When Fijians promise a warm welcome for Harry and Meghan, they mean it

Credit: ITV News

I’ve been in Fiji for a couple of days ahead of Harry and Meghan – who touched down here a few hours ago.

It’s the second country on their four-nation tour of the South Pacific and one that is hugely different to Australia - where the couple have spent the first week.

The first thing you learn here is that Fiji likes to give its visitors a warm welcome.

“Bula!” is the first word you hear when you land – and a word you hear again and again.

We were treated to a warm welcome in Fiji. Credit: ITV News

It means “hello” or “welcome” and they don’t just say it – they mean it.

We experienced it at the airport in the town of Nadi when two chaps in bright clothes sang to us as we queued at passport control (somewhat different to Heathrow, I thought).

We also felt it in a small village nearby when we stopped to film some children playing rugby.

And we were given another Bula welcome today after we crossed the sea to film on an island – where they have a very special connection to Harry and Meghan.

This boat journey was not a relaxing experience. Credit: ITV News

We will tell you what that is when our documentary airs in a few weeks’ time.

Getting to the island was not a relaxing experience.

After crossing a rough stretch of sea in a small fibreglass boat with the waves crashing in on us and only a piece of green tarpaulin under which to take shelter, we arrived soaked and a little unsteady.

The food was welcome after the rough crossing. Credit: ITV News

But we couldn’t have been given a better welcome.

Lemon leaf tea, breadfruit, roti wraps and a drink called kava were waiting for us.

I say this with no hint of disrespect – but, on first sight, the kava looked rather unappetising – resembling used washing up water mixed with a scoop from a muddy stream after a storm!

But we discovered after drinking it that the kava is actually a mild narcotic made from the powdered root of a pepper plant.

But as the saying goes, when in Rome …

Harry was given a guard of honour upon arrival in Fiji Credit: AP

The Duke and Duchess have just touched down in the capital Suva and despite the rain, there are crowds lining their route from the airport.

Rain has been a bit of a feature of this tour so far: Harry and Meghan have had it in Sydney and Dubbo in Australia and now in Suva in Fiji.

But it won’t dampen spirits in this country.

As we have already experienced, “Bula” is not just a word.

And the people of Fiji have saved a very big Bula welcome for their royal visitors.