Tales to tell

So, you wanna hear about Fiji huh? Well, I guess I don’t blame you. There’s a lot to tell, but if I write it chronologically, it might not work. So maybe I’ll put it under themeatic sections and alphabetise them.

ACCOMODATION
We stayed at a place called Club Fiji, which was nearish Nadi Airport, but had the added distinction of actually being on a beach. Sure, Nadi Bay was really shallow, and when the tide was out the sea was miles and miles and miles away, but it wasn’t too bad to look at. The pool was salt water, which was nice, and there were sun loungers all around, and lots of pretty thatched permanent umbrellas everywhere to sit under, and palm trees and flowers and it was just lovely. Our bure was the futherest away from everything, which meant big long walks to and from the bar & pool, but that’s okay. It was a really nice bure too – wood floors and wood lourves, a big high ceiling, a mosquito net over the double bed which lovely Kate let me have, and a little frige that we filled to the brim. The bathroom was quite spacious too. One night there was a three inch spider in it, so I screamed, but Katie bravely put it outside. I was quite suprised at her coolness in the battle.

The man in the other half of our bure wasn’t quite so cool, however. Oh no. In fact, he told us to turn off our music at 5pm because he was trying to nap (wanker!) and then came and yelled at us when we came back from dinner at 11.30pm (slightly more justified – he should have knocked on the door and been more polite, however). We hypothesized like mad about him, since he appeared to be by himself, before deciding that he had been jilted at the altar and had decided to come on his honeymoon by himself. The fact that a security guard told us that he’d complained another night about the fact that we were LAUGHING, (because how dare we enjoy ourselves on holiday?) seemed to solidify this theory. When we had to get up at 7am to go on a day cruise, I walked ahead of Kate, and he came out and hurled buckets and buckets of abuse at her, saying that we sounded like a pack of drunken hippos, and that she was a fat piece of shit (I don’t know if you’ve seen Kate, but suffice to say that she really isn’t) and that he recommended that she didn’t eat for a year. After that we told the reception staff that we wanted to change rooms, but we didn’t get around to it. We just stalked the guy at the restaurant instead, making loud remarks about how hippos come in herds, not packs. If he’d said something to me instead of Kate, i was going to play Good Cop, and invite him in for a drink and a hug, but he didn’t.

AIRPORTS
I hate airports. Especially if they’re not airconditioned. Or your parents (apparently) think you’re coming back the next day and no one is answering their phone and you are outside in the freezing Wellington wind and you don’t have any house keys and you’re supposed to be at Jessie’s party soon and it’s so cold and your flight was so delayed and you’d already waited for hours the night before at Auckland Airport for a bus and oh I just hate you airports. I’m always crying at you.

BOATS
I was thinking last night that before I went to Fiji I hadn’t been on a boat since January 2nd, 1998 (post The Gathering), but that’s not true cos I went on a ferry between Russell and Paihia, and also on the Hokianga ferry, but we took a lot of boats in Fiji. We went on a Sunset Cruise which we thought would be a big boat, but it was just a rowboat with an outboard motor that we had to cross the sandflats to get to, carrying glasses of wine, and then the guy asked us if he could go faster, and it was great but all the wine flew out of our glasses. Then there was a catamaran out to South Seas Island, and a little boat to get to the island & the submariney boat, and a smaller boat to get to Malamala and their little boat and that’s about it. Well, it certainly felt nautical to me. This is a boring thread.

BOYS
It seems that there is some appreciation for the curves in Fiji – or perhaps because of the heat I was wearing lower cut tops than usual and it would have been the same in NZ. But I’m not sure. One night Kate and I were sitting out on the porch of our bure having a drink, talking shit about the next door neighbour and just generally enjoying ourselves. Kate went inside to pee, or get more drinks, or cheese, or something, when along came the security guard. No, he wasn’t there to tell us to shut up, he just wanted to hang out. Okay. So we made chit chat, and blah blah blah, and Kate came back out again, and we talked some more and then he was boring us and we wanted him to leave but by that stage he was already sitting on the steps of our bure smoking. Since Kate and I had already discussed whether or not we were going to go to mysterious Hell bar that only appeared at night and blasted out bangra til all hours, we asked him if there were any good places we should go to if we were going to go out in Nadi. He was like “you want to go to nightclubs? I know some good places. I’ll take you out tomorrow because I finish my shift at 10pm, so you can get some dinner and I will meet you here”. We were like “oh okay, that sounds okay” before he was all “but you can’t let my bosses know, we’ll have to go secretly, blah blah blah” and “my friend is a taxi driver, I’ll get him to take us” and it just seemed a little more dodgy. And he was staring in the bad way, not the good way. After he finally left, we decided we’d wait and see if we were still keen to go out the next night. After an early morning and a long day on South Seas Island, we decided that no, we weren’t particularly keen to go out, and so we debated all the ways that we could get out of going out – like pretending to be sick, or hiding, or going out by ourselves. He was waiting in the dark for us to walk past though, so we just said we were too tired and he said maybe another night, he’d get his friend to take us out and join us when we finished at 1am. Well, we certainly weren’t very keen to be passed around like that, so in order to get out of it, on another night, we got a guy from the bar to walk us back to our room….

Our waiter at dinner the first night very coconspiritoratorly asked us if we smoked, and I thought he was after a lighter, but then apparently he said somethign about Bob Marley, and I was like “ooooh. No.” but he kept asking, like he wanted to sell us weed, and then he kept touching me, always patting me or stroking me from then onwards and it seemed like he’d go for wherever my sunburn dejour was. I don’t like being touched so much, dammit!

One night we were sitting at the bar having a drink when three local boys asked us to play pool with them. Being obliging young ladies, we said yes, and so we ended up playing two games against them. One of them decided that the best way to pick me up was to talk about how fat I was, first touching my upper arms and saying “powerful muscles!” and then when they asked us if we smoked (dude, what the fuck is it with everyone trying to sell us pot?) and I said no, he was like “oh, I thought you were so fat because you smoked so much”. I was like “I think you’re the rudest boy I’ve ever met. I didn’t say anything about how bad your skin was, you know, where are your manners?” He didn’t get it. Turns out they didn’t get a lot of things. When they kept trying to force their beer on us, telling us how great Fiji Draught was, we asked if they worked for the brewery, or if they were doing viral marketing. They didn’t get it. The guy that was trying to pick Kate up apparentlyl taught web programming, so she told him that I edited websites. He asked me what I did, so I said that I wrote the content for the site. He didn’t understand what content was, and asked me if I wrote in php. It’s nice to know that programmers universally don’t realise that websites actually have to have content! The other guy that was trying for me, who kept touching me got really nasty and competitive when he thought he was losing, while the guy with the bad skin got really bitter that I was playing with his friend. We had to call it a night right about then. They were just toooooo pushy.

Another night at the bar we were talking to everyone there, including Marilyn from Blehiem who we’d got to know on South Seas Island (her and her husband had been coming to Club Fiji for twelve years, twice a year – they took one holiday together and one holiday apart each), and a couple of expats. One of them said he was developing a new resort, and he said he could get us tickets to go out there. Well, yeah, we’re oppotunistic, so we did talk to him for a long time. We got to talking about the upcoming election, and he said he wasn’t voting, so I (of course) went off on a speil about how you’ve got to believe in something and stand up for it (but only if it’s something that I believe in, of course!) and we got on to the civil unions bill – which he thought was wrong. Homos are unnatural. But lesbians are okay – are you guys lesbians? He asked about three times. I told him the say thing every time, that I wasn’t gay with Kate, but yes, sometimes I like women. And then we went into a loooooooooooong speil about how it was perfectly natural. His arguement of course came down to “anal sex with men is gross”. I felt a little bad saying in front of the bartender “so when you’re with a woman, all you ever do is put your penis in her vagina and that’s your whole relationship there?” I think he was too drunk at that stage to get it. He started going on about the bible, so Kate asked him to quote specific passages that spoke out against homosexuality, and I was waiting for him to say Levidicus, but oh no, he didn’t even know that, so we told him that there wasn’t a single mention of it in the bible but boy that was a nice shirt he was wearing of mixed thread. Then Kate said “I’m a scientist…” (which anyone who’s ever heard the story of how outrageously angry she got when we were playing headbands and she was Einstein and when she found out she yelled “BUT YOU SAID I WASN’T AUSTRALIAN!” and we were like …………… until Simon said “are you thinking of Young Einstein?” should know means that she is full of crap, but I was too drunk to hear her say that bit) and launched into a story about how in Africa, there’s been studies done that show there are gay lions who are totally welcomed, because they don’t represent a threat to the leader’s authority, but they help to protect the female lions. Hey, it seemed plausabile at the time, the guy totally believed her – probably partly because he was still hoping we were lesbians together with him. In retrospect, if Kate ever tells that story about the lions again, I told her she should said it’s been written about in a book called Gay Pride. I am hilarious. Anyways, eventually the bar closed, and we realised that the creepy security guard – who had periodically been asking Kate where I was would be lurking around our room wanting to go out with us. We asked the guy to walk us back to our room, and his eyes went !!!!!!!!, so when we got back to our room I said “you do realise we’re not going to have sex with you, right?” and he said “do you have anything to drink?” and then peed in the bushes while Kate went back to reception to get them to unlock our room cos we’d lost our key (inside, we’d left our room open but housekeeping must have locked it). Charmer. Eventually I got bored, and he hadn’t given us tickets, so I went to bed. He asked Kate to go for a moonlight walk on the beach, but strangely she declined, so he finally left. I hope that our gay lions have changed his outlook on life.

COMEDY DUO

Apparently Kate’s dad has suggested that her and I together are a comedy duo. Once she told me that, it was a phrase that I heard many times in my head, when Kate’s suitcase weighed 30kg at check-in, or when we lost our room key, or when we couldn’t get out of the water on Malamala Island because of the undertown and slippery sand, or when we got caught up in hammocks etc…. Possibly the biggest mistake this comedy duo made was to try to walk through the field between our resort and the next. It was dark, deep and full of infectious mosquitos, ditches and streams. No snakes though.

FLIGHTS
The flight to Fiji was much more spacious than I thought it would be. I loved the tan fake leather seats. We asked if we could be upgraded, and they checked, but apparently it was full. The continental breakfast was quite good. I didn’t have champagne. The movie was Lemony Snickett so I didn’t watch it. The flight back was much more squishy. I drank some wine. The movie had Vin Diseal and kids in it. What was Lorelei thinking?

FOOD
I ate a lot of rib eye. The food was mostly decidedly average, but the steak was good.

INJURIES

  • My many mosquito bites that I scratched have now turned white and black, with raised red areas around them. They feel warmer than the rest of my legs. The pharmacist suggested I should go to a doctor. I think my legs are going to fall off with gangrene.
  • Have you ever had to put peroxide on a whole heap of nasty coral scratches? MOTHERFUCKING STING OUCH. I used vodka on them (and in me) for the next couple of days after that.
  • Nasty heat rash type thing across Mary-Kate & Ashley. Sure, hit me in my
    one pretty spot, you bastard.
  • (25 June: I’m still on antibiotics that they had to put into me via drip at first because the mossie bites were so infected. Nice one Jo, way to get to the doctor in time).

    ISLANDS
    South Seas Island has a tiny little backpackers’ on it, but we were just there for the day. It’s very pretty, but the beach is very sharp. Luckily, they have a pool! And they take you out into deep water for snorkelling. I heart South Seas Island, only 25 minutes from (horrible) Denerau.

    Malamala Island was suggested to us by the tour desk, who said that the beach wasn’t rocky at all. She lied. I hate Malamala Island. It’s pretty, but the beach is ridiculously sharp, and there’s no pool to cool off in, and the reef is too shallow, and the snorkelling is freaky, and there aren’t any sun loungers to sit on, only tables with benches.

    LIQUOR
    Kini had told me that Fiji has the cheapest liquor prices at Duty Free, and the travel agent had recommended to us that we take a couple of bottles over if we wanted to have pre dinner drinks and the like. Fijian Duty Free shops were horrible though, with really really pushy sales attendents. I like to be able to at least set foot in a place before people are trying to get me to buy things. Nevermind. We got a bottle of vanilla vodka and a couple of bottles of overpriced bad white wine (White Label Corbans was everywhere) on the way in, so that we could have pre dinner drinks in our bure. At the bar our drink of choice was generally frozen (and sometimes not yet frozen) margaritas from a slushie machine that cost F$5.50 a piece. Banana coladas were also good. Our trip to South Seas Island included all drinks – but that was cask wine (which they sold for $66 a cask, mind you). On Mala Mala the wine was in 2 litre bottles – which they served in plastic cups with ice cubes in. We took photos of it in all its icey glory. Fijian Draught beer which the horrible boys we played pool with kept trying to force on us (we asked them if they were in viral marketing for the brewery. They said huh?) tasted really bland, as did both Fiji Gold and Fiji Bitter, even though they were free! Despite all the liquor flowing we only got really drunk one night.

    READING MATERIAL
    I read four books and Metro and Q and the Sunday Herald cover-to-cover. Late one night when it was too hot to sleep, I was sitting up reading Heavier Than Heaven, even though it seemed strange to be reading about cold rainy Aberdeen and heroin when I was in the sun with a cocktail in my hand most of the time, and it was getting to be the start of 1994 (in the book, not in a time machine, dumbass) and I got to feeling the same way that i did when I first watched Romeo + Juliet ie: “fuck I hope Hollywood has put a happy ending in here, fuck artistic credibility”. Of course, they didn’t, and so Kurt still shot himself in the head and I cried.

    I’m glad that Kate didn’t read Fin because it was all about a fear of sharks (and it was fucking great). Exhibitionism was short stories that made me think of the zine that I really really wanna have finished by next Friday. Hmm, perhaps I should get on to that. And I can’t even remember the name of the yellow book, except that it was about someone called Melody who was trying to put on some kind of hippie festival but she was a great big fuckup. It was very entertaining anyway.

    RELAXING
    I feel bad because I am complaining about quite a few things, but really, that’s because it makes a better story than just saying “we sat in the sun, read books, swam lots and chilled out”.

    It would have been more relaxing if people had left me the hell alone though.

    SNORKELLING

    At South Seas Island, they take you by boat out into the deep water, and it’s AMAZING! Sooooooo many schools of fishies that you can swim amongst, and parrot fish everywhere, and gorgeous coral and yayness, and they let you do your own thing, and it’s just great.

    At Malamala, they take you within the reef for the snorkelling, so it’s so shallow you can stand everywhere – if you can find a patch without coral, that is, and so you’re about a foot over very very sharp things when you’re swimming, and if you’re fat, it’s much less than that, and there aren’t very many fishes, and if you picked up a dud snorkel without a blow valve, and you can’t clear it, and you’re afraid of getting cut, and you have a panic attack, and you signal the boat to come get you, well it’s damn slippery getting in, and you’re going to cut yourself up really badly and sit in the boat freaking out and crying for a long time while strangers look quizically at you.

    SEEDY UNDERBELLY
    Resort staff are weird.

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