After Beachouse I caught the bus back towards Nadi (~2 hours). I had a week long trip to the Yasawas/Mamanucas planned by myself so that I could get my beach on (and Rosemarie could get her study on back in Suva).

I stayed in Nadi for one night, then got picked up the next morning by the Port Denerau shuttle bus. At Port Denerau I got on the Yasawa Flyer which is a big boat that ferries tourists up and down the Yasawa Islands. It is very organized.

My first stop was at Oarsmans Bay Lodge which takes 5 hours to get to. It was stormy and windy and everyone barfed. The weather was still crappy when we arrived at Oarsmans but I got upgraded from a dorm bed to my own private beachfront bure with washroom so that cheered me up!

the view from the doorway of my bure the next morning

my room for two nights

As you can see, the weather was great by the next morning! I loved Oarsmans Bay. The facilities are a little old but the resort is Fijian owned and run and they were the most lovely hosts ever. They learned all our names and cooked us great food and were really good singers. I loved all the little touches like when the lady cleaned my bure she put fresh flowers on the bed and counters.

While this place is a little pricey for backpackers I think it is worth it, especially because it seems like they are actually pretty generous on the free upgrades (Rosemarie also got upgraded when she stayed there some months ago, and so did all the other people that arrived at the same time as me). I loved falling asleep to the sound of waves gently crashing on the beach, and waking up and only walking 10 meters for my first swim of the day. And it felt like a home.

The only thing is that you have to be a little open-minded to stay there because some things are maybe not quite up to Western standards, and also you don’t get any choices for your meals.

long beach

They have activities you can do during the day like snorkelling trips and cave trips and cheap massages. The snorkelling there was REALLY GREAT. Plus oh my god the beach and the water there is so beautiful. And the complimentary hot breakfasts were really nice.

There were only about 12 to 18 people staying at Oarsmans on the days I was there. The small group was nice and cozy but it also sucked because 90% of them were from Norway and they spoke in Norweigan the entire time they were there. So a lot of the communal meal times I just sat there and ate and spoke to no one. Lame.

on you mark, get set…

GO!

We had a crab race. :D My crab made it to the second round, but then it just stayed in the centre and walked around in a circle so unfortunately I did not win a free beer. :P

what are these?

Check out what I saw while snorkelling off the beach! Can you tell what they are?

so cool!!!

SQUID!! This was so cool, I have never seen squid in the wild before. And apparently you don’t usually see so many of them at a time!

a satisfied snorkel snob

I rated the snorkelling there 9 out of 10.

After two nights at Oarsmans I caught the Flyer again and got off at Octopus Resort. Octopus was kind of the opposite of Oarsmans. While Oarsmans is a little run down and Fijian owned, Octopus is really snazzy looking and Australian owned.

octopus resort

While the facilities were definitely very nice and the food was amazing, it was not my favourite place because everything seemed kind of fake. I felt more like I was in Australia instead of Fiji. If you don’t care about getting to know Fiji and just want to have a beautiful relaxing tasty holiday then Octopus would be a great choice though. Even the dorms were lovely with single beds (not bunk beds) with individual side tables with reading lamps. Plus 24/7 air-conditioning!

octopus sunset

They had tons of activities to do during the day but I didn’t really do any. I’m not sure exactly why but the entire time I was kind of put-off by the resort. I did get a nice massage one day though.

Oh one other bad thing about Octopus is that the beach is almost un-swimmable. The waves were too big and rough and it was not fun trying to swim there at all. Plus there were lots of loose rocks on the bottom so you couldn’t even play in the waves without rocks hurling against your ankles. They had a pool that you could swim in instead though but you can’t snorkel in a pool!! :D

The food there was definitely a highlight though. You could get custom omelettes at breakfast, a choice from about 10 different things for lunch, and a beautiful three course dinner every night.

guess how many people can stay on beachcomber island at once

After two nights at Octopus I caught the Flyer again to my last stop, Beachcomber Island. Beachcomber is known as “the party island”. I probably should have picked somewhere else to stay because I was really not interested in getting DRONK by myself, but I wanted the “tiny island experience” and Bounty Island was closed (because of cyclone damage) and South Sea Island sounded terrible.

The island really is tiny. It took me 10 minutes to walk all the way around, on the sand! But the dorm was one giant building with 84 beds in it!! EIGHTY FOUR!! It definitely wasn’t full when I was there (my whole trip was in off-peak) but still!! I can’t believe I managed to fall asleep when the lights were all on and the music was still playing and people were going in and out so much. Thank god that island didn’t have any mosquitoes.

so pretty

Beachcomber Island is STUNNING when the sun is out. The water there was the clearest water I have ever seen. I’ve included a few more pictures of Beachcomber in the gallery below. The snorkelling was decent and they had a few free activities every day.

But at night all there is to do is drink and dance in the beach club. Not my scene. It would be a lot of fun to go there with a big group of friends though, I think. When I was there there was a big group of 20 Australians who were all there celebrating this one guys 30th birthday. Now THEY seemed like they were having an awesome time. They did beer bongs with a SNORKEL. HAHAHAHA.

Anyway after surviving one night on Beachcomber my Yasawa trip came to a close.

My final impressions of the Yasawas were great. It is sooooo beautiful there and there are some awesome resorts for every sort of traveller. I want to go back there with Scott some day and we could stay at Oarsmans again plus maybe try out a couple other new resorts as well! There are pros and cons for each resort depending on what your interests are and it’s kind of fun to read about them and pick ones for your trip.

I caught the Flyer back to Nadi and stayed one night in smelly Smugglers Hostel. The next morning I started my trek to the North East part of the mainland to go meet up with Rosemarie and her friends!

FIJI TIME!! I flew overnight from L.A. to Nadi and arrived at 5:15 AM Fiji time. I actually managed to sleep a fair bit on the plane so I was ok. I caught the bus straight from the airport to Suva (about 5 hours) to see Rosemarie. She was there to meet me at the bus stop with a hot chicken pie in hand! Best sister ever.

* Note: I took 5 million photos so I’ve decided to just post a few in my actual blog posts and the rest of my favourites will be in a gallery at the bottom of the posts. If you want a closer look you can click on the small thumbnails and it should bring up some kind of gallery slide show type dealio!

rose with some fresh (??) juice from the market, still tasted like Tang

It was great to see Rose again after so long. I stayed in Suva for 4 days and we crammed it full of yummy food, awesome swimming, and lots of talking.

It was really really hot and humid in the city. Thankfully Rose’s apartment has an outdoor pool. I spent a lot of time in there. Her whole apartment is very nice. This is the view from her balcony:

outdoor shower

fun rope swing, but would have been better if someone else was there to pass us the rope

She also took me to Colo-i-Suva Forest Park which is about 30 minutes out of town by bus. We had to walk 100 km in the heat but it was worth it because the waterfalls and swimming holes were awesome.

She made me my first kokoda. It was a life changing experience. I am now obsessed! (I ate it four times in Fiji hahaha.) Kokoda (pronounced kokonda) is white fish cured in lime juice with chopped up cucumber, tomato, chilli, cilantro, green pepper (etc.) with coconut milk. You can eat it with rice or fries or bread and it is amazing. I will definitely be trying to make this again here in Vancouver soon.

Other things we did together in Suva: drank sangria, had a pool party, learned about mangroves in marine biology, went partying downtown, ate Hunky Dog hot dogs, ate parrot fish, went to the movies.

Then that first weekend a big group of the international students planned a trip to Beachouse, a big backpacker resort on the Coral Coast, about 3 hours from Suva. It is a really nice resort considering it is for backpackers! They had lots of activities but I didn’t do any of them, oops.

that rope swing was mega fun

pretty much the ideal life

Rose and I brought our own food to save a bit of money. Our tuna, cucumber, BBQ sauce and Indian snack sandwiches were pretty disgusting though. Surprising?

We spent the days snorkelling and kayaking, and the nights on the beach and kneeling at picnic tables (inside joke, sorry). You could surf there too but I am scared of reef breaks because if you fall the reef is only like 2 inches below the water surface. AHHH!!! I will stick to nice soft beach breaks.

snorkelling there was decent too

Scott couldn’t come to Fiji with me, but we WERE able to spend a mini long weekend together in L.A. on my way over. We’ve been really unlucky with coordinating our holidays lately so even 3 days away together was special. BTW Scott and I have awesome trips together!! Oahu, Seattle and now Los Angeles have all been really really really fun trips!

The day we arrived we picked up our rental car, checked into our (really GRAND) hotel and then headed towards downtown L.A for the basketball game. We thought we’d have time to get something for dinner before the game started but traffic was silly and we ended up barely making it to the game on time. So we ate unlimited popcorn until my heart exploded. Nutrition!

I didn’t really expect to be that interested in the game but it ended up being SO FUN!! It was the Lakers vs. the Raptors so I had that Canadian connection. Both teams are pretty bad but the game was super super even so it ended up being really exciting. The Raptors were ahead at many times! It was fun to cheer (quietly) for them. The game actually went into overtime but the Lakers won by 2 points right at the very last second. It was nuts!

no Jack Nicholson but Scott thinks that sunglasses dude is Larry David (I am unconvinced)

This camera dude came up to our section to film a group of fans behind us and then Scott popped up from his seat and his head filled HALF OF THE HUMONGOUS JUMBOTRON for 0.5 seconds. It was very very funny (to us). Hehehe I am still laughing. It was kind of like this, but better.

me having fun

Scott happy about going to his first NBA game!

The next day we went to Six Flags Magic Mountain. :D :D I was really excited but Scott was a little nervous because he thought he didn’t like rides that much. But I forced him to go on the roller coasters and he slowly began to enjoy it more and more!! Now he actually LIKES loops and going upside down and stuff!! YAY!!! (this means I can make him come to more amusement parks hehehe.)

The lines were kind of long and a couple of the coasters were closed, including the 5D (??) coaster called X2 that I reallllllly wanted to try. That sucked, but we still had a great day and we got to ride pretty much everything that we wanted to.

green lantern: a vertical spinning coaster

The park doesn’t have very many non-roller coaster rides. They had bumper cars but they didn’t even have a ferris wheel! Not that I care… I’m there for the coasters!! Oh FYI there is an app that you can download for your phone that tells you how long the lines are for each ride!! I wish I had known about that ahead of time because that could be soooo useful!!

The best roller coasters were Tatsu (a flying coaster where you get strapped in lying on your stomach below the track like you are flying, which we waited for the front seat for), Goliath (a really tall fast up and down roller coaster with no loops), Revolution (the worlds first ever looping roller coaster… so funny!!!), and Viper (which had 7 loops!).

I wondered if roller coasters were going to be as fun post-skeleton as they were pre-skeleton, and the verdict is YES they are still fun, especially loops and corners, but the speeds don’t affect me as much! I was very relaxed on Goliath (just goes up and down), haha.

After eating more junk food for lunch we were really craving vegetables and healthy food for dinner. Also we were pretty cold because Scott was wearing shorts and I didn’t pack any sweaters. We kind of randomly decided to head towards Manhattan Beach and stumbled across the perfect little cafe called Sloopy’s that had a roaring fire, veggie packed meals for great prices, drinks, and delicious homemade desserts. It was incredible. You will find the picture in my next daily dinners post (coming soon!).

santa monica pier

out with the old, in with the new

For our last day in L.A. we drove towards Santa Monica to check out the beach and to buy Scott a new pair of shoes. Love American prices!!

Parking was annoying so after Santa Monica we decided to just drive around. We drove along Mulholland Drive and made up celebrity stories about all the people and houses we saw. The views were nice and it was a really great drive. We could see downtown, mansions, the Hollywood sign, and more. I would recommend doing that drive if someone I knew was going to L.A.

We drove a bit more after that but then we had to return the car and head back to the airport. We checked Scott in and then walked to Trader Joe’s. We got lots of treats but they were sold out of cookie butter so I was sad. The very last thing we did was try In-N-Out. It was ok but I think I actually like Five Guys better!! Animal style was tasty but the patties were not that good, in my opinion.

And then Scott flew back to Vancouver and I flew to Nadi, Fiji!

More to come soon!

This will just be a short post because I don’t want to use up all of Rosemarie’s internet and also her computer is so hot I think it could catch on fire at any point.

I’ve been in Suva since I arrived and it’s been lots of fun. Rosemarie has been taking me to all her favourite places. We went to the market, the forest park, the movies, several bars/restaurants, we ate hot dogs, pumpkin curry, kokoda (a Fijian ceviche type thing), plus lots more. I feel like I have sweated about 5 litres of sweat, but luckily it seems like we are never far from water. So far has just been swimming pools and waterfalls (!!) but from tonight onwards I will be steps away from the ocean.

We’re going to a backpacker resort for the weekend with a bunch of international students (27, I heard!) and then after that I will go off on my own for a week in the Yasawas and Mamanucas. I am looking forward to that.

Here are a couple pictures from our excursion to the forest park yesterday. There were tons of nice cool pools to swim in and waterfalls to pummel your shoulders. Fun times!!