Bula (greetings) from Paradise!
Vlog version: https://youtu.be/ghUh9toUcDI
We are 10,000 miles from home, yet we have never felt more at home. Anyone planning a romantic getaway, you have to consider Tokoriki Island in Fiji (a country that’s been on my bucketlist for years!) As this was our first stop on the trip – and our actual ‘honeymoon’ we went 100% all out and loved every minute of it and this is why….
The People – yes yes, we know this is super cliche, but from the very second we got off the plane, we were greeted by a trio of singing guitarists and that warm hospitality continued throughout our stay! Fijians are very friendly, open and hospitable people. The love of every single member of Tokoriki Resort was incredible – they all remembered our names within 2 minutes, sang us a welcome song, enthusiastically shouted Bula! every time we walked by, shared stories of their villages, enquired enthusiastically about the queen and always keeping the hotel vibes friendly and lively!
The Room and View – with no Wi-Fi, no TV, no Phone, we enjoyed our Beachfront Pool Bure a thousand times more! It was love at first sight when we walked in and saw the sensational view of our private pool underneath a sea of palm trees right next to the clear blue white sand ocean. We were welcomed every evening with the most breathtaking sunsets – heaven on earth! They also had an outdoor shower under the stars – bliss!
The culture – Here are a few nuggets that stick out…
- When visiting a local village of 700 people (split into 7 tribes, where each tribe would be allocated different tasks to help the Chief). Each tribe would go out of their way to help each other, rather than being just focussed on their own tasks. The single mothers would all help each other making and selling merchandise, and it was a feeling of community, love and friendship.
- With approximately 40% of the population being Indian (after millions of Indian labourers were brought over by the British in the late 1800s), there was an incredible friendship and bond that has formed between the two communities. Hindi is taught as one of the key languages at school, Fiji-Indian marriages are extremely common, everyone is a fan of Amitabh Bachan and Diwali is a celebrated festival. Love it!
- If you put a Fijian, Australian and Kiwi together, they will passionately discuss Rugby – particularly how the All Blacks keep beating everyone (not really sure what this means, so I stayed far away from this conversation!)
- Each Island has a different dialect of Fijian. The headmaster of a local school forgot his shoes and asked a child to run and pick them up. Later, the kid arrived with his worried parents (shoes meaning parents in the other dialect), wondering why they had been called in to see the Principal… Apparently the miscommunication between the dialects is a common and awkward occurrence…
And now for our top recommendations if you end up visiting…
Private Island Picnic – living the life of Richard Branson for the day, chilling on a completely private island that looked exactly like the Kaho Na Pyaar Hai song. Great food, bottle of Moët and a pair of snorkels – most romantic date we have ever been on!
Drink the traditional Kava drink – this plant based drink (pounded from the root of a pepper tree) tastes like soapy water and has the alleged combined effect of Viagra and a sleeping pill (we weren’t affected at all!). However, what was great about this was the ceremony that went with it:
- Sit in a circle – nominate a chief and spokesperson
- Clap once
- Shout Bula
- Down your drink
- Clap three times
- Go round the circle and repeat
Amar was nominated Chief, so we were forever known as Chief and Mrs.Chief
Crab Racing – “Going once, going twice, Francesco Totti (the name of our cute little Italian crab) and sold to Amar and Shalini for $10!”. After hotel couples bought their favourite crabs in intense auction, the crabs were set free with the hope to get to the finishing line! Unfortunately it was Justin Beebs that won, but thanks to the lovely Canadian couple who used their prize money to buy us a round of shots!
Unlimited massages – without fail, 2 hours were spent in absolute bliss every day. Every knot that ever existed has officially been removed. Heaven!!
Local village trip – incredible to see the day in the life of the local! The highlight was seeing the excitement of the primary school kids on their first day of term. They were singing, dancing, running around, saying hello, taking photos – anything but in the classroom studying. We were told they get 1-2 weeks settling down time – why didn’t we get that in the UK?!
Water sports – need we say more?!
Until next time lovely readers xx