Well, Fiji is not that small and lonely, but compared to other countrys, Fiji is a bit off the grid.
About 2100 km, or 1300 miles, north of Auckland lies this since 1970 independent Country, wich is home to about 900.000 People, about as much as Delaware, in the size of the state New Jersey. Most of this area is on the two biggest of the over 330 Islands, that malke up this peace of earth. About two thirds of these Islands are not inhabited by humans. So alot of tiny Islands, with few, or no people at all. That sounds like Cast away to me. And that is the reason, why they filmed it there. And I stayed on such an islannd, not too far away, maybe a bit bigger, and with a bit more people, but still pretty good.
Still completly overwhelmed from all the great experiences I made in New Zealand, I set off on an Air New Zealand plane, wich is by far my current favourite Airline (the Security-Video is hilarious), and went to Nadi, Spoken like Nandi, for some reason.
No more than three hours away from what felt like the most civilized country I have ever been to I found myself in Fiji, which ranks a blistering 88th place on the Human Development Index, right inbetween Thailand, and Armania.
Right from the plane I could see one of the biggest problems, I had in Nadi. Because Fiji does not have a compulsorily trash collection, and the private ones are really expensive, the main way to get rid off your garbage is burning it. That makes for huge clouds, that can be seen all over the island by plane, and a terrible smell, whereever you are, if close to a bigger city. Mixed with the fumes by the trucks and buses, that all are in a terrible state, it makes for a terrible air to breath.
This problem continues. Everywhere is garbage, in the ditch off the road, in the little creeks, on the beacch, and on the streets. Plastic bags, Oilbarrels, it all just gets throw out, without taking care of the enviroment, or the people around you.
This is, what annoyed me the most about Fiji, and what was the biggest difference to all the other countries, I have been to before.
A few days of this were enough for me, so after a short while I left the main Island Viti Levu, and went to the beautiful Island of Nacula (spoken as Nathula). Four and a half hours by boat away from the town of Nadi, setting off form Port Denarau, a gated commmunity, where the big chain hotels build up their resorts, completly isolated from the real Fiji.
I ended up in the Blue Lagoon Beach Resort, a great place on earth, where coconut-trees, Mangos and Bananas grow, and where you can seen the bottom of the ocean, no matter, how deep.
I stayed in this resort at the far end of the Yasawa Islands for eight days. In this time I did a lot of great things, saw a lot, swam a lot and ate even more.
In this tropical paradise I enjoyed live to it's fullest.
Not to far away from the resort I went to another really small Island, where the Sawa-I-Lau Caves, a mystical System of Caves, wich are made up out of an almost carhedral like main cave hall and a smaller second cave, that is only reachable by an underwater tunnel.
I went to these caves on a small little half day trip.
The completly flooded cave was pretty impressive, but the second cave, immersed in complete darkness, was really breathtaking.
After swimming through the tunnel from the big open fordt cave, you end up in a completly dark hall with pretty close walls, that reflect every tiniest sound.
In this small room because of the darkness, the sound and the narrowness of the walls, I felt intimidated and a tiny bit claustrophobic.
After around 50 meters (150 feet) you reach the second room, that is conected to the world by a 20 meter (60 feet) high chimney, that does not only provide the neccesary air, but also a little bit of light.
But because I do not own a waterproof camera, I could not get any photos from there, just a little one from the entry.
So is Fiji worth the travel?
Coming from Europe or the US I think not, but if you are in Australia or New Zealand, it is just a short flight of maybe three hours away, and it feels absolutely different. Nadi, where most planes go to, or Suva the capitol would be nota place to stay, but instead I would directly head over to one or multiple islands in the Yasawas.
The wonderfull landscapes, clear water and seclided beaches, and of course the legendary hospitality of the fijians make it a truely worthwhile trip.