Fiji: It Really is About the People– Fiji Magic part 2


In the first few days of our two-week trip to Fiji, Smart Guy and I were truly blown away by the natural beauty of the place. Hard not to be; it’s stunning beyond stunning. Crystal clear waters in more shades of blue than I knew existed, and an underwater world like the best aquarium you’ve ever seen, color, color, color everywhere; what’s not to love? We were blown away, from the time we got off the plane!

But everywhere we went, we heard the same thing: it’s about the people of Fiji. You hear that a lot when you travel to other countries, and generally it’s true. But, we heard it differently in Fiji. People said it with such emotion. I’ll admit it; I was a bit skeptical. As one commenter, Renata, noted in my last post on Fiji (see comments section): these people are being paid to be nice to me; they have to be kind, funny, and helpful. But that’s selling the people of Fiji short; it’s a view that is based on a jaded western concept of service and obligation, that isn’t the same in Fiji. What Renata clearly doesn’t understand, is that the people of Fiji are different than we are; they are truly special. Their smiles light up a space, in an already bright and colorful world. They sing greetings of welcome and songs of farewell, in voices full of soul and heart. They sing from a pride in place and culture, and not just for a tip.

In fact tipping in Fiji is not expected– like many European countries, their service industry is not based on tips. While many places accept and appreciate tips, this is a newer change and still not widely expected. At both islands that we stayed on, Matangi Private Island Resort and Turtle Island Resort, tipping was part of a decision made at departure. Turtle Island is fully all-inclusive, with the exception of the spa, while Matangi included all food and many activities but did not include alcohol and spa activities. As with any all-inclusive, one of the enormous perks is that you are not constantly worrying about prices; that’s done up front– Fiji is an expensive place to travel to, but worth it!

Sireli was always there with as smile, a "bula," and a gorgeous pink flower.

Sireli was always there with as smile, a “bula,” and a gorgeous pink flower.

This was a unique travel choice for us, for many reasons– first and foremost is that we rarely stay at resorts, and virtually never choose all-inclusives. However, this time we opted for two weeks of truly disconnecting with all the thought that goes into many vacations, and reconnecting with each other, and we never looked back. We wondered if things would be a bit perfunctory, if an all-inclusive would make things robotic or impersonal– not the case at all, and again,– that’s because the Fijian people are truly remarkable.

Everywhere we went we were greeted warmly, warmly, with “Bula!” There was an ease in communication that was magic. If I’d preferred to be treated like a guest only, that would have been what I got, but I wanted to connect, and we did. Every night I was one of the last, or the last to leave the kava bowl. We gathered nightly in community, at Turtle Island, and sang songs– I let go of any insecurity about my voice and sang loud and proud, and I was rewarded with warmer smiles, and enthusiastic pats on the backs, or hugs– from people who can sing like songbirds. At Matangi I shared meaningful conversations about life and personal choices. Both places, we laughed as we talked about marriage and children, as I would here with my friends. We swam together; we spontaneously danced together on the beach, for a spectacular sunset; we laughed; we made pyramids on the beach; we sang… and we sang some more.

Renata is right to a point. Inequalities in life can create gulfs that cause us to treat each other inauthentically and keep us from connecting for real. However, a smile and a sincere heart are the ultimate game changers. I brought both to Fiji and was given the same in return.  I will long remember the spectacular blue waters that surround the nation of Fiji. I will remember the endless song, the sweet air and the wonderful smells and sounds. I will miss the incredible snorkeling– with countless fish and fantastic coral. I will miss Fiji for a long, long time; its many wonders will linger in my dreams and daily thoughts. But, it’s the people I will truly remember and miss most … until I return.

Thank you to Bidi, Litty, Kay, Bette, Winnie, Sireli, Marica, Cynthia, Flora, Noel, Christene, Simmy, Nemo, Soro, Rini, Ato (R2D2), Tommy, Losalini, Ben, Sam, Matt, Gerry, Lu, Kobi, Lai, Ana, Kata, Nai, Alison, Bill… and all of the wonderful people whose names I can’t spell or say properly, at both Matangi Private Island Resort, and Turtle Island Resort. All of you made our two weeks magical beyond magical. You hear it all of the time, but it’s true: YOU are the heart of Fiji. You are what makes it special. Don’t forget it! Vanaka vakalevu!

Listen to the beautiful sounds of the Turtle Island Choir and staff:

Read Part 1 of my Fiji adventure, here.

*     *     *

Make me smile; and HELP ME REACH MY GOAL:  I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 500 likes in 2014. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, it’s where I’m forced to be brief.  Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  © 2014  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.





About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
This entry was posted in Awareness, Beautiful places, Beauty, Blog, Blogging, Friendship, Honest observations on many things, Life, Music, Musings, My world, Natural beauty, Relationships, Snorkeling, Tales From the Motherland, Wonderful Things, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Fiji: It Really is About the People– Fiji Magic part 2

  1. Memories 🙂 I lived in Fiji for a while, a long while ago…beautiful people, it’s from the heart for sure. ni sa bula vinaka

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Carrie Rubin says:

    What an amazing trip that must have been. The water is so blue. I imagine it’s warm, too? We’ve only done one all-inclusive resort–Sandals at Turks and Caicos. It was a wonderfully relaxing week. I’d like to do it again someday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I should have said, Carrie, I do think all-inclusives are great when you have kids! That can really make or break it for me. Yes, the water was wonderfully warm– but cool, in the sun. I never wanted a wet suit and didn’t really get cold. It was spectacular! Trust me, none of our photos really do the colors justice.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. La La says:

    Wow, this is all so beautiful and fun! Love the pictures. I’m so happy I got to see this before bed!


  4. Mike Lince says:

    I admit it. I know nothing about Fiji. However, after reading your posts, I know I would be a hero in my wife’s eyes if I took her to Fiji. Your stories of the people, the beautiful beaches and tropical waters prove it over and over. I love the photos and the music, too. – Mike

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fabulous! And the best part– you reconnected with each other and aren’t looking back. Bravo! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sounds like it was a bit of heaven. Reminds me of the people I met in Thailand. So very warm and welcoming. Welcome back to the Pac Northwest!


  7. hbksloss says:

    Your ability to connect with other people is admirable. It does in your photos and shows up in your writing. There are places we go to on the planet that we carry with us, I have had the luck and good fortune to go to many of these places in person. (I have been writing about our 5 months in Australia on my blog to help share the beauty and to answer the question I keep getting, “If I have a limited time down I under, where do you recommend I go?”) Thank you for your two posts about Fiji, I feel I traveled there in my mind–and I was on one island for 24 hours last March. Your posts and my small taste of the place has whet my appetite for me.


    • Heidi, I’ve been so bad about keeping up with other blogs lately; I feel terrible! On the other hand, I have really enjoyed your Australia posts and have shared them with my son, who is living in Melbourne right now. He’s found some of your advice very interesting and/or helpful. I’ll have to be better about leaving comments as well, so you know how much I’m enjoying the work that you do. Thanks for taking the time to leave your feedback; it’s always appreciated.

      Sent from Dawn’s iPhone



      • hbksloss says:

        Thank you Dawn for letting me know that you are reading and sharing my pieces–makes my heart sing! I learned long ago that if I want people to read and leave comments on my blog I better make sure that I am doing the same on theirs! And since your’s is a pleasure to read I am happy to continue to read and comment. Looking forward to reading your comments on mine when it works for you to do so.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I agree, Heidi. I was really on top of that process, and exchange, for a long time, but over this past many months of so much travel and personal stuff happening, I just dropped the ball and have had a terrible time catching up! I do apologize for not being better about that… I’ve written a lot about this (keeping up with blogs, on-line connections, etc); it’s something that I’ve struggled to balance. Thanks for the feedback. 🙂


  8. Thanks for the deep, relaxing, vicarious thrill!


  9. Dawn, That was great. That’s probably the closest I’ll get to Fiji, but your photos and music/film clip brought it closer. The people do seem to be truly warm and friendly. Thanks for the virtual trip. 🙂 — Susan


  10. Olga Chapman says:

    Hi Dawn, this is Olga. Having read your blog, it was like being on Turtle Island again. I couldn’t have written it better. Everything you said was just spot on. They are just the most wonderful genuine people I have ever met and Turtle Island is unique in every way. It is picturesque, tranquil, unspoiled and its the Fijian people who make the difference. Keep writing, you obviously have a God given talent, not only for writing, but talking (ha ha). Loved meeting you and Barry. Cheers from Down Under.


    • Olga, what a wonderful surprise to find your comment here! I really appreciate you taking the time to read my post, and share your thoughts. 🙂 It would not have been the same without you, Bob, and some of the other wonderful people we met in Fiji! We were not thrilled with Turtle Island, but the people were truly phenomenal! Fiji, itself, was truly a glorious adventure!

      I really appreciate your kind comments about my writing (and talking)… clearly we are evenly matched! What a great time I had with you. 😀 I hope you’ll check out some other posts, and let me know what you think. Thanks for helping make Fiji such a wonderful experience! Bula!


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