So came November 5th 1992 a cool clear day in Edmonton, I went to the airport along with a friend or two and my parents as I started my first big trip. I remember my father walking with me, just the two of us, not saying allot and at the end of the walk just before going into security he gave me a letter to read on the plane.
I got on the plane found my seat, and will admit when I looked out the plane window after the door closed, for the briefest of moment’s I thought WTF am I doing. Going half-way around the world for 6 months not knowing a soul anywhere. I had a minor panic attack that lasted all of 10-15 seconds.
Now, seeing as it was 1992, my plane ticket was extremely important, back in those days, I literally had all my plane tickets with me for 7 months, tickets to NZ, to OZ, within OZ, to Cooke’s and home. If I were to lose this, it would be a major undertaking to get it replaced. I wish I had take a pic of if before I left, as would have been a cool before and after, but this an airline ticket after almost 7 months of travel.
I was flying from Edmonton to Nadi, Fiji, on a very hopscotch route, Edmonton – Vancouver – Honolulu – Nadi. It was not too bad a flight but made it tough for getting rest as we had to de-plane and board twice before landing in Nadi. By the time I arrived in Nadi it would November 7th as I had lost a day going across the international date line and had very little sleep. In 1992 I had no November 6th, it was a day that did not exist for me, I left Edmonton, November 5th and arrived in Fiji almost 14 hours later and it was November 7th.
So there I am in Nadi, enjoying the heat of Fiji, watching the luggage carousel go round and round, people took bags and went on there way. I was excited to get my bag and get started. Soon there were fewer people and still no backpack, not really important it only has everything I own for the next 6 months, no biggie.😟😨😣
Soon there were just one other fellow and me, and this is how I met Murray from Switzerland as we were the only two without luggage on the flight. We went to the lost luggage and I tried to explain where I was coming from, Edmonton, no response, Alberta, no response, Canada, oh yes the luggage official had heard of Canada and assured me my luggage would be here within a couple of days. Murray got about the same response.
I told Murray that I was staying at Seashell Cove Resort and he could come with me if he wanted to. I had no idea what the place was like, all I knew was I needed some sleep and would worry about my luggage later. As I was to find out on this trip, it was common for backpackers/hostels to have vans to take customers to their accommodations and sure enough there was a van waiting for me and had room for Murray.
The place still exists but has changed a great deal from the simple backpackers I stayed at.
I had booked I think, 2 nights at Seashell Cove knowing nothing about it, other than I think it was mentioned in Lonely Planet Fiji.(back then Lonely Planet guides were the best resource for backpackers) I figured I would be tired and wanted a place to crash when I first got to Fiji. I was very tired but not too tired to notice the lush vegetation on the way to the resort, someone commented on a coconut tree and soon we were screeching to a halt. Out hopped our driver and up the tree he scurried, a few whacks of a machete later and we were eating fresh coconut. The first of many coconuts I was to consume in the next couple of weeks.
We arrived at Seashell Cove and found my room would not be ready as we were there mid-morning. I thought that’s fine, as I had no luggage, I would just sit by the pool, relax a bit.
Well, as I sat in the deck chair watching the ocean and feeling the warm breeze, I undid my shirt as I was quite warm. My eyelids grew heavy and I thought, I will have a little nap, 10-15 minutes at the most. Well I was more exhausted then I counted on and I awoke hours later, feeling hot and looked down to see a nice red stripe down the middle of my chest from the first of many sunburns.
It appeared that my bed was ready and away I went to explore Seashell Cove and what $15 a night got me. I have to admit, I was very naive about backpackers and hostels at this point and so was not expecting much.
The place was lovely and clean and seemed to have fresh fruit everywhere, which was amazing. Don’t get me wrong there were some things I had to get use to like showering in cold sea water and not sure if you have ever showered in salt water but tough to build up a lather of any sorts. I remember to this day tracing out the pipe from our big drinking tank of water where we would fill our glasses and water bottles only to find it led outside to the rain barrel.
That’s right, showering in salt water and drinking rain water, not luxury accommodations but was clean and the staff were so friendly that I remember them to this day.
After getting settled, I watched the first of many sunsets from poolside, tomorrow would be another adventure and much more awaited, I was here in Fiji, settled in had a bed and had met my first traveler.