Wendi Friesen - hypnotist, scuba diver, sailor - has just returned to her California home after 2 weeks of travel in Fiji. Here are some of her impressions:
"I am back. Against my will I boarded the plane, leaving a paradise where almost no one has heard of Michael Jackson, the internet barely exists (take yourself back in time 10 years) and where people are overwhelmingly friendly simply because it feels good.
I was suspicious, I have to admit. The smiles, the warm greetings, the kind heart of the Fijians... they must want something from me. Since tipping is not customary, none had their hands out. They are up to something, I just couldn't figure out what.
Turns out, all that I heard about Fijians is true. (There are exceptions, more later) They are happy, friendly beyond belief, take time to enjoy the moment, and seem to love to remember your name. Weird, really, if you are from the USA. Apparently there are other countries that are friendlier than the US. Returning to LAX is like a smack in the face. Two years ago, I was in Samoa, and upon returning had to face the harsh reality. Americans are largely an unfriendly bunch. Very little eye contact, sideways glances, avoiding all eye contact seemed to be more obvious after being in Fiji for a couple of weeks.
Fiji has only one dangerous creature, the sea snake. No poisonous spiders, critters, bugs, snakes.. nothing can hurt you. And the sea snake lives in the sea. Good thing. While diving I saw a rather large one, probably 4-5 feet. They say that they have tiny little mouths so their extremely deadly venom can only get ya when you have little tiny body parts sticking out. I kept all of mine tucked in. Fiji is a diving paradise. Amazing colors.
The water is clean and drinkable, the natives are friendly (understatement), the ocean is spectacular (check out the temp here: Fiji Water Temps. Yes it is that warm.), the food is amazing, the mosquito's are rare, and the air temp never seems to vary beyond extremely comfortable, near perfection at all times.
If there is a more ideal place on earth, let me know. While I was there, I looked for property to buy, so I could build a house and visit the islands. A sailboat, a sunset, warm water that is mostly over 80 degrees... what more could you want? "
Here is my list of things to love-
Fresh clean drinkable water.
Friendly, happy people. They speak English.
No dangerous bugs, rarely a mosquito.
No creatures that will make you squirm, scream, jump out at you, dangle menacingly from a tree, or eat your foot under the waterfall.
Broadband is coming. :)
Temperatures are divine.
Some of the best diving in the world.
Giant clams- just like in the cartoons. You have to see these- some are 2 feet long. Brilliant colors. It is so tempting to find out what might happen if you stick your finger in there...
Fresh fish anytime you like. People stand by the side of the road holding bags of prawns. Give them a few bucks and you are set for dinner.
Papayas, pineapples, guavas, bananas, coconuts all growing wild. The coconuts are a bit of work. Climbing that tree really sucks.
One thing on the list of what not to do in Fiji is in Nandi. The shops there can be rather brutal. The folks in this not so fine city don't seem to have the Fiji spirit.
On the high side, the unspoiled island of Taveuni is wonderful, peaceful, and beautiful.
The resort on Vanua Levu at Cousteaus is the best thing ever. If you want to relax, go there. No worries. None. And if you work it right you can start with breakfast, eat slow and start lunch and dinner without taking a break. This is the best food I have had anywhere. Just amazing. They have beds by the pool. Not lounge chairs. Beds. Big ones. In between meals you can stop there to rest if you aren't ready for the white sand beach.
If you don't want to relax, go to the Outrigger on the coral coast and you will go crazy. I was only there one night, thank god. I would have lost my mind. Never go there.
There is a hotel in Suva called JJs where you get 3 butlers. There are the coolest butlers you will ever have. They will do just about anything you want. Where else can you go and have 3 butlers? This is just crazy. And remember, no tipping in Fiji . Suva can be dangerous at night on the oceanfront, but other than that it is ok to be outside. Even so, we had a large butler in a skirt accompany us the entire way to dinner, movie, and back to JJs.