Christmas on an island

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

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Where I stayed
Beachcomber Island Resort
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Fiji  , Mamanuca Islands,
Monday, December 27, 2010

Man I miss my family when christmas comes. I miss my mates back home. I miss the laughs we all have. I am hardly ever lonely when travelling alone, but christmas brings it home that...err...I am not at home. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, so like a starving man to a meal, the longer I leave it, the...err...better that home shall taste? 

DAY 22:

Spent the whole day writing a batch of entries depicting my 'around the island' experience. I had planned to walk up the nearby mountain, but...naaah! I ate food, did poo and stuff and then watched Leon at night with Dan and Laura. Dan has never seen it before. Dan has never seen most movies before. I told him that he should get in more.

DAY 23:

Last day with Dan and Laura. It was a sad day - I had a lot of fun travelling with them, and some great comedy moments were shared. So many, that not even 5% of them made it into this blog. Much of humour is difficult to remember, and if I were to sit there and write what was said, I would lose the flow and the magic would go! I shall miss them. Sigh, back to just muggins once again. In the day they went to the nearby (ish) mudbaths, but I spent much of the day writing yet more bloggage material, and I think I wanted to simulate them being gone before they were actually gone, for reasons which escape me completely.

Brendan's last day working at the hostel (for the next 9 days). Brendan is the guy I drank my first kava session with. And guess what? He joked that we should drink it later. He wasn't expecting me to say "Yeah, f*ck it - I'm up for that.", and he really wasn't expecting me to produce a bag holding considerable quantities of the stuff! He was like "Oh man, I was hoping you would say 'No thanks' !!"

Determined to really feel the kava buzz and go with a kava bang, I let my intentions be known: "We should polish this whole bag tonight". Brendan puffed, shook his head and laughed. Three basins full of stronger kava this time was the plan.

I could tell from the taste that the first basin was definitely stronger than before. Oh man, that wretched taste. But it's no different to cigarettes, or excess alcohol really. We ain't doing it for the taste, we're doing it for the buzz.

After the first basin was done, my mouth was numb. Once again, conversation flowed seamlessly, even when there were huge seams in the subject of conversation. There's no compunction about starting a random subject, if there is a new point to be shared. That's a cool thing about kava, I think. You have a point, you talk.

After basin 2 was finished, the seams in the unrelated topics of conversation grew ever the wider, and it mattered even less. Already I felt more mashed than after basin 2 the first time. Phew! I was saying 'phew' actually. That was some of my conversation.

But the taste continues to get worse. Like when you drink or smoke too much. The only reason I hadn't thrown up in Brendan's face from the taste of it already was because I had steeled myself to take three basins tonight, no matter what.

Time slows. Or does it speed up? I'm not totally sure. It...goes...funny.

By the time the second basin was done, I was already retching from the taste, putting a whisky shot face on. Brendan was doing the same, which gave me hope!! Occasionally we would rise up and walk around the table a bit, presumably to remind our bodies that our knee-joints still operated.

Basin three. I didn't think about what I was doing anymore, and just kept trying to talk. And as we went through that last basin, it became harder to talk. That's the heavy kava effect. The conversation slows, then stops, as your mind becomes dosile drool. Now I was properly drunk on kava.

I had to drink my drinks from the last basin slowly, still holding the bowl and doing it all in one, respectful shot, but slowly. The second to last drink made me retch, and I managed to hold it in and swallow it. Now my head was truly shuddering at the taste, my eyes a squint. Yeeesh, that taste. So strong and nettly and detergent-ish. The last drink was a force to be reckoned with. Then it was done.

Getting up and walking was now a strange experience. It's like being drunk, but not. When you're drunk, your head is swaying and your legs are swaying with it. When you're drunk on kava, your head seems fine (but very dosy, stoned perhaps), your balance seems perfect, and your head tells your body to walk in a straight line and your legs go “Well I'm gonna sort of go that way if you like” and end up deciding on a different path. It's like your head and body are not in total agreement anymore.

Time to eat something and have a couple of alcoholic washdowns. The food had no taste, and not much texture anymore, as if I had local anaesthetic in my whole mouth. My stomach had a vague interest in eating, but my taste buds had gone home for the night. It was like eating flavourless rice.

Brendan was f*cked, and he drinks it all the time. Seeing Brendan f*cked made me think that I must be more f*cked than I thought I was, but....haze....

DAY 24:

Recovery day! Up for breakfast, and I didn't feel that bad at all actually. Spaced out, but not bad. Brendan slept until about 12:30pm!

Feeling a little distant, I went into Nadi town to buy some alcohol for christmas, and spent a fortune on a set of new batteries for my pinsentry card reader (thing used to access internet banking) only to find that the reader itself is f*cked, not the batteries. Now I am temporarily blind to the contents of my source bank account. From here on, I've got to account for my accounting myself. Anyway, I'm spaced out so f*ck off and leave me alone.

DAY 25:

Ok. It has been too damn long since I actually went to a dedicated party of any kind. Yes, it's true that when I go out on my travels I have to dress like Ray Mears (or go hiking in a suit), and it's true that I have held back from going out to save money like a beast, but now christmas is coming, and having been in too many quiet places in Fiji, I really wanted to surround myself with good old, young partygoers of a like mind, get smashed, and possibly get some action from a girl. Even a kiss would be nice. So I had booked a two-night stay on Beachcomber island, the famous Fiji party island. I was hoping that I would actually get the booking on the island, as I had heard that it gets very busy at christmas (from other people who had been there, not from touts) and if the island is full, the boat transfers you to another island. Anyway, today I left Stoney Creek and boarded my bus to the boat to the island. About 40 minutes later we arrived and disembarked.

For f*ck's sake. Dead as a doornail. The huge lunch seating area had one man sitting there watching television. There were maybe 25 other guests on the island, and some of them were families, most of them were men, and only two of them looked like single girls. They were gorgeous. They were also leaving the island.

For f*cks sake. Where the f*ck is everybody? Where the f*ck are all the women in the world? Why are there always so many men, and so few women about? Is there some plague that has killed off only women? Are there huge unknown numbers of prolific, male serial killers? Or are there many very successful male shut-ins with seventeen girlfriends a piece? Seriously, what the f*ck is going on? These were the thoughts rampaging through my mind.

Well I'm here now, I may aswell try and enjoy it, I thought. I took my bags to bed 50 in the world's biggest dorm – 100 beds seperated by four very acoustically transparent walls in a very acoustically open building. If this place was busy, nobody would be getting any sleep was my next thought. Then another positive one: Any place is only one gorgeous, compatible girl away from paradise. Yeah, I liked that one.

Spitefully happy against my misfortune, I wandered into the bar and ordered....a chocolate milkshake. Tired, I went to bed for a while. When I woke up I had missed lunch. OOPS. Then I chatted to a very well travelled Irishman for a while. Then an American chap (complete with backwards cap) showed up, and we became a trio. We fixed the pool cue and had a few games on Fijis fourth successively wonky pool table. A Scotsman and his German girlfriend joined us. And then we were five.

Happy hour arrived, and we started getting the jugs of beer in. I particularly like one called Vonu – a slightly fruity beer. Best beer in Fiji. The lack of anything else to do as the sun went down made us drink a little faster. The conversation and the beer flowed as one, and the bar even began to look like it had enough people to gain the wink of an atmosphere, if just for a short while.

It was christmas eve, so carol singers from the (local?) church put a display on for us all. Nice little occasion. We became more drunk and had more laughs, the night rolled on, beer rolled off the table, and dinner rolled down our throats. A group of three girls came and sat with us, claiming that we were even more unsociable than they. I guess their actions proved that fact. Well, we were being sociable, but only with each other. The American chap had left to chase other girls – fair play to him for making the effort. I saw nobody that caught my eye (out of the five in the room), so I saw no reason to chase. One of the three girls started talking to me, but she wasn't really talking to me. She was so drunk that she didn't realise that her voice was about 7 million decibels quieter than the ambience, making it impossible to hear her. And she was truly off in her own world. I nodded and agreed with whatever she was drivelling on about. Her friends asked me a few questions, and judged me heavily on my answers, like the kind of music I liked. After I had apparently gone down in the estimations of one easily annoyed girl, I had decided that these three were bloody idiots, and my chat-up line sprung forth “You're narrow minded fools”...which understandably sparked three outbursts of indecipherable, angry drivel. I did discern what one girl said, which was “I'm narrow-minded? You're wearing a cap!” I rest my case.

After that I was insanely bored with these primitive b*tches. So insanely bored, in fact, that I bought my last drink alone, sat on the beach alone, and talked to myself. I cannot remember what I said because I was quite drunk. And that was that.

DAY 26:

Merry christmas! No hangover today, a christmas bonus perhaps? Breakfast was ok actually, with an omelette each and cereal and all that toasty gumph. Like last christmas I was missing my friends and family like a hole in my head though, so I got wolfed in to some good conversation with my new Irish and Scottish friends (after explaining why I disappeared last night without even saying goodbye). Some new figure walked past and got breakfast. She turned to reveal a beautiful Indian face. Where the hell did she come from?

Then I remembered that at least two boats per day hit the island and dump/collect new people. This girl must have been from the early boat. After brekkie me and my new friends sat with another group of guys at the bar. Everybody ordered a beer, but I wasn't ready for drinking yet – I had a dry throat, and hiding under my bed was 750mls of rum, and two bottles of wine. I wanted to hit them all in one go later, so they would hit me harder. So I ordered a bottle of mineral water, much to the jovial contempt of my benchmates!

The Indian girl came over and introduced herself. Dangerously pretty. I wanted to look at her a lot, so I wanted to not look at her to hide the fact that I wanted to look at her a lot, but was aware that not looking at her too consciously would probably reveal that I did want to look at her. Read it again.

Most of the boys were on her like a rash, and I could almost smell their desire. The ones that were not were taking almost any chance to look at her body. The American was particularly determined, and made every effort to ensnare her in constant conversation. A Norwegian guy to my left just wanted to f*ck up his game for the fun of it, and chucked cock-blocks over like you might chuck peanuts at a friend you wanted to annoy. I found the whole thing very humourous indeed.

The Indian girl began sneaking looks over at me, and when her eyes swept over our crowd as she spoke, they seemed to hang on me that little bit longer. Or maybe I just wanted them to. No, they definitely looked longer at me. My heart fluttered for a moment as I thought Surely this gorgeous girl wouldn't pick me over all of them? But that glimmer of hope that springs eternal began. I was the only one drinking mineral water. I was possibly the only one not trying to get her talking to me. Was it to do with this perhaps?

The conversation continued and I kept getting those looks, and every time I felt like a million dollars. Women can certainly read us men much better than we can read them, that is undoubtable. But I can read women better than women think I can. And for that I have other men to thank!

Anyway, she hung around until lunch, and then American gave her his email address and followed her to the lunch queue. I couldn't tell whether or not she was interested in him, but it seemed more like she was politely listening to him. We all got food, sat on a bench together, and fate nudged me along the seat until I was almost opposite her. American continued to talk for America, and her eyes glanced to me once in a while. Then they looked at me, and rolled in boredom of the American's bombination. I beamed, and had to suppress laughter.

She saw an opening and squeezed through it, and into a conversation with me about where I am going next and what I hope to see in my next destination. As she was from there I asked if she could give me some tips on where to go, travelling North to South. She wrote some stuff down for me. While doing this, she missed the boat for her snorkelling trip. I felt bad about that, apologised, and asked if I could make it up to her somehow (eeek – some cheese perhaps?).

She asked if I could take her snorkelling because she was leaving on a boat today (she was only over on a day trip, dammit). I agreed a little too quickly for my liking. She asked the others if they wanted to come, but they all said no as if giving up right there. While dropping off my camera in my dorm beforehand, I had images of kissing her in the sea WHOA HEAD WHERE ARE YOU GOING WITH THIS?? CALM THE F*CK DOWN WILL YOU?

I did calm down, and she explained that she didn't like the way some of those guys looked at her and that she's never been snorkelling before and I said I would stay close and keep an eye on her and we won't go far and Man you have a perfect excuse to look at her body underwater QUIET, PENIS, I'M TRYING TO CONCENTRATE ON STAYING CALM! I HAVE ENOUGH ON MY PLATE WITH KEEPING HEAD COOL FOR F*CKS SAKE!...

We got in the water and she was uncomfortable with the mask and the seawater going in her mouth for a while, then soon enough she was happy to go for longer and longer swims. The sea here was crap for snorkelling though - murky, not much coral, and hardly any fish at all. But it didn't matter, I was having fun looking at boobs SHUT...UP swimming in the sea and teaching her bits and bobs to make her feel more comfortable.

Then we sat half in the sea and chatted for a while. Nice, calm, friendly chat about our lives. Then I heard those dreaded words that can draw blood from a mans heart: “My boyfriend...”. Bummer. Then it hit me. She probably chose me because she was more comfortable with me. It wasn't about fancying me, it was about having a guy to chat to. A friend. He's the guy drinking mineral water while the others are drinking beer.

Or maybe not. Maybe there was a hint of fancy there. Maybe even a lot. She did do a double take when she first saw me. But then...

...women are far better at reading men than men are at reading women. She probably knew how plain old me would react before she even played the first hand, if she was playing at all AAAAH that's the game! That's the game right there!

And yes, I am too analytical!

Well after that snorkelling session we bade our farewells and I left her my email address so she could add me on Facebook. I was happy that I met her, whatever the game, and she was going that afternoon anyway, so it wasn't a massive hit to find out she had a boyfriend. What was gonna happen if she said she was single anyway? We would jump each others bones right there in the sea, screaming passionately and throwing up sea foam in front of shocked little children before she rushed off on a boat? No, exactly.

So I put all that out of my mind and just talked. She suggested that we could perhaps meet up in New Zealand, and I assumed that it would always only ever be a friendly meeting with her. When you are me, that's the best way to go anyway! The rest of the day I felt good. I had spent the afternoon with a gorgeous girl who picked me over a crop of blokes. Who cares about the finer details of what was going on and why and who wanted what and...? I was happy. It made my day. I don't think the American was too happy with me though!

At night I was determined to finish off my rum (that I hadn't started yet) and hopefully the two bottles of wine – with an airport visit in 3 days I wanted to be empty-handed, and ready for duty-free. I enlisted the help of my Norwegian room-mate and a Turkish fella I had recently spoken to. And a Brazilian. And the Irishman. F*ck it, I asked everybody I saw if they wanted some rum in the dorm before bar time.

We had a good crack at the bottle and laughed our tits off at some good old crude man humour. Two sexy (but dim, but that's just what you need on a night like tonight go-on man do em do em FAKIN DO EM) petite girls had been hanging in the bar, and one of them came into our dorm and asked why all the men were sitting in there. “My friend is single and sexy and she wants to see some men”. A big, dumb lump of a man turned up and lifted her into the air the way you lift a small child for thrills.

Being all of brawn and little of brain, he totally misjudged both his height and the height of the ceiling. He thrust her head so hard into it that her chin hit her chest. DONK! It was the funniest thing I had seen for some time. The whole group sat back, spilt drink, and roared at the (dented) ceiling. Thankfully she could be heard laughing too.

Then we went to the bar. It was clear to see that the sexy, single, dappy girl had already chosen her man, so that wrote her off. The three annoying girls sat at the other end, which was just where I liked them. I drank several jugs of beer, got smashed, laughed a lot, talked a lot, and danced my arse off. Except for the lack of any female contact, it was an alright christmas in the end. I might even have lined a job up for my return to Australia, too.

DAY 27:

Back to Stoney Creek. Knackered from being drunk two nights in a row. Showing my age perhaps? Naah, I was always knackered from being drunk two nights in a row.

DAY 28:

Spent most of the day buried in my laptop again, processing and uploading a shitload of videos to burn up the rest of my internet data, moving all of the files from my camera to my hard drive, you know admin sh*t like that. Went through my pack again, couldn't bring myself to throw away anything...again. Also tried to set up a good couchsurfing profile but didn't get very far. I still had two bottles of wine and about 300ml of Rum left, so... the late afternoon myself and Michelle decided to smack the rest of it, since I didn't want to take any of it with me and lose the benefits of duty free! Rum rum rum some great conversation with Michelle, who is a mother to all and very smart. After dinner busy Michelle had to dash off to take care of some new guests, and I sat looking out at the sunset. From out of nowhere a smile grew on my lips and an amazing feeling washed over me. It was like a rush of pride, overdue from my travels so far. A boost of confidence that said “See, you're doing it! You're here, and look how far you've come!”. I smiled so broadly to myself that other guests noticed. Somewhere, in that moment, I felt like I advanced a notch in life. A new piece of mental processing that had fallen into place, or perhaps the sum of many pieces. Whatever it was, it felt like a massive spirited pat on the back that seemed to rise out of the universe itself. Or maybe I was just drunk and loving Fiji.

F*ck it I'm gonna throw the rest of this butterscotch schnapps I've got into the rum rum rum rum and then wine wine drop change on the floor drop lighter burp f*ckin ell I'm smashed again hahaaaaa...cough cough. Michelle concentrated on finishing the wine while I concentrating on drinking anything. Michelle rang the Fiji radio station and dedicated a song to me. Very cool (hear video!). By the end of the night we were both very smashed. Michelle went to bed first, leaving her last glass of wine. I bade her farewell, sat like a lobotomised man for a moment, grabbed her glass of wine, staggered back to my room, f*cked about, wished I had even more alcohol (YEAH GIMME GIMME F*CKING BOOZE MAN I WANNA GET F*CKED, not realising I didn't need any), nearly threw up but didn't, listened to music on my MP3 player banging about like a rock star and went to bed very late, checking at least 5 times that I had definitely set my alarm for 6am ready for my flight, and that it definitely knew it needed to shout at 6am tomorrow.

When it comes to waking up early, though, I don't usually worry about that when I drink, cos I get woken up early by dehydration!

Summary of Fiji

What a f*cking beautiful country. Warmth is in everything. Lovely, smiling people everywhere with a nice, slow pace of life and a welcome for anybody and everybody. And why not – this place is made up of no less than 330 islands, many of them the picture-perfect match to a Hawaiian paradise postcard. Bathed in sun for 9 months of the year, bathed in not quite as much but still a lot for the other 3, surrounded by masses of white, sandy beaches and pristine coral (viewed through water that often doesn't even look like it's there) and jam-packed with delicious fruit. Hardly ever changing from a steady 33 degree bake, all year round, it's a place where the deadliest life form is a falling coconut. A place where, for the price of a single night in a dingy, grotty English Travelodge, you can, if you do your homework, get five nights on a clean beach resort with a mindblowing free breakfast and half-price beers, in baking sunshine. It's ludicrous!

This place is the perfect holiday destination, and I could do nothing to halt it's holidayistic seduction, reducing me from the role of an intrepid, enterprising backpacker to a money-spending lunatic...bum! I spent at least 30% over my budget! DOH DOH DOH!

If I carry on like this, I'll be home before I can say “F*ck – where did all my money go?”
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