Our second place place, Matava, was unbelievable. We had such a great time that we aren't sure any place can top it. Small "resort" that only had about 5-10 guests while we were there. We all had every meal together that they cooked for us. There was no menu, just whatever they made. most times it was fresh fish caught that day. But they did make us pizza on sunday afternoon! i got to play chess with the manager, who lived in NYC and loved the pizza there--hence the pizza on sunday afternoons. And we went diving too, which was amazing!! we went on a dive in a spot they know has some manta rays. they are huge! The dive leader thought the biggest one was about 3-4 meters wide. what cool animals. They turn like a plane with wide turns and they kind of go on a slant as they're turning and their heads aren't like stingrays; there kind of split in two and have one eye on each part. very cool and a bit unnerving when they are coming straight at you. The biggest one came right up to our dive leader, Te, who tried to stop blowing any bubbles so it wouldn't be scared away. We were scared away a bit though, haha!! There was no electricity so we basically went to sleep a bit after it got dark and woke up around 7-8am for breakfast. The mosquitoes got to be a bit annoying but our view after they upgraded us to a nicer room was just breath-taking. it might be the best view we get the whole trip. we took pictures and some video so we'll show you all. They upgraded us because they learned it was our honeymoon and because they liked us, at least that's what they told us. We checked out their organic garden (from which we ate our salads and veggies daily), learned a few things about it and also learned about their village culture from Sami and others. Two words we've learned are: Bula (hello/goodbye) and Vinaka (thank you/you're welcome). We also drank Cava, which is kinda like a drug/alcohol beverage. It's a root that they grow and then dig up and pulverize before adding water to it and drinking it. It didn't really do much but make our lips and mouth a bit numb. it's a ceremony that they perform daily. In some cases it's more of a cultural ceremony and in others it's just friends relaxing together after finishing the day's work.
We took a hike to the village and the waterfall behind it. so much fun. The kids from the village were jumping off cliffs into the water trying to show off for us, each one out-doing the next. They were just running across the wet rocks and we were walking very gingerly trying not to bust our butts. again, we have some pics and video that we'll try to put up soon.
Now we're at a Radisson that we thought would be a pretty standard little hotel. well, we were very wrong. it's an absolute Luxury Resort. luxury with a capital L and resort with a capital R. we got our room for $115US, but it's a 5-star hotel. there were some 2-star hotels we could've stayed in tonight for about $90US, so it was a pretty easy choice. i wish we were staying another night (which would help us with our internet use) but we have to catch a ferry to our next "resort" -- lower case r for this next one i think. :) but it'll be cool. don't get me wrong, i LOVED Matava, the place we just came from, but this Radisson is just absolute luxury. Two very different places and experiences. Laurie and I were saying that this Luxury Resort may as well be in Hawaii or the Caribbean, because it's just not quite fully authentically Fijian, but it's still nice and the air-conditioning is still much appreciated.
We're thinking about extending our time in Polynesia (because.....duh, it's Polynesia) but maybe not because it's a pretty expensive place in general so we'll see.
Enjoy the photos (and video if we can figure it out) all!