I absolutely believe that it is the people that make the place and the Fijians are a genuinely friendly and lovely bunch. These days it can be easy to feel cynical when strangers are kind, I suppose it is a bit of a self-defence mechanism. However, in Fiji I met all sorts of people from villagers in remote corners of main island, Viti Levu to fruit and vegetable traders in Nadi Market and people on smaller islands. Every single person was friendly, smiling, polite and welcoming.
|Friendly market trader, Nadi, Fiji|
I have always been a fan of warm weather and I love the tropical, humid climate in Fiji. Gentle breezes on balmy evenings, and living life in shorts, suit me down to the ground.
You can tell a lot about a place when you try local food. It is a showcase for local traditions, habits and preferences. Being a nation of islands surrounded by reefs, Fiji offers incredible seafood. Due to the large Indian population curries are also popular but I resisted them (not a fan I’m afraid). However, Fiji also enjoys a wide array of tropical fruits and vegetables, from plantain and cassava (served with almost everything!) to taro, papaya, pineapple, coconut and banana, I love them all. Yum!
|Taro on sale at the market, Fiji|
Fijians operate on ‘island time’. Maybe it is the heat, maybe it runs a bit deeper. I found that the accepting nature of the locals, that attend whichever school is closest, even if it is a catholic school and the children are Hindi, created a calm environment with few tensions. I am the first to admit that I only visited Fiji briefly and do not have the depth of understanding that someone living in Fiji would have, but I felt a real lack of tension.Fantastic diving
The spectacular reefs are idyllic playgrounds for scuba divers. Home to sharks, rays, dolphins, fish, cuttlefish, lobsters, prawns, eels, and a plethora of fish species, I could spend all day exploring the underwater world and not get bored. On many islands it is possible to find interesting snorkelling only a few metres from the beach. How easy and convenient can sub aqua adventures be?
|Snorkelling just off the beach, Fiji|
Something that makes Fiji stand out when compared to other island nations like the Bahamas, is the landscape. The hills of Viti Levu rise dramatically and majestically out of the sea. Even the small islands such as the Mamanucas and Yasawas have interesting topography, albeit slightly less grand. Besides the hills, Fiji boasts rainforest, rivers and sand dunes. There is such variety in the landscape there are endless adventures to be had.
Fiji’s history and culture is very different to where I grew up in Europe, which to me makes it fascinating. From the confronting sight of cannibal forks in Fiji Museum to tales of tribal war, the ritual sharing of kava, and people capable of walking across burning coals, Fiji has a very colourful cultural heart. There seems to be a lot of singing too, which was lovely.
These are the reasons I love Fiji. Have you been? If so, and you fell for Fiji too, what made you feel that way?