Fiji is a wonderful place. We learned that the Fijians are a happy people. All of the time. A tour guide told me that they don’t need to work as the land can provide for them if they feel they can’t be bothered with anything other than a Fiji life. So why be upset?
That happiness transcends to the warm welcome we received at every turn. The taxi driver who met us at the airport bought Kelly a Diet Coke on the way to our first stay: Robinson Crusoe island an hour away from the airport.
As we drove listening to classic 80s songs like Living on a Prayer, I stared out at the beautiful landscape littered with differing trees, sugar cane fields and houses on legs. The driver received a call and was informed that our ferry was leaving in 10 minutes. We were 30 minutes away, and I didn’t care one jot. He cared though and began to overtake lorries and cars with more urgency than concern. Still we made it, and the ferry had waited, crammed full of Feegee Experience kids.
As we skittled down the river out to the island I imagined a Bond style boat chase was about to breakout around us on the waterways. Alas no.
We got to Robinson Crusoe to another warm welcome: the island staff had massed onto the beach with guitars and songs.
We all shouted “Bula” until hoarse, a necessary requirement to ensure we’d be getting dinner, we were told. Jokes aside the welcome was genuine, the Fijians considering each new visitor a potential friend for life.
Now the island. Imagine this: a small walkable land mass, where you can have a private beach, everyone is happy, the sun is hot, the water is warm and clear, food is included and good, beer is cheap, the guests all eat and converse together and you are living in a private hut. Sounds crap right? Thought as much.
So after adjusting ourselves to the manner of our environment for the next 3 days we hit the beach.
That evening we met our fellow guests and the staff around dinner, engaging in polite but interesting conversations with those stranded here too.
My next day was a strange one in paradise, strange because it was a depressing one. Nothing happened but it just felt wrong, I was a bit bored, most guests left and we were harshly ignored by the new ones who turned up. Kelly didn’t say much, a theme which had cropped up in an argument or two previously as well, I just didn’t know what to do with myself so I moped about.
The next day we found ourselves on a table with a newly married couple, and the bride said being married is about thinking about the other person. That sunk in over the day and made me realise what an idiot I’d been. Kelly was loving every moment in paradise, not because we were in paradise but because we were in paradise together. I was thinking we needed to do something, speak to someone or fill our day with activites. The truth was just being together is all that should matters.
That day Kelly found another couple who had just arrived, who we spent the day with. Fearne and Byron both working in the same place as my cousin Neil, but now taking 5 months off to travel together. 5 months that is, travelling together after only being together for 18 months, brave, but hey I just realised what spending time together should be so it made perfect sense.
So we saw the sunset on the beach with all the other house guests and day-visitor guests. Then watched the awesome display of Fijian culture and fire dancing. Blowing away our Hawaiian experience of luau type entertainment. The final curtain call saw those guests not departing that night standing and singing with all the Fijians and being told we’re family. A nice touch.
With the setting sun that drew our time to a close on Robinson Crusoe Island. Tanned, relaxed, changed slightly.
The final day was spent in a hostel by the airport where the highlight was me ordering squid thinking it was calamari. It was little baby octopus, tentacles and all. A slight mistake, but I made an attempt to eat them still. Yuck.
Back to the real world now as we finally make it halfway round the world to New Zealand.