We have completed the first stage of our trip having spent eight days at the Hideaway Resort (www.hideawayfiji.com) on Fiji's Coral Coast.
Things started badly with the bag with all Laura's clothes in being lost in transit between Los Angeles and Nadi. It turned up three days later having somehow managed to find it's way to Auckland. The locals blamed incorrect tagging by BA at Heathrow but we prefer to think it was an American cock up in LA. Anyway it all worked out OK in the end and Laura got a few extra clothes which the insurance company will be funding !
Hideaway turned out to far exceed our expectations. We had a large, comfortable room with a fantastic outdoor bathroom as well as an indoor one set in beautiful gardens. The people were really friendly, the food was pretty good and the facilities were comprehensive. The resort was quite small but set on a great beach with a reef a few hundred yards off shore.
The aim of the Fiji break was to relax and acclimatise to the different time zone (12 hours different than the UK) and to the much hotter weather. It's supposed to be the rainy season but we had none until a big thunderstorm on the last morning. And the temperature was really hot - in the mid 30s Centigrade even into the night.
As well as much lounging about and reading we also went on a couple of trips to see a bit more of the island. We visited a local village and took a guided walk to their waterfall for a swim. As part of the welcome we were introduced to the Fijian Kava ceremony where visitors are invited / forced to partake of a fairly revolting drink made from the ground up root of a local plant accompanied by much chanting and clapping.
We also hire a car for a day and brave the local road network (which is surprisingly good - although the standard of the vehicles is generally not) to look around - and take a second tour around the Nadi area visiting the site of the first Fijian settlement and an orchid garden founded by Perry Mason !