We made our way through several roundabouts and only made one wrong guess as to which road was the one we were suppose to continue on. Not too bad. The last 5K seemed to take forever as we watched the numbers slowly approach our destination. We made our turn and stopped as we faced a massive hill.
We had opted not to get the 4WD because were not planning any jungle treks. Now with a steep unpaved track in front of us we realized the 4WD option might have been a more suitable plan. Ah well, we were there now. Dunk has quite a bit of off road experience, so he took off with a great big grin on his face. There were massive rocks and ruts where the road had washed away. We passed our first house and just kept going. Sydney, the island dog that we recognized from the blog, came to greet us. We continued upward passing 2 more houses. We figured that we could always come back down if we needed to, but we had to keep our momentum. As we neared the crest of what seemed like an endless hill, our host was standing with a flashlight. As we pulled through the gates we stopped and both took a breath. I am pretty sure were both held ours for most of the ascent.
Scott, the property owner greeted us and expressed how impressed he was with Dunk’s driving. I think Dunk was relieved, but impressed as well. He then explained that the power was out and handed us some flashlights. Ah island life!! Made our way into the house and found some extra lanterns. He gave us the nickel tour and chatted for a bit. We would get better acquainted in the morning, as it was already after 10 pm. We found a large beer and a papaya in the fridge! Excellent. We had finally made it. High on a hilltop, in the middle of the jungle, we had found our little piece of paradise. We fell asleep listening to waves crash against the beach and a lovely breeze coming through the windows. Bula Fiji!