Tag Archives: Auckland

Bula, Vinaka

June 14, 2016

Although our time in Auckland was short and we are sad to leave this beautiful country, we are excited to be headed to Fiji. As we had a few hours before our flight to Fiji, we decided to do some last minute exploring of Auckland. We headed over to grab some breakfast at Waffle Supreme which we read about in a pamphlet given to us at the airport. Expecting to find a sit down restaurant, you can imagine our surprise as google maps leads us to this small red food truck. If not for the small yellow writing on the right side, we may have missed this “restaurant.” As we get closer to the stall, we see several waffle machines and interesting waffle recipes. We decide to try one called citron which is a waffle filled with lemon creme topped with poppy seeds. Needless to say this was probably the best waffle we’ve ever had. Next, we headed over to Queen street which seems like Auckland’s version of Chicago’s magnificent mile with several popular department stores and shops. As we are still hungry from our waffle, we head over to this Parisian looking shop for some crepes. The savory vegetarian crepe we choose is delicious and definitely hits the spot.

We quickly make our way over to the sofitel to grab our bags and get on our SuperShuttle to take us to the airport. We arrive at the hotel about 2-3 hours before our flight which is unusual for Sanchit and we peruse the duty free shops for some souvenirs and talk to Tanvi who is only a 3 hour flight from us in Australia. After a quick 2.5 hour flight, we land in Fiji and feel the heat that we were missing in Auckland. We immediately notice how many Indians are working at the airport and hear different versions of Hindi being spoken. Indo-Fijians are Fijian citizens who trace their heritage from various parts of the Indian subcontinent. They were brought to the Fiji islands by Fiji’s British colonial rulers in the late 1800s and early 1900s to work on sugar cane plantations as indentured laborers.

We quickly make it through immigration and customs and grab a cab. On the way, the cabbie, Chetty, tells us a bit about Fiji and that about 40% of the population is of Indian origin. They all speak Fijian Hindi which appears to be (in our opinion) similar to Hindi from the Uttar Pradesh region of present-day India. They have adapted to the Fijian way of life but maintained their distinct culture, language, culinary habits, and physical appearance surprisingly. Apparently Bollywood is very well known in Fiji and Sanchit even shares his love for Katrina Kaif with the driver. We drive through Nadi (pronounced Nandi in Fijian) and are soon reminded of rural India. At first glance we see Indians and Africans seemingly commingling however we later learn they are actually very segregated. As we approach the Denarau (pronounced Den-a-rao) Island, we can see a significant change in that now we see golf courses and nice resorts. The Denarau Island is home to seven 5-star resorts(Hilton, Sofitel, Westin, Sheraton, Sheraton Villas, Radisson Blu, and Wyndham), Denarau Port, Denarau Golf-course, and private residences (owned by rich oversees investors).

We finally make it to the Westin and are greeted by several staff with a big Fiji Bula Welcome. As we check in, I make sure to mention we are on our Honeymoon and Sanchit’s membership status with the hotel chain on top of that guaranteed an upgrade to the Honeymoon suite which they only have 7 of. We get to our room and are introduced to our private porch with private pool. The hotel even provided us with Champagne. We can already tell, Fiji is going to be amazing.

 

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And finally time for the much awaited vacation

June 10th, 2016

The day we had been anxiously waiting for some time finally arrived. As expected, we were scrambling until the last minute to pack and get on our way to the Los Angeles airport. We finally managed to leave and reached the airport well in advance (very unusual for Sanchit). We started things out in the right manner with some wine tasting at the airport before boarding for our 11 year flight to Nadi (pronounced Nandi), Fiji. 

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Wine tasting at the Los Angeles airport prior to boarding

As we make our way over to the gate, we are immediately greeted in true Fijian fashion with smiling faces and a greeting of Bula, which we later learn means welcome. The flight hostesses are dressed in colorful dresses, the seats have pretty coral pillows and blankets and we already feel like we are in Fiji. We get to our seats and take an obligatory selfie on the plane and that marks the start of our long awaited vacation.

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Flight Path –> Los Angeles to Nadi, Fiji

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She calls it honeymoon but I insist its just vacation

The idea of a post wedding vacation aka “Honeymoon” has been in existence for generations. Boy and girl (who most likely have not even been on a date in case of us Indians) get married, hop on a plane the next day, and surprisingly experience one of the best trips of their lifetime. We….umm decided to change things a bit. Though having known each other for years, we figured spending time together for 6 months post wedding would be ideal to make sure we don’t kill each other on the “Honeymoon”. Just Kidding!!

2 weeks of wedding celebrations in India and we were well short of vacation. We therefore decided to wait few months to accumulate vacation and travel in June instead. The next big challenge….deciding where to go!! With only 1 week of vacation, the decision became more challenging. There is the Caribbean, Tahiti, Greece, Japan, Fiji, Morocco, and the list goes on…With our recent move to California, it only made sense to go out west rather than east. Thanks to the travel channel, we narrowed the list down to Tahiti and Fiji, and finally decided on Fiji. With New Zealand only a mere 3 hour flight from Fiji, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to make a pit stop in the beautiful city of Auckland. 

The trip will begin with an overnight flight to Auckland on June 10th, 2016 with a connection in Fiji. We will spend 3 days/2 nights in Auckland and will head back to Fiji for 6 days/5 nights before heading back home to Los Angeles.

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