Fiji Time (Part 2) - Burnt but Buzzing at Bedarra

Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
Trip End Jan 04, 2012

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Flag of Fiji  , Viti Levu,
Thursday, December 8, 2011

For a quick summary of the days that followed;

Day 1. We settle in and I get sunburnt on my front.

Day 2. We sunbathe more and I get sunburnt on my back. Kate just tans brilliantly and looks like she has been on a beach for a month.

In the Evening of day 2 we attended an in-house Kava ceremony hosted by a trio of Fijian musicians who provide background music to the evenings and welcome guests on their arrivals. We missed out on the welcoming song as we arrived on a Sunday but the Kava ceremony made up for it. The head honcho of the trio introduced the ideas behind the ceremony and discussed the roles everyone had, but essentially the half hour consisted of a lot of clapping, shouting "Bula" and “Vinaka” and drinking copious amounts of the Kava out of a little wooden bowl as it is was ladled out by the head honcho. It tastes a little bit like herby muddy water (if you can imagine that taste) but It's not too bad. During the ceremony I notice that my servings gradually increase in size even though I request half a cup while Kate’s gradually get smaller, and I can’t help but think the Fijian thinks this might end up providing funny consequences hence doing it. He gives me a couple of mighty handshakes and bellowing laughs as the ceremony seems to heighten into a bit of a frenzied clapping session.  Immediately not sure what the effect might have I notice suddenly my mouth numbing across the right hand side to match the standard numbness I have in my left hand side post-cheek fracture last year. It’s a bit of an odd feeling like what you get when a local anaesthetic starts wearing off but at least it left us pretty chilled out. To counter this  I find that in the middle of the night I get paranoid about people breaking into the room and sit awake for a couple of hours contemplating different ways of stopping intruders with the bedside lamp. I think it may have also had something to do with the Kava but I don’t want to immediately hold it to blame.

We have a Lovo dinner straight after the Kava which earlier in the day we were waiting to watch going into the ground at 3pm (the food is cooked covered in the ground wrapped in banana leaves on a burning pit) but couldn’t wait any longer as we needed showers. The food eventually went in the Lovo at about 4pm.  Fiji time is nice and relaxed but it is not well suited to the punctual.

The dinner itself was beautifully cooked and if it wasn’t for the fact that the Fijian root vegetables are a little too dry and bland for my liking it was superb. It was still great value, even if you left the dry root stuff. During dinner a couple of fighting geckos caught our attention directly overhead and their squabbling and squeeking drew much attention for groups around us. It’s why I am so very proud that when one of the geckos dropped from the ceiling firstly onto the table and then in a panic onto my chest I nonchalantly gave it a little brush away like I had noticed a crumb on my shirt. It scurried down my shirt and onto my trousers at which point I gave it another little bit of encouragement. When however it stopped at about my shin (I was wearing three quarter lengths) and seemed to be deciding whether to jump from my right leg or climb up the sleeve of my trouser, the nonchalance totally deserted me and I half stood, half wiggled and half whimpered as I flicked him away. Thankfully, onlookers had only seen the initial brushing away which left me with some pride.

During the evening we got talking to and older couple on holiday from Australia called Ron and Sandra. They had emigrated over 20 years ago from the UK and remind me very clearly of Pam-ERLA and Mick from Gavin and Stacey. We chatted to them quite a few times during our short stay (especially over happy hour) as well as another Australian couple and it’s been good chatting to those who have just been holidaying; it reminds us how lucky we are to be travelling around the world as some of the people we are meeting barely have left their own country but for a few weeks here and there to Fiji or Bali for a holiday. Ron and Sandra were fantastic fun and showed that emigration can really turn out for the best for some people having been in Australia for 23 years and considering themselves Aussies (although the accents beg to differ); it made us once again think about it but the pull of family over weather and profit is probably too much.

Over the course of the 3 full days we drank lots of cocktails and lots of wine. It didn’t rain at all even though the weather forecast gave us 80% chance every day. The Christmas thing raised it’s head again as the Hotel played out a string of tunes over their jukebox while we sat around the pool scorching in the sunshine. It didn’t have quite the same effect as on the plane. It just seemed silly playing Christmas tunes in the middle of summer – it can’t really be the start of December.

On our last night of the 4 we were sung to with a Fijian farewell song by all the staff. It was beautifully sung but me and Kate struggled to make out who was singing the high parts because all the men were huge. We shake hands with all the staff who were wonderful during our stay and say our goodbyes regretting not staying but a little longer.

I’ve read about a third of the last Lord of the Rings Books after finally finishing the Two Towers and Kate has done about 20 Sudoku. She now has a scarily dark brown tan “due to her lovely olive complexion” (pointed out by Sandra) and I have an off red colour due to my ginger nut complexion.

It’s strange to be moving on across Fiji and not moving out of the country – after 4 nights of chilling out I think we’re ready to go again, and to get back in the mix of touristing. LA awaits but not yet.

It’s funny how taking a few days 'break’ can make you feel more tired. After going across the Tongariro or climbing the glacier I felt knackered but with some sense of fulfillment. I felt a little charged if anything. From sitting on our backsides for a few days I feel both shattered from lethargy and at the same time very much getting a little jumpy and in need of something to get us up and out again – but I suppose that was the point; Sunning yourself and drinking cocktails is clearly quite a tiring exercise but it also leaves you keen to get back into existence and to get busy.
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