After my 2007 study abroad trip to Australia, I had the option of staying a week in Sydney, Fiji, Hawaii or LA before my final destination to Seattle. Naturally I chose Fiji as I had already been to Sydney and LA and had no intentions of seeing Hawaii. So with that I booked my flight from Brisbane to Nadi and then Nadi to LA.
The time I was there was during the military crisis that was happening in Suva on the eastern coast, and I was advised multiple times by the US Consulate to avoid Fiji at all costs. Judging by the news reports, the situation did not seem that critical so I pressed on.
Landing it Fiji was a different experience. The roads were unpaved, children walking around barefoot and some citizens wearing hardly any clothes at all. I stayed in a hostel just on the outskirts of Nadi and attempted to get myself situated living in a less fortunate country for the next week. I arranged a tour of Fiji to help pass the time as I began to want to head home more and more. Word of advice for travellers: time goes by a lot slower traveling to destinations ON your way back home, so I recommend not doing that.
It was definitely a culture difference as many of the locals thought I was Fijian and attempted to speak to me. Even worse, when I bought a standard Fijian shirt to blend in, haha. I ended up cutting my trip from 7 days to 4, as I was anxious to get back home and out of Fiji. While a great trip, I was a bit disappointed by the mainland as I heard nothing but touristy and good things about the islands, but attempted to stay away from there. I think if I was to do Fiji again, I would definitely take a traveling partner with me to ease the transgression into that particular culture but also to provide me at least some comfort and normality.
Hope you enjoy my blog on Fiji!