The tropical sun has got to me in more ways than one in this short stay. Despite taking all precautions – lying in the shade, hat, covering up, etc, both Marilyn and I closely resemble raspberry ripples. For those of you who don’t remember this ice-cream delight, it was a vanilla block that had a bright red varicose marbling running through it. If you can imagine that – you can imagine what our shoulders, backs stomachs and thighs look like. Not really a pretty sight.
The other effect, in such a short stay, has been to slow us down to the kind of pace that Fiji is famous for. No-one rushes. The locals move with a slow sway, almost a swagger. It takes them a whole morning to clear the beach of the remnants of the flotsam and jetsam from the storm last night and to rake it pristine again. There is no rush except when one shimmies up to the top of a sixty foot palm to tie a rope so that later the tree can be felled. He moved too quickly to get a photo. I love the local dress – the guys wearing a sarong type ankle length skirt and a frangipani flower behind the ear which is also what the women wear.It is a cool look in a sultry, hot climate.
The staff at the hotel are a versatile lot as well as being sartorially elegant. The same person might serve at table, sing a farewell song, clean a beach, play with a group of children, organise a beach volleyball competition or any of the other myriad things needing to be done in the service industry. And everything is done with a smile, a friendly greeting and handshake and at this Fijian pace. I am amazed too that they remember my name and greet me as an individual and either they are all potential Oscar winners or they seem pleased to see me. It has all helped to make this a remarkably relaxed and enjoyable few days.
Of course the setting has also contributed to this sense of wellbeing. I write this with a view of the Ocean breaking over the reef through palm trees. Just below the room is the childrens’ pool where kids enjoy doing the things kids enjoy. There are no angry words – just laughter and the squeals of pleasure. The beach is white coral sand and today I spend a happy hour snorkelling among the coral and give up counting the different types of fish at thirty. We have been for a brief kayak ride and Marilyn has enjoyed getting back to swimming . Her confidence in the sea has improved because of the regular swimming back home but also because the water here is calm, clean, clear and so warm.
So we have not ventured forth at all. The idea was to break the long journey to New Zealand so that we arrive rested. I do wish that I had added a few more days to explore the real Fiji but that will have to be for another time. Although this has been a hotel experience it has been wonderfully restful for these two travellers. It is a magical place to bring children with all the activities on offer and with the genuine fondness the Fijian people have for children.
And tomorrow morning at 4.00 am we are off to catch our flight to Auckland and another new set of adventures. Rested and in a mood of tropical torpor.