Date: 14 May 2010 to 20 May 2010
Where I’ve Been: Naviti and Waya, Fiji
Where I’ve Stayed: Botaira Beach Resort on Naviti and Octopus Resort on Waya.
I genuinely have never been as relaxed and totally stress free as I am at this exact moment – sat in a hammock looking out across the sea, with two great travelling companions and a host of other fabulous people we have met, waiting to go for cocktails at the bar and watch another amazing sunset. If there is a heaven I am here.
Our choice to stay on the island of Naviti has been inspired I must say. If you come here please stay at Botaira Beach Resort – the place is wonderful, the staff are so so friendly, it is like staying with people you have known for years almost immediately, there really is no one else around aside from the people staying here and thankfully we got on with them all – it is like one big family!
Aside from that we spent one night in the resort dorm, which was really colourful as my photo shows, but then me, Lucy and Faye moved into a bure, a simple, but beautiful beach hut, with en-suite literally right on the sea. Between the three of us it worked out only a marginally more expensive than the dorm. The bure is lovely.
Visit to a traditional Fijian village
On our first full day here (14 May) we were taken on a walk to the local village which was fascinating. Everyone living here lives in fairly basic conditions, their homes are pretty simple, but I have never seen such a happy community! They were all talking to each other and all smiling (probably as they knew some Westerners were coming to spend money!) completely the opposites of communities back in England where we barely even know our next door neighbours.
Anyway I bought an anklet (to verify that I am a true backpacker!), a necklace and some bracelets at the village market, and we went to the Church and saw the local school. Life is here is so different and I really was struck by the strong neighbourly spirit. Was a lovely little excursion and I spent most of the walk there and back chatting away with Faye whom I get on with very well.
Happy Hour again and again and again
We got back for a delicious home cooked lunch, and then lounged around reading until 5.30pm – which is happy hour! The time coincides with the beautiful sunsets so it has become a tradition to meet at the bar and get a cocktail or a Fiji Bitter and sit and watch the sunset.
The Resort always organises entertainment in the evenings and on the first full day we had some drinking games (ie drinking a beer without using your hands) and then we had some crab racing (no crabs were harmed in this!). After dinner and a few drinks, gradually everyone drifted off until there was just Faye and I left and we went and sat in a hammock and chatted until midnight, underneath another amazing night sky.
On our second day in Naviti the weather was a bit hit and miss – sunny spells and showers – so I didn’t do too much, but in the evening they had some people from the island to visit and do a traditional Fijian dance and play music, which was mesmorising. I swear every Fijian I have met so far can dance, play guitar and sing beautifully!
One of the most enjoyable (for me anyway) activities we have done was when we played Island Games a few days ago. This basically involved teaming up in pairs (I was with Faye) to take part in things like the three legged race, the egg throw and much more. It was great fun and my competitive spirit came to the fore!
We have also played a bit of volleyball and Faye and Lucy went on a snorkelling trip to see Manta Rays, whilst I stayed on dry land and relaxed even more. On our last night on Naviti Faye and I again lay in a hammock chatting and watching shooting stars dart across the sky. It was probably my favourite travelling moment, and a moment went I felt completely at peace with myself – the sea was gently lapping up against the beach, the sky was filled with stars, it was completely silently and I was with a person I really liked – perfect!
Sadly the next day we had to leave Naviti and Botaira Beach Resort, as we had booked to stay on Octopus Resort on Waya Island as we had read so many good reports of it. Unfortunately we did not like it at all. Sure the accommodation and facilities were probably nicer than Botaira, but it had absolutely no character or charm about it, it was big and impersonal – like a chain hotel, the staff rarely smiled and there was no personal touch at all.
The only upsides were spending more time stargazing with Faye and we also caught up with a couple of people we had met on our first stop in Nacula. In fact Faye, Lucy and I spent the whole time talking about how we wanted to go back to Naviti, and then if by magic…
We managed to get away! Octopus Resort sold our beds, so rather than staying there for the four nights we had booked, we only stayed for two. We have arrived back in Naviti just after noon today and we are all so happy! We were welcomed back with traditional Fijian music and flowers – it is good to be home!