Here is something I’ve learned over my travels: many international airports do not have a good magazine collection*. While C and I waited for our eleven hour flight from Nadi, Fiji, to Los Angeles, California the other day, I went to find a magazine to keep me occupied and help to send me off to sleep with visions of haute couture, beautiful homes, and possibly a worthwhile article or two. The only magazines on offer were the thin, nasty, gossip mongering celebrity rags. I am not at all above having a flick through those magazines while I stand in line to buy gum or when waiting for a train, but I don’t want to actually buy one. In Nadi, I didn’t recognize even one celebrity either as they were all Australian. My kindle had just died so I knew I would have to throw myself at the mercy of Fiji Airways in flight entertainment and hope for sleep.
This small disappointment over magazines was probably the low point of my month-long honeymoon. Suffice it to say, our adventures in Hawaii, Fiji and Vanuatu were completely wonderful.
The South Pacific Islands are as magical as you might imagine. Women in Hawaii do wear hibiscus flowers or frangipani behind their ears. You feel like T-Rex could burst from the jungle on Kauai. We saw humpback whales both from the sea and from above thanks to a helicopter trip. I even had the incredible treat of hearing them–with my naked ears!!–underwater while I was snorkeling.
We stayed on Leleuvia Island just off the east coast of Fiji for a few nights. I have never seen fish like there are in Fijian waters. The colors are electric; blues, yellows and oranges. But even more incredible were the geometric prints on some of them! Perfect straight lines in black and while or blue and orange. Intersecting black and white lines on the butterfly fish that have bright yellow heads and look exactly as if Mondrian had designed them. The coral was the color of a soft sunsets: lavender, light pink and blue. The star fish were bright navy. Our skin turned pink then brown. My freckles all came out with a vengeance, even the ones that line my top lip and make it loos as though I am constantly wearing ’90s-style brown lip-liner.
Then we made our way to Vanuatu, a country I hadn’t known existed this time last year. Just west of Fiji you will find this group of Islands that have not been discovered by tourists in the way our previous stops had. Granted, the Aussies have known about Vanuatu for a while as it’s a mere 5 hour trip from Sydney. But C had the distinct honour of being the first Irishman to stay in two of the resorts we visited.
Vanuatu is quiet and easy to be in. The Ni-Vanuatu people are respectfully curious but not aggressive. We saw fruit bats for sale (for eating), as well as piles of crabs still alive sitting on tables at the market. We marveled at the texture of bread fruit; not unlike a “floury potato”, and walked up to, around and down a live volcano. We also did the same up an extinct volcano. The water was like a swimming pool; as clear and as warm. Paradise is the only accurate adjective.
After an epic travel day that included 5 hours in Los Angeles, we are back on our own island. It is distinctly colder. But the sun is shinning (for now) and our skin is still brown (and freckled in my case).
*This also includes Cochin, India, Mumbai, India, Port Vila, Vanuatu, Mexico City, Mexico but NOT Tokyo, Japan. That airport shop is fabulous.