Okay so we’ve got a theme here for blog titles, if you have noticed it they’re song titles. Purely accidental. Anyway, I just had to hold back tears leaving a hotel!
Robinson Crusoe island isn’t just any hotel though. A very small island off the main coast of Fiji that is a hotel made up of a few beach huts, a pool, a bar and some decking. Three nights we stayed here starting on my birthday, completely cut off from the world and enjoying every minute of it. Only slight panics occurred when we were in need of a new shade spot on the beach and that we might not have brought enough reading material. I am truly on Fiji time thanks to the wonderful environment, reception and weather I guess. Very calm, not too hot and with the right amount of things going on with the odd day tripper or one nighter on a Fiji experience; someone new to chat to at meal times or stay up and have a drink with when you weren’t so tired from all the sun bathing. I think we’re beginning to say this every where we go but I definitely want to come back here.
So I’ll start from the beginning. We thought leaving Hawai’i was tough, not only as we got the day wrong of our flight because of the time zone and had to leave earlier than planned but also because it really felt like a honeymoon with beautiful beaches, weather and a relaxing atmosphere all round.
With a flight at 2.50am lasting 7 hours and a jump back 23hours in time as we went over the international time line we were more worried about sleeping and being awake for arrival in Fiji than thinking about what was to come next on our trip, especially as it would be my birthday when we landed. We were surprisingly awake and immediately aware of the lack of phone signal or cash for our newest country. But pleasantly welcomed at the airport with an arrivals card with my name on and then the heat hit us as we took off our jumpers and regretted wearing socks.
The pleasant taxi driver bought me a Diet Coke as we stopped off for petrol and informed us of our 45min drive to the ferry we needed to get to Robinson Crusoe Island, where we would be spending the next 3 days. But by the phone calls we heard being taken the race was on to get us to the 10am ferry as the next wouldn’t be for 2 hours. As we boarded the ferry and I realised it was 10.30, this was our first introduction to ‘Fiji time’, where no one worries about anything.
As the boat took us and a group of British girls on the Fiji experience along the river I honestly felt like we were embarking on a survival tv show and Bear Grills would greet us on the island. The island, which then appeared as beautiful as you can imagine. We were greeted by a group of staff singing and playing guitar to welcome us, which they did for every days arrivals, upon which we learnt our first Fijian word, Bula (hello).
As we docked and checked in we were lead to our island hut, a square, thatched roof building containing a king size bed. Which was adjacent to our showering quarters. After freshening up and acclimatising ourselves to our environment we headed to the public area in time for lunch. Meals were included in our accommodation and very good they were, breakfast consisted of fruit, bread to toast, beans and an alternation of a sweet side; pancakes, deep fried pastry and custard cake. Lunch was a great buffet which on the first day consisted of the closest thing I have ever tasted to my granny’s chips! And dinner twice consisted of roast meat, vegetables and gravy. We piled our plates high each time and wish we had the energy to go back for seconds even though we didn’t need it. Because as you spend time on RCI your energy levels deplete from all the relaxing and you become thankful that the only decision you have to get your brain to make is what cocktail to have next.
In comparison to Hawai’i the sea was calmer and there was very little wind, it was never too humid and luckily there were no mosquitos or bugs you might think to endeavour staying in a straw hut. We people watched each day, even though the number of overnight guests never exceeded around 10. Whatever I spotted someone else doing one day we decided to do the next, paddle boarding, canoeing, sleeping in a hammock. For dinner each night they set up one long table with a white table cloth for us all to sit together and chat. On Wednesday however we were told it was the night of the big party. After breakfast we set ourselves in our semi shaded part of the beach and set to read that book of the day, then noticing the staff getting together to perform the welcome song for that days arrival we saw the boat coming, looking very much fuller than before. Another guest told us they were expecting 60 people that day, which shocked us at first as we couldn’t ever imagine that many people on the island even though we’d been informed busy season was February and during school holidays plus companies use the island for Christmas parties, imagine that!
So the new arrivals disembarked and teetered around spying on everything they thought interesting enough to photograph, as these were the day trippers from the big hotel resorts on the mainland – Sheriton, Outlanders etc. We remained calm, half ignoring them and standing our ground as this was our island and I wasn’t giving up my hammock chair, not even for Andi!
Some of the new arrivals were to stay the night and this is where we met our new friends for the next 24hours, an English couple from Newbury, Byron and Fearne. After Andi attempted to climb a giant inflatable pyramid with them that was anchored off shore we spent the evening with them enjoying the entertainment that had brought all the day trippers to RCI. Fijian dancing and fire dancing entertained us after lunch, then more evening guests arrived and after dinner the big show took place. It looked like all the staff we’d seen over the past few days donned local costume, joined in the amazing dancing and then unleashed their fire dancing skills. Multi-talented to say the least, we were blown away by the whole evenings entertainment and welcomed by them as house guests to sing the goodbye song to the day trippers who left after the show. We then stayed up for a while enjoying local bottled rum and coke and partaking in a quick limbo game before retiring to our hut for the last time.