Paradise Lost... then found.
So Fiji. I survived my 3 different flights, three different airlines, 3 different continents, 3 different countries and arrived in one piece (along with my board). I smiled real bag immediately stepping from the plane, it was night, it was warm and it felt amazing after the rainy spells in New Zealand and Australia. I got to baggage claim and hoped and prayed for my stuff to arrive... after a grueling 15 minutes, it did. I then went to the courtesy phone and called my resort for a ride. She told me to get a cab and they'd reimburse upon arrival (hmmm...), then she asked me to buy her two bottles of rum duty free (hmmmm....). Anyways, I made it to the hotel and it was more than charming. Very clean, the room was nice and the atmosphere was great, a pool even. I had a couple beers and got ready for bed. The next morning I checked out at 8am and took a taxi into down town Nadi, a total zoo, and got set up with a minibus(minivan) that would take me down to the village of Korivisilu, where I would go into the general store (a wood stand on the roadside) and call the resort truck to pick me up. At the city center, I left my bags in the van (very reluctantly) and went into the market to pick up food, it was real possible that this would be my last glimpse of anything even remotely near civilised. I got some oatmeal and pb & j supplies and got back to the minibus. We waited about an hour, just standing, waiting for more passengers to show up. Finally, we depart, me squished in the bitch in the front seat. I had to move my legs every time he changed gears. We slowly drove through town, then came full circle, back to the bus stop. We were just buying time, there were more people standing, they were shoved into the minivan, we were now totally almost 12. We begin our hour and a half trip, my lower extremities quicly became numb, the wierd indian fella next to me kept falling asleep and hitting his head on me each time he woke up. ANYWAYS, then we arrive in Korivisilu. There is the shack, I call, the car comes. We then head 5 kms down a road more archeaic than anything I've seen, drastic ups and downs, no pavement, 5 KILOMETERS. This was wild. I had a feeling this could be amazing, I was totally removed from everything. I finally arrive, and before I can even check in Nikki runs up to me and explains that the place is very very grim and just wait till I see what they are calling a "dorm". I go into the "dorm" and it's a bamboo shack, tipped to one side in some bad night of storminess and left that way forevor. There are mesquito nets hanging over each "cot" and a central table in the middle of the room. It looked like a picture of an old native american lodge from the turn of the century. It was a dark dark place. Also, they knew they had us stuck here, so it was 40 bucks a day for meals, no personal food allowed, all electricity went off at 10pm, all trips out to surf reefs cost 25 for local spots and 55 for world famous frigates. So... we decided we had to stay one evening, Nik and Jez had gotten a nice suite, so I crashed on a small extra bed, while paying for a "cot" in the dorm. We enjoyed it the best we could, reading shit novels and playing ping pong on the make shift table. SO. The next morning the surf dude wakes me up and says they are going to Frigates. I decline, 55 bucks is ridiculous just to get pounded by huge surf, I suck, it's a waste. Then I think, I'm only here once, to hell with it, I agree. BUT HEY, forget that, turns out that this resort is SO CHEAP, that you can only go if there are atleast 5 surfers on the boat (frigates is 25k out to see), we had 4. Amazing, so you can't even go, even though YOU CAN'T DETERMINE how many guest will be staying at any certain time. This place was hellish. So we take the boat out to a local spot called Pipe. The water was unbelievable, you could see straight to the bottom, the weather was stunning, the landscapes unbelievable. We arrive at this frightening reef break and everyone is remarking about how small it is, only 1 meter. Well how about this, it was frickin huge, I mean scary. And only 3-4 feet of water over reef. You get your ass handed to you by these monster of waves, breaking inside and out, all over. So I paddle out, I watch, I watch, I paddle in to my first wave... and for the first time of the entire trip, on my first wave in Fiji... I get up... I ride it a bit, too shocked to make any turns on my tiny advanced 6'9" board and I fall off, flat of course, and make sure my board isn't savaged on the reef. Unbelieavable, I was beside myself with joy. THEN OF COURSE, I proceeded to be torn lifeless by the rest of the set and spent the next 2 hours paddling out, being humiliated by huge waves, and repeat, and repeat, and repeat, some snorkling, lovely, then repeat thrashings and so on. Either way, it was joy, and worth the price. Just crazy to think that they make atleast two trips a day, and you pay 50 fijian for each trip, then 40 a day for food, and atleast 80 for any accomdation that doesn't equate to a dank cave-like bungalow/shack. Anyhow, we got the crap out of there as soon as I returned from surfing and moved to a place about 20k up the road, where Nik & Jez had been before called "The Beachhouse". It's lovely, the dorms are great, the beach is great, there is plenty to do, and best of all... a small break that I can paddle out to. Lovely. Things looked really really bleak there for a moment, but as we pulled into the beach house, all was saved, we had hammocks, telephones, email... it was lovely.