Resorting to resort tactics

Trip Start Aug 28, 2009
Trip End Feb 25, 2011

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Where I stayed
Volivoli Beach Rakiraki
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Fiji  , Western,
Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fiji time seeps into my bones now. It is slower than normal time. Relaxation is in the air, sea, forests and villages of this country. Indeed Fijians laugh wholeheartedly (and often hysterically) when they see white people running, because the mentality is "Why run for anything?". !! 

DAY 8:

When on Fiji it is hard to leave this resort. I had originally planned to stay only a week. Now I have added a day, and spent a few hours doing some Fiji research. I think I will get a rental car for a week and do the whole mainland, starting tomorrow. I also want to visit at least one of the popular islands to the northwest - they are very touristy, but beautiful. But very expensive to get to and stay at. Hmm...decisions decisions. I pondered all this as I watched an English couple arrive at the resort, in the middle of a heavy downpour. Apparently they had come here from Australia to escape the rain...

DAY 9:

In the shower I did some calculation, and realised that it would be just too expensive to get a rental car. Plus, if I came across an awesome place that I wanted to stay at for days, I couldn't because I would have the car and would need to use it. So f*ck it - I will travel by local bus. My laundry was ready so I was ready. Not. The beautiful weather relaxed me, and I decided to stay just one more night!! Dammit, Fiji really sucks me in!! I needed a plan to get my arse moving again - I had descended into a comfort zone that I must leave as soon as possible. So tomorrow then!

Today I chatted some more to the English couple, Dan and Laura. Good, down to earth people. It was good to hear their strong London accents, with words like wowk (walk). We got on well and I successfuly fulfilled my role as gooseberry of the year. I asked Michelle (the owner) about a nice beach place north of our location and she suggested Voli Voli Beach Resort, a short taxi ride from a town called Raki Raki. I passed this information on to my English friends and they agreed to come with me tomorrow. That wasn't really the plan, just the way it fell into place.

DAY 10:

Finally I got my arse moving. I intend to do a loop around Viti Levu, Fiji's main island. First, a bus ride to Latoka. I got a stupidly cheap, stupidly nice Indian meal here. Then another 2 hour bus ride to Raki Raki. Here we got rained on and bought 500g of kava powder, four mangos and a pineapple from the local market, all stupidly cheap. Then we got in a taxi for a 20 minute taxi ride to Voli Voli. The driver was a really nice guy, telling us about the town and himself, and charging a very low fee for taking us over a lot of ground only really suited to tanks. I know, not all taxi drivers are c*nts. But the closer you get to an airport, the c*ntier they seem to be. 

It had rained hard several times during the day, and the sky was overcast when we arrived at Voli Voli, so my English sun-seeking companions were not overly happy. It looked like a nice place but it is hard to judge any beach resort well when the sun isn't out. The beach was tiny, as if somebody had shovelled some sand here to justify calling it a beach resort. It did have a nice pool though, so we all had a dip and a beer in the pool, sitting on the pool bar seats.

Like Stoney Creek Resort, it was very quiet here. Very quiet. Maybe six guests in total. When I first arrived in Fiji I welcomed the quiet, but now I would really like to meet people. Share stories, share experiences. It is becoming apparent that hardly anybody comes to Fiji in the rainy season! At night our little trio discussed our hopes that the weather (and numbers of people) would improve. I am beginning to suffer from cabin fever here. Times like this, in such overwhelming silence, I really do miss my friends and family. I am even thinking of getting into this sunbathing lark, just to pass some (Fiji) time. If the sun comes out tomorrow, that is.

Still, I was glad to have some companions, and in the late afternoon I sat with them, drank beers and talked movies. At sundown a mass of strange little flies decided that their hobby of choice was to fly into our beers and die, so an annoying amount of time was spent picking and scooping sprinklings of dead fly out of our beer. Sandflies? I have been told about sandflies, and that they are even more annoying than mozzies (surely not, there isn't much in the world more annoying than mozzies). I have also been told that you cannot see sandflies, which might rule these buggers out. Flying into beer to die was annoying enough though

DAY 11:

It rained all morning, so most of us opened an eye, saw what our ears suspected, and went back to sleep. I slept in fits and starts until 11:00am, and then the sun came out. Hmm...could the weather get better? It did, and we spent the day lounging by the pool, beach and pool again. I even managed to lie still for a while and work on something approaching the beginning of a hint of a suntan. I munched mango, and after relaxing by the pool on my own I walked over to where Laura and Dan were relaxing on the beach. Dan was nowhere to be seen, so I stood next to Laura (who had headphones on) and surveyed the area. Then I realised she had her tits out. An embarassing moment, especially as I had just arrived with my camera out and stood there for a moment. Oops.

Later, while I was deciding what to eat, Dan called me outside and said “There's a beer for ya if you want it.”. Nice. So I went down and sat at the outside bar, wondering where Dan was, and started drinking my beer. A few moments later, an Austrian man turned up and looked around. Then he said “Are you drinking my beer?”. Oops, the beer Dan bought me was sitting over by the pool. I had just sat down and tucked into some random guys beer. He was not happy at all, and my apologies fell on deaf ears. "F*ck me Jamie, you want more people here, and when some turn up you insult them!!", joked Dan.

A few more people arrived, and the place then began to have the early signs of a bit of an atmosphere. The young people were all in their little impenetrable group, but still, it was nice to have more people around. I want to relax on this Fiji leg of my trip, but I wouldn't mind a bit of partying and meeting people too. At the moment I continue to be world no.1 gooseberry to Dan and Laura, my new kissing English friends. With nobody to court, my sense of humour does roam more freely - a small bonus of being a gooseberry. Hmm why do I feel the need to limit my sense of humour anyway? Perhaps that is my mistake when courting!

Anyway kayaking and snorkelling are free here, so tomorrow I will get into a bit of that. Unless it rains of course.

DAY 12:

Pretty gorgeous day. After a fried breakfast we headed down to the beach. Dan and Laura had a dive booked, but as I had dived recently I decided instead to go Kayaking. My plan to paddle to a nearby island fell apart when I realised that it wasn't that nearby, it was just bigger and further away than it looked. Also, I was against the tide, and was crapping myself a little when I realised that I was in the middle of the ocean! So I bottled it.

I paddled back along the coast and sat on the beach in the boat for a while doing nothing at all. Then I plucked up the courage to have another go at snorkelling. The sea was calm, and the snorkel was better than the one I used on the barrier reef, so receiving air every time I wanted it made me feel much more comfortable. There were quite a few little shoals of fish, fish living in holes, zebra striped fish, a blue and black gorgeous fish, and blue starfish. Gaining in confidence, I swam out further and further, until I could no longer see the bottom. I felt good about that, but then realised I may aswell see the bottom, since water is not very interesting to stare at.

Suddenly, something brushed against my shoulder. I turned to see an octopus tentacle touching me. Air bubbles left my shorts, and in a moment of panic I thrashed about and accidentally punched Dan in the side of the head. All he was doing was trying to show me a starfish he had picked up, and the tentacle was one of its arms! In my own little seaworld, I didn't see him coming.

Back to the room to chill for a bit, then Dan and Laura wanted to try kava (possibly thanks to my encouragement), so tonight we set up a session. The people at the bar were very impressed with our desire to drink kava, and were more than happy to provide us with a genuine wooden kava bowl, a drinking bowl, and a kava mixing cloth. I sliced up the four mangos and put them on a plate, poured powder in the cloth and began mixing. Then we received a barrage of information from various Fijians, most of it contradictory, like "that is strong enough" VS "that is too weak - if you make it too weak you will have a bad stomach". I made it strong just to make sure. You know it is strong when you pour the mixing/drinking bowl into the main bowl after swilling the mix, and you can't see through the liquid.

Possibly because of the exaggerated fear that comes with rumour, Dan was expecting to taste Devil turd mixed with moudly rat fart, and as a result it "Didn't taste that bad actually." However, after about 7 drinks, it does start to taste progressively worse, until your head begins to shake involuntarily to deal with the latest blast of it! I find I struggle to get past 12 drinks. We emptied two basins of kava and decided we could do no more. I asked one of the locals how many drinks a heavy kava drinker could do, and he said between 50 and 80 bowls/drinks. EIGHTY BOWLS? Man, that's heavy. Perhaps 12 bowls isn't really 'drinking kava' then? Still, one woman said “I have never seen tourists drink kava together.” Trendsetters!

We felt...a little funny as we went to bed. Eighty bowls...jesus.

A Small Piece of Fijian History

For such an unbelievably chilled and friendly country, it is surprising to find that once upon a time Fijians would eat each other. More specifically: Fijian chiefs would eat people.

During the 19th century, Ratu Udre Udre munched his way through around 900 people. According to his son, the chief would eat every single part of his victims, and preserved what he couldn't eat in one sitting for the next. He is in the Guinness book of records for "most prolific cannibal". I wonder if there was an age limit on people being eaten, like "Not to be given children under 5 years"?

Ahem, anyway, in 1867, around the time when Christian missionaries were visiting villages and converting Fijians, Reverend Thomas Baker visited Nabutautau village. The story goes that he lent the chief a comb, and when he tried to retrieve it he touched the chiefs head, a crime punishable by death. So the chief had him killed, cooked in an earthly oven, and eaten. He even tried to eat his shoes, but found them too tough!! These chewed shoes now reside in a Fijian museum.

It was only when Christianity came to Fiji that the warring between tribes and the cannibalism stopped. So in this case, it would appear, religion has caused peace. Food for thought.
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