It’s currently 4:37am as I write this and right now I’m experiencing some of the worst muscle ache from sunburn that I’ve ever known. I’ve taken some painkillers but they’ve not done much in the past 50 minutes, so I’ve decided to write a blog post to take my mind off it. Unfortunately we’re staying in a dorm room at the moment too which also means I’m sat outside in order to not disturb my roommates, hoping to not get eaten by mosquitos.
We’re in Fiji at the moment on a small island called Waya. This is our first experience of staying in a resort and it’s turning out to be a pretty good one, despite a couple of injuries. The seven bed dorm is pretty comfortable and each bed is a single bed, so no creaky bunk beds in the night every time someone rolls over.
We arrived in Fiji on Sunday, having waited an extra four hours in the airport for a cyclone to get out of the way of the flight path. When we arrived at our first hostel it was late enough to call it a night, which I did gladly having spent most of the the day just waiting around. Our alarms needed to be set for 6:30am too in order for us to catch the bus to the ferry terminal.
In the morning we crawled out of bed shortly after the alarm went off and made our way to reception to check out and wait for our coach. When the coach arrived there were more people waiting than seats available, which at the time seemed stupid. It wasn’t until we were at the dock to check in that we found out the cyclone the day before had affected the boats too and they had all been cancelled, stranding everyone on the mainland or on the islands. Fortunately we didn’t have to deal with any of that hassle and we even got on a faster boat as they split everyone up going to different resorts.
The journey to the islands took around an hour and a half over choppy waters. I’d convinced Mark to take a motion sickness tablet, so thankfully we didn’t have a repeat of a few previous boat journeys—which I won’t go into in case you’re eating lunch.
When the boat arrived at the island we were all a bit confused as to where the resort was. We were taken in a smaller boat over to the shore and then had to strip off our shoes and socks as the boat stopped a few metres into the water. Soggy and confused we were greeted by two men—one of whom Mark assumed was the manager—and were told that there was going to be no song and dance that day. At the time we didn’t even know what that meant, but we we were also told that we were going to have to earn our welcome drinks and walk over the hill to get to the resort.
Unfortunately the big boat wouldn’t stop on the correct side of the island, which is why we had to walk. I wasn’t really mentally prepared for the walk and—as you know if you’ve been following our posts—I’m a bit scared of slippy paths which are also uneven and steep, with rocks you have to climb over in the middle. The walk was tiring in the heat, though strangely I was happy to be getting a bit of exercise again. We arrived after roughly 20 minutes and were handed a welcome drink, which I tried not to down in the first five seconds.
Once we’d been given our bed number and had been guided to the dorms, we settled in and got to know the people we’d be sleeping next to for a few nights. Lunchtime came around soon afterwards, despite our roommate Jeff’s complaint than an hour was forever to wait. We’d read reviews online that the food was amazing here, so we were eager to see if it lived up to the expectations. With our first meal we definitely weren’t disappointed and there were loads of vegetarian options which meant that I didn’t have to eat meat either.
That afternoon we decided to go on the village visit which took us back over the hill we’d clambered over in the morning. I really enjoyed seeing the village and meeting the people who live there, though I did feel slightly awkward when we all sat around and watched the Fijians perform for us. I don’t know if that’s just my British nature, or because it felt like the poor villagers putting on a show for the privileged tourists. The kava ceremony was fun though, which involved clapping once, saying bula (“hello”), drinking some kava and then clapping three more times. There was also a craft fair on at the end of the visit where we bought a postcard, a shell and a carved wooden turtle.
That evening we got to experience a delicious three course meal at the resort, which was amazing but also put our comfortable lives into perspective. It’s pretty strange visiting the place where the people serving you live, seeing the lack of furniture and possessions in their homes and school and then heading back to your holiday spot where you dine on lavish meals. It was definitely another reminder of how fortunate we are to even be on this trip at all.
The sunburn I mentioned earlier didn’t occur until the next day, but this is already a hefty post so I’ll leave that tale for next time.