I’m back from Fiji and I have to admit, it’s been tough being back in the fast-paced urban world. It feels odd to be back to work, responding to hundreds of emails… heck, even wearing shoes feels weird after a week on the beach! But I want to write about my trip, while it’s still fresh, and so that I can then play catch-up and contribute to Vegan MoFo for the rest of the month. So here goes…
My fiance and I spent 7 days at the Blue Lagoon Beach Resort on Nacula Island in Fiji. Just getting there from Sydney Australia involved a 4-hour flight to Nadi, followed by a 5-hour ferry ride. It’s the most remote place I’ve ever been but the travel was well worth it once I saw the crystal-clear turquoise water and white sandy beaches.
Our villa (small cabin) was great and we especially loved the fact that half of the bathroom doesn’t have a roof – so you can shower under the open sky everyday.
The resort is very casual and there is even a sand floor in the dining area. There are only 12 villas (small cabins) and a small dorm, so there were never more than 40 guests at the resort at one time. This made the whole experience so intimate, because you could really get to know people and share travel stories. At first, I was a bit concerned that the whole thing would feel too communal, but Matthew and I walked 5 minutes to the “left” of the resort each day, to our own private area on the beach, and we really only saw the other guests at meals and in the evenings. This was the perfect mix of quiet and relaxation during the day, with some great socializing at night.
It was so nice relaxing on the beach and lounging in the shallow water, which was 28C degrees! I also enjoyed photographing the many shells and pieces of coral that were scattered throughout the sand.
We had way too much fun playing with all the hermit crabs on the beach. These little guys have so much personality!
Just a few meters into the water in front of the resort are a few coral reefs, and because the water is so still, the visibility is excellent for snorkeling. We literally snorkeled for 1-2 hours everyday and swam with thousand of multicolored tropical fish. Highlights for me included seeing many large blue starfish, a lion fish, and several little “Nemo” clown fish. I’m still sorting through all our underwater photos, but here’s a shot of me pointing at my little Nemo:
One morning, we went to a nearby underwater cave. We started-out by jumping into a section that was lit from above from a natural skylight. From there, we had to hold our breath underwater for about half a meter to finally arrive in a pitch-dark cave. I have to say that it was easily the scariest but also coolest thing I’ve ever done. Here’s a shot of me in the first cave, as well as a better shot that I found on the web.
Our visit to the local village was really special. Most of the workers at the resort are from the village, so it was great to see how they live. We got to see their homes and churches, and they even put on a welcoming ceremony for us in their community center, and gave us each a beautiful lei made of fresh Frangipani flowers. I especially enjoyed visiting the village school. Matthew and I had brought the kids a shoebox of school supplies and small toys, as well as some pillowcases and clothing. It felt good knowing that our items would help such great kids.
One of the aspects that impressed me most about the resort was their amazing willingness and ability to create a variety of excellent vegan meals for me. Every night before dinner, one of the staff confirmed my dietary restrictions, and every night I was presented with a beautiful dish. From vegan sushi and spring rolls, to phyllo tarts and stir-frys, everything was prepared and presented with such great attention to detail. I ate better on this remote island than I have in many top-end restaurants in some of the world’s biggest cities. If the staff at a tiny resort in Fiji can pull off vegan food like this, what’s your excuse, Mr/Mrs fancy-urban restaurant-chef?!
Matthew had spent a month in Fiji a few years ago, and had told me all about the famous sunsets there, but I had to see them to really understand what he was talking about. Every night, we watched in awe as the sun and clouds put on spectacular shows for us. These photos don’t do the sunsets justice, but give you a bit of an idea of their beauty:
The last night of our vacation, Matthew surprised me for my birthday by booking a deluxe room at the Hilton in Nadi. It was gorgeous. We had our own private outdoor lounge bed and pool! He also spoiled me again before dinner by ordering a 2000 bottle of Dom Péringon. We savored every delicious drop! Thank you, my love, for a very memorable birthday and a wonderful end to a spectacular vacation!