Wally's going to Fiji for Christmas!

Jan 30th, 2007, 06:34 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 3,291
Wally's going to Fiji for Christmas!

Originally, I wanted to get a First Class ticket to Maui using 75,000 AA Frequent Flyer Miles. I realized today that that just isn't going to happen (Try 150,000 miles) during the Christmas holiday, so I decided on Fiji.

LAX to NAN (Fiji) is $1,099 on Air Pacific, a four star airline. They serve meals, drinks (even alcohol) for free in economy. The 747-400, doesn't have First Class seating, and has a small Business Class section. I was able to get a isle seat assignment on the upper deck (yes, coach on the upper deck), which seats 3 and 3 across.

I leave on December 20, and arrive in Fiji on Dec. 22 at 5:15 in the morning.
I return on December 30, leaving Fiji at 10:50 p.m. and arriving at LAX at 1:05 p.m. Why get a window seat, right?


Air Pacific has flights to New Zealand and Australia for $1,300 to $1,500, connecting in Fiji. Qantas and United's prices are around $2,200 to Australia.

This is a Q class ticket so I should get 100% of my miles with American Airlines. So, why pay $900+ to go to Hawaii, when I can pay a little more and go to Fiji in style? I'm really going to miss that snack pack and $5 ham sandwich--ya, right.

No extra charge to book the flight on the phone and I spoke to two of the nicest people.

My current plans are to join the Feejee experience, a hop-on bus based out of New Zealand that will take me around the island for six days. The tour knows where the best beaches, bars, and places worth visiting are located.
wally34949 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2007, 09:53 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 19,419
Do they serve martinis on the hop-on bus or you have to hop-off for that?

(hey, congratulations, sounds like a great plan!)
FainaAgain is offline  
Jan 30th, 2007, 08:00 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,276
nice work wally! can i come with as your cabana girl?!?

ps- is 34949 your zip code? just curious. i always think of you as an australian. don't know why.
lynnejoel1015 is offline  
Jan 31st, 2007, 02:51 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 3,291
I live two blocks from the ocean, 50 miles north of West Palm Beach. Check out these prices to Hawaii for Christmas vacation. The prices are over $1,000.

If anyone is intersted in Fiji on a budget, here are two links:

www.feejeeexperience.com

www.awesomefiji.com

wally34949 is offline  
Jan 31st, 2007, 05:21 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,711
Wally...You'll like the local beer, Fiji Bitter.....Actually quite lite and goes down fairly quickly.BUT.....don't drink the "grog"....made in a big wooden tanoa(tub).They take the root of a local plant, grind it, wrap in mesh cloth, and dunk it in the water.Looks like muddy water.You are served a bilo(cup) which is a carved out coconut half.It actually is "presented" to you, you take it with both hands, and down the hatch.Ain't sippin whiskey!After a few bilos, you get a little buzz.After everyone in the room has been "served", there's a little rest, maybe a smoke.Dont try the 'baki either...Then someone will call for "taki", another round.Traditionally, they drink until, well, the tanoa is empty! One night while there, I was invited to a private home.Our Fijian host brouoght out a brand new bottle of JW Black label.True to the custom, we drank until there wasnt any more!
BeachBoi is offline  
Jan 31st, 2007, 06:05 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 3,291
Good tips, Beachboi

Did you fly Air Pacific? Any comments?
I need to read up on Fiji. Anything I shouldn't miss?
wally34949 is offline  
Jan 31st, 2007, 06:33 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,711
Well, Air Pacific was fine.It was alst minute trip and the seats weren't bad.The service was quite good tho I slept well.Yes, read up on Fiji, it is fascinating.Watch "Blue Lagoon" again.And dont be concerned when you read that "men wear skirts"..It aint a skirt.Just think of it as a Fijian "kilt".The Fijians are extremely gracious and very happy to host visitors.Thru your reading, you will also learn that there is about an equal split between the indigenous Fijian population and the Indian populace as well.If your tour will conecntrate on the western side of Viti Levu, the main island, you are likely to see more Indians than Fijians.Back in the mid 19th century, I think, after Great Britain had colonized Fiji, they had to turn to a source other than the Fijians to cultivate the sugar cane that would make Fiji an economic powerhouse for production of sugar.The Fijians refused to work the cane fields.They had enough to do with their own agriculture.So the Brits turned to India.Thousands upon thousands of Indian citizens welcomed the opportunity to start a new life in an untouched tropical paradise.As my friend tells it, the influx carried on well into the first quarter of the 20th century.The Indians were never allowed to own land, but they were keen to establish commerce and trading.So even today, in Nadi and Suva most of the shops are Indian owned.Restaurants are primarily Indian and Chinese.Wow didnt mean to ramble.You'll find plenty on line and undoubtedly some good reading in your local library.
BeachBoi is offline  
Jan 31st, 2007, 06:49 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 3,291
Interesting.
wally34949 is offline  
Jan 31st, 2007, 07:04 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,051
There's also a fair amount of political unrest and currently a military government (recent coup) is in control. Hopefully by Christmas things will have settled down with a civilian government back in charge. The ethnic Indian/Fijiian split is very much a part of the tension in Fiji.

Vita Levu is quite densely settled and does not have too much of the "tropical paradise" feel as some of the other islands, such as Taveuni or the smaller resort-oriented places. If your budget can handle it, going for a couple of days to one of the neighbor islands would be an excellent idea IMO.

The "skirt" is called a "sulu" and they're great and inexpensive souvenirs. The local addictive substance is kava, aka "grog" - a soup of the ground roots of the kava plant that tastes like mud and that induces a mild high when consumed - big part of Fijiian culture. If you're in Suva, be sure to hit the town market next to the docks - lots of very interesting things to see, including the grog merchants on the second floor of the market building. Christmas in Suva is a hoot, with inflated Santas presiding over the streets which are periodically rendered rivers by tropical rains, and where you can flee into shops selling Indian spices and (I think) bootleg CDs. Check out the movie theatre downtown for a real "where the hell am I" moment - kids eating popcorn just like at home - followed by exiting into the din of the streets. Cool.

Air Pacific is okay, despite its nickname of Air Pathetic. If you want to go to one of the out islands, be prepared to be weighed in front of everybody as they do load management for the Otters.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jan 31st, 2007, 07:11 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,711
If you get to Suva, its fabulous.Very Old World.But from what I can read in the current politcal climate, outsiders arent getting into Suva.Maybe things will have settled down by December.My Grandmother and aunt visited there on a Matson cruise way back in the 60's.They had told me if I was in Suva on a Sunday, be sure to attend church services at the Centenary Methodist Church.We did and it was a meorable experience.
BeachBoi is offline  
Jan 31st, 2007, 07:36 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 3,291
Guess I need to read up on Fiji. At least I have the time. So I need to wear a skirt--not a penis gourd? Next time I'm going to New Guinea.

I also found out that Air Pacific is a three star--not a four star. I heard they serve a dinner and a breakfast during the 10 hour flight.
wally34949 is offline  
Jan 31st, 2007, 07:54 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,711
Actually, they "formal" sulus that men wear for business or to say church, are dark,black, navy blue, very dark grey.The informal is what I brought back with me.You go into any of the shops is Suva or Nadi, and you will see stacks of bolts of cloth,colorful and many with flower print motifs.They look at you and cut a swath, then you have your sulu.Mine are about 1.5 yards each and were very inexpensive.There are shirts as well but I didnt get any.I stik pretty well to tees.The sandals they wear are sturdy and very much the same style.Simple, 2 pieces of black leather overlapping the toe and a simple buckle on the back.Comes in brown too.I got one of each.
BeachBoi is offline  
Feb 1st, 2007, 10:01 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 17,144
Don't wear a skirt in Fiji.

Fijians - of both races - do. Westerners don't, except on beaches. Bula shirts are just fine: I've even worn one for a Prime Ministerial reception, where practically every other man in the room - Melanesian, Indian or Western - wore one too.
flanneruk is offline  
Feb 1st, 2007, 12:55 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,793
Wally- We've flown Air Pacific from NZ to Fiji and from Fiji to LAX. We were very satisfied with their service. They even gave us an exit row!

Fiji is gorgeous-- have a great time!

Try to get off of the main island of Viti Levu and see the Mamanucas and Yasawas. We took a Blue Lagoon Cruise-- not sure if it's in your budget, but I highly recommend it. There is a different cruise company as well. These are very small boats, not cruise ships.

Liz
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Feb 1st, 2007, 05:50 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 8,798
I can highly recommend Moon Handbooks South Pacific book written by David Stanley. There is a very complete section on Fiji that will help you plan your trip.

-Bill
iamq is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2007, 02:54 AM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 3,291
Thanks for your comments. How long is the Blue Lagoon Cruise?
wally34949 is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2007, 05:08 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,793
There are a few-- 2, 3, or 6 nights. We took a 3-night cruise and loved it. The outer islands are gorgeous.

Liz
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Dec 20th, 2007, 04:08 PM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 3,291
I'm off to Fiji tonight! I flew from Ft. Lauderdale to LAX yesterday on American for only $109 (one-way) They put up a tacky sign in the Galley that said, "No standing in the galley." When someone tried to get out of the toilets in the back of the plane, there was no where to stand. And, the Fasten Seat Belt sign was on for the last three hours of the flight. It didn't stop the drink cart, tho. They still served hot coffee and tea with the Fasten Seat Belt sign on.

The flight attendants were actually friendly on the flight. As I walked off the plane, I said to the one flight attendant, keep that smile. It took over 45 minutes for the luggage to arrive.

I filled three 3 ounce plastic bottles with vodka and placed them in a Zip Lock bag when I went through security. Once past security, I purchased some apple juice and made myself a real drink.

Security in Ft. Lauderdale knows too different languages, English and Loud English. Going though security in Ft. Lauderdale, I had to show my boarding pass and photo ID three times.

Anyway, a very uneventful flight, but I hope my flight with Air Pacific will be better tonight. The 5 1/2 hours with American almost killed me.

It is cold and raining in LA. Fiji will hopefully be warmer.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, you Fodor's readers!
wally34949 is offline  
Dec 21st, 2007, 05:30 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,334
Wally
I've made two trips to Fiji back in the late 80's, early 90's. I had a lovely time.

AND I discovered my FAVORITE coconut soap. The label is Mokosoi. Each bar comes in a little tapa cloth bag. Great soap. My DH and I love it. I order it on line now, so I try to keep it on hand. If you see some, buy it. See if you like it too.
simpsonc510 is offline  
Dec 21st, 2007, 07:21 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 669
Vodka and apple juice?
mjz_kc is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:48 AM.