On our first morning in Fiji, I started my day feeling a little disoriented. Waking up inside a mosquito net is a little bit like waking up in a dream. At no fault of the cabin itself, I had had a restless night of sleep—sounds of the jungle just didn’t put me at ease the way blaring ambulances flying down 2nd Avenue used to.
So, when I woke up to this, I was a little confused for a moment:
When I told Taupo that this was the first time we had slept with a mosquito net–and that I kind of liked it–she laughed.
“The little girls who come with their families to visit us always say the nets make them feel like a little princess.” (I was glad to know I wasn’t the only one.)
For breakfast, Taupo served us jam and homemade babakau—a sort of deep friend dough that isn’t too sweet, but is VERY filling.
After two I was already full, but Taupo insisted we had to finish our plate. “More food, more food, more food!” Sake could eat, like, eight in one sitting. There was no way this was happening, so she promised to set leftovers aside to have with our tea after we went for our walk.
Before leaving for the village, I asked Taupo if it was ok to take photos, or if that would be considered rude.
“Of course! Take many photos, that is why you are here!”
The photos I took on our tour were among my favorite from our trip to date, and unfortunately were lost when our hard drive committed suicide. It seriously bums me out, but luckily the hubs snapped a few on his iPhone. All photo credits for the below go to him!
Taupo first led us through the houses toward her sister’s homestay, where we could meet a few more locals. This was also where we picked up our new friend for the afternoon:
Meet Bo, which is short for “Obama Bo.”
He was the real tour guide of this operation, and though you can’t see his face in the only surviving photo, I think the ears show off at least a bit of his goofy personality.
As we walked, every single person we saw would yell out a joyful “Bula!” This is the Fijian word for hello, and a must know if you’re traveling to Fiji. Taupo stopped to chat after each “bula.” Sometimes she introduced us, but usually she just had casual conversation in a mix of Fijian and English. In between each conversation, she would explain to us that she had to stop and chat or else people would think she was rude. “It’s the Fijian way” was her explanation, and a phrase we heard many times as we met more and more locals.
Our next stop was the local school, where the year three students treated us to a few songs. They danced and sang, and were so excited to say hello and share their daily lessons with us.
The teacher then led us down the hall to say hello to other students—the school goes up to year six, I believe—before we stopped to meet the pre-schoolers. These kids were SERIOUS charmers. They all wanted to hold our hands, and after each photo we took, they came running over and wanted to see the results immediately.
Unlike the year three students, the little ones didn’t know English, so they just kept yelling “bula, bula!!” and jumping up and down while our hearts melted all over the place.
After our tour, we made our way back to Danny’s and sat with Taupo and John over more tea. Taupo asked us more questions about Obama—including where he was from and if he was an American citizen. Together, we mapped out Obama’s life on the world map featured in their kitchen, and showed Taupo where we had lived. She also asked where else we were going on our trip, and when we told her that Iceland would have 23 hours of daylight when we’re there in July, she laughed in awe, and thanked us for teaching her something new.
Before our trip, I wasn’t sure if I’d fully acclimate to the experience–especially since we were only staying for one night. But I can tell you this: if you’re considering a stay at Danny’s: do it.
I’ll be the first to admit–this was a huge stretch for us. “Rustic and remote” is probably an understatement, but our brief time with Sake, Taupo, and John opened our eyes to a completely new option for when we travel, and we’ll definitely consider homestays again in the future. More so, Taupo was an amazing host—she called herself our “Fijian Mommy,” and our days at Danny’s were, hands down, two of the best out of a very amazing week in Fiji.
Next up? A TTF van returns to take us back to Nadi for a night at the First Landing Resort.