Last night I could hardly sleep… I am so excited about our upcoming trip! Very soon we will board a plane to Fiji for some well deserved rest and relaxation, following the generous invitation of the owner at the gorgeous Starfish Blue Villa on the Suncoast.
As you probably know, Fiji is one of the most popular travel destinations for Sydneysiders. You can reach it direct in just four and a half hours and costs are reasonable. But what a piece of paradise you are greeted with, once you have shaken off the stress of Australian big city life!
This is not the first time I will set foot on the South Pacific Island nation. Exactly one year ago we docked in Suva for a day, Fiji’s capital and second biggest city, when travelling the South Pacific on a cruise ship.
Suva is a busy port, and the people living here looked super busy too. But still, they had time for a smile and a friendly “Bula!”, as if pretending that Suva was just one little village where strangers were treated as friends.
We were so surprised about this that at first we didn’t greet back and clutched our valuables. Not that you shouldn’t look after your wallets and fancy cameras in a place like Suva, but these people meant no harm at all and just did what was culturally expected from them.
Next to the port is the big municipal market. I love markets. I think if you travel to a new country you are not experiencing the best part of it if you give the markets a miss. Here you will see locals in their everyday situations, buying food for their families, and having a chat with their neighbours.
Plus, there is always a great variety of local food and produce that you won’t see anywhere else – fresh pineapples, flowers in all colours of the rainbow, little green and red chillies. Yes, the floor might be wet and the air might be hot and sticky, but this really is the best part of any trip to a new country.
After the markets we followed the shoreline to the Old Parliament and other great colonial buildings with tall palm trees, imposing gates, lush green lawns.
Back in the city centre we lost ourselves in the maze of busy shopping streets. The air was hot and humid, and crossing the street meant risking your life. Still, Suva is considered a shoppers’ paradise, with many tax-free goods and luxury items on offer. The streets are clearly influenced by the big Indian community in Fiji, you could see it at every corner.
Suva is not just the capital of Fiji, it is also the heart of the Pacific region, with many cooperations and banks having set up their Pacific headquarters here. The vibe is chaotic and multicultural, not necessarily what you would expect from a Pacific island nation.
If you have the opportunity to stop here for a day, do walk the streets and take in this very particular atmosphere. Discover the lush gardens, grab a bargain, and learn more about the Fijian history and culture.