I know there’s only one reason why you’re reading this, and here are your answers- Overpriced Fiji bottled water is:
- Actually from Fiji; and
- Not actually overpriced there
For the handful of you who either found this post accidentally, or are one of my many dedicated fans (hi mom), keep reading!
So I know what you’re thinking, “wasn’t he supposed to be in Australia?”. Well, you are right but I got a week off for Easter break (4 weeks into the semester because somehow Melbourne University convinced themselves that this was logical) and so I found myself in Fiji!
To be honest, I always had Fiji up there with the list of unreachable destinations that might only ever become a near possibility for my honeymoon (bless the poor soul who thinks I’m tolerable for an entire lifetime). Much to my surprise, from this part of the world Fiji is a pretty accessible destination, even on a student budget!
My friends and I opted for an awesome hostel along Fiji’s coral coast, and booked ourselves a ‘garden bureau’ which is essentially a private garden hut with a beautiful outdoor shower that became quite the conversation piece as we frequently got locked out of the room because of it. Nonetheless, the hostel was gorgeous, the food was amazing, the activities were affordable and the staff quickly became family.
Among the activities, we went shark snorkeling, had lunch on a floating picnic deck in the middle of the ocean, boated out to the stunning private Yanuca island, bummed out on the beach and had lots and lots of fabulously underpriced beers and cocktails!
By far, the most interesting cocktail was that of the locals- Kava. According to Buzzfeed, Kava has the effects of alcohol, marijuana and caffeine combined. Before you start freaking out, it isn’t actually made of these things and is just a simple (legal) root soaked in water and served in a coconut shell. It is the traditional drink of the Fijian people and when offered, it is rude to not accept. I’ll be honest, the muddy appearance and instant 20 seconds of tongue-numbness were alarming but it was smooth sailing after that (from what I remember lol). The kava sessions at the beach bonfires were among the 2 highlights of my trip.
The second, and easily the most memorable, was the interaction with the locals. I’d say I’ve encountered people from many backgrounds in my life. Without a doubt, Fijians are the loveliest people I have ever had the pleasure of engaging with. My friends and I were overwhelmed by their warm hospitality, welcoming us into their homes and preparing meals for us to share with them. I honestly cannot think of another culture of people that would just let random strangers into their homes and treat them with such love and acceptance. To be quite frank, these people live the absolute simplest lives and seem to have happiness and contentment in unlimited supply. As cliché as this sounds, I was both humbled by their way of life and confronted with a lack of appreciation for my own. It is so easy to take privilege for granted and always want more than we already have. Fiji reminded me that the foundations of a fulfilling life are support, love, and gratitude. It actually can be that simple.
Bula, Fiji. You will always have a special place in the growing heart of this little Trini boy ❤