Toka Toka Resort, Nadi, Viti Levu, Fiji Islands
Sometimes things go exactly right when you're traveling.
Sure, sometimes they don't. But forget about that.
For a ten hour flight, that was pretty damned easy. We slept most of the way, Air Pacific was nice, fed us well, let us sleep.
We arrived at Nadi airport before dawn. A weird experience -- I've never been to a tropical island where I landed pre-dawn. I have no idea what this place looks like, other than the limited view from the airport and here. Where's here? Hang on.
We were greeted by a Fijian acoustic band -- akin to Hawaiian music, ukeleles and guitars and voices; beautiful stuff, I adore Polynesian music. The Fijians are a dark, African-looking people related to the Australian aborigines, but as with all Polynesian, they're good looking. These were dressed in what seems typical of every Fijian I've seen who works the tourist trade, that is, in aloha shirts and plain, non-printed sulus (a wrap-around skirt that reaches past the knees). I must have a sulu. As quickly as possible. They're great looking garments.
What I'd heard about Fijians has not, yet, been wrong; friendly. Not just the Fijian though, the Indo-Fijians are also very friendly. Shouts of "Bula!" (Health, the Fijian greeting) ring out all around the airport and people were eager to help us find the right tour operator.
We don't usually work with tour operators, but here, it being far from our usual haunts, we booked through one such. So far it's been the right choice. The guy who helped us, an Indo-Fijian names Samier or something like that), went far out of his way to get us to the right gate to see if we could get to an early flight on the puddle-jumper to our resort. To no avail; it was full. But he didn't seem to mind pushing our huge cart of luggage across the terminal twice.
We went with plan B -- a day rate at a local airport hotel so we could clean up and not have to wait five hours at the airport. We had low expectations there, just a bed and a shower were fine. We got a shuttle to the 'Toka Toka' resort.
The Toka Toka Resort.
Wow, did this beat expectations. Ok, the place is funky. 60's vintage, almost kitchy, but big clean bungalows with air conditioning, nice beds and a clean bathroom. We showered, slept a bit, then wandered down to the pool/bar/restaurant.
Here's where this place exceeded wildest expectations. The pool was wonderful; funky wooden bridges, an island in the middle, and a rock waterfall/water slide. There's simply nothing in Olivia's universe better than a water slide, and after putting up with hours and hours of travel, this was an absolute cherry on top. We turned her loose for two solid hours in the pool, dragged her out to eat, sent her back, while we split a breakfast and a couple pots of tea (they know how to make it here, like in england -- nice and strong, no Lipton crap, and serve it with milk).
This is what the word 'Unwind' means. This is what we needed.
So far Fiji is beautiful, though I've seen little. Very similar to Hawaii in geology and foliage, and the island smell, flowers and earth and plants, a little smoke and decay. It's a wonderful, sensual smell and it feels like home. The temperature is ideal, something in the seventies at 11:30 am, clear cloudless blue sky and a light soft breeze. I'm sitting on the porch (I want to say lanai, but that's Hawaii) of our bungalow (or Bure, here) in shorts and no shirt and the conditions could not be more ideal.
In about 1/2 hour the shuttle will come back to get us, as arranged, and take us back to the airport. Honestly, add diving and this place I'm in now would be enough. But wait. The real resort is yet to come, which will be beach-front. It's starting to feel like vacation now. I'm starting to think about sand on my feet and a rum cocktail. And I'm thinking about an ocean I have not seen yet, but know is full of fantastic sea life. If I'm lucky, I can actually get a dive in today, if not, I hope to have one tomorrow.
The voice in my head has already started to say "don't go back". Honestly, there's only the one reason I can think of, right now, to ever come back. But I guess that's enough reason, no matter how loud the voice is.