The first free weekend of university my international friends and I decided to go to Nadi (pronounced nandy). We were tired of the gloom and rain already and plus wanted the beach. So we made our way to Smuggler’s Cove an awesome resort/hostel. There they had a 34 bed dorm so all 13 or so of us could stay together.
My first time in a hostel went pretty well. We got a locker, linens, a hot shower, and bathroom. Also staying at the resort there was a beautiful beach, pool, free ocean kayak use, food/bar, and free breakfast. All for 15 Fijian which as around 8 US dollars! Pretty amazing. Of course if we had stayed to eat food and drink most food was 20 and cocktails 18. A rum and coke was only 6 though.
To get to the resort we caught a bus in suva for 15fj and it took about 4 hours. Once there we pretty much collapsed in our beds. The next morning after breakfast we claimed chairs on the beach and mostly just laid around. In the afternoon though I got to ride a horse on the beach.
Riding and horse handling in general are really different here. There aren’t fenced pastures. Rather horses are left free or tied with a long rope to a tree. The tack is pretty horrible as there are no tack stores and shipping is horrible. I’m also unsure if they feed horses grain. But they do really care about their horses and do their best.
Baba was the guy who owns the horses tourists can ride in Nadi. He was super duper nice. I asked for a fast horse and gave me a crazy Fijian race horse.
It’s a good thing I have a strong seat and know the one-rein stop. But it was really fun. He actually let me ride for 2 hours though I only paid for one.
The next day he also took one of my friends and I on a long trail ride through the mountains to the river to swim. It was absolutely amazing scenery. And just a ton of fun riding. Chris, one of my American friends here, went with me. Though he had never ridden before he also had a blast.
We got to talk to Baba and learn of his life. After the ride he fed us lunch of roti, rice, chicken curry (with the bones in as usual), and Dahl soup. One interesting thing is Fijians don’t really use utensils. Even the rice and curry they mix around and eat with their hands.
Baba was so nice. Offered me a bed in his house and free riding if I came back by myself and a sunset ride with a deal price if I came with a group. He also said if I had any problems in Suva to give him a call. “Money is nothing” he says.
He just wants to make people happy (and of course he wants to provide for his family as well). Kept asking is if we had fun. It really makes me appreciate how I live at home after seeing his and other rural Fijian homes.
I must also mention I had possibly the most amazing pizza of my life on the little hostel next to smugglers. It was Tandoori chicken pizza with cream cheese.
Gosh how I miss the dairy back home. The milk here comes in boxes on the shelf, cheese is quite expensive, and carrot cake doesn’t come with cream cheese frosting! But I digress. It was an amazing first weekend out of Suva at a resort!