Well I thought I’d start this entry by telling you about a rather embarrassing incident that happened to me when I was touring around Fiji mainland. We had been eating loads of curries on the tour so my digestive system was working over time and after a couple of days I had built up a lifetime supply of gas. I couldn’t find anywhere to let it out without people around. So when I noticed everyone going to the bar I jumped at the opportunity of being in the dorm room by myself. I slipped in and let rip. It had to be the longest most revolting fart I had ever heard, let alone done. It sounded like I should have soiled myself several times. Feeling about a stone lighter I flicked off the lights and started to head to the bar only to be greeted by someone else from my dorm, who asked me why I turned the lights off, there were still people in there. I walked back in and there were two rather shocked looking elderly couple hiding away on the top bunks trying to read their books! They must have been sat there enjoying some quiet time when I walk in, sound like a herd of Elephants taking a shit at the same time – then for that extra kick in the teeth turn the lights off on them. I quickly apologized turned the lights back on and ran to the bar, now a rather dashing shade of red.
Anyway – thought you might appreciate that story. I have to say the last two weeks have been amongst the best two in my life. Tribewanted is amazing to say the least. I had one week booked, but quickly extended to a month. Tribewanted is basically a small community set up on a tiny island (Vorovoro) where people come and stay then help in village life and experience living in Fijian culture. Think “The Beach” meets “Shipwrecked”. Everything in the village has been built from scratch and with traditional methods and the island is well off the beaten track. Apart from one spot on the island where you can just about get a phone signal we are completely isolated from the world. It is brilliant.
I quickly found my role on the island and took on building a 2nd floor on the existing tree house, with a surprising amount of success. Its loads of fun hacking away at wood with a machete, makes me feel really manly (and lets face it – I need all the help I can get!)
My bed is a hammock on the beach. One of those army ones with a mosquito net, which I’ve managed to squeeze a mattress into. Its so comfortable! I love falling asleep rocking gently in a cool breeze while listening to waves crash on the shore. The only down side is when it rains, it’s a bit of a panic while I shove the roof thingy up and find somewhere to keep all my valuables dry
We have five meals a day (breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner) all cooked by Fijian women who live in the neighbouring village – using fresh ingredients.
Where as before on my travels you just experience certain cultures and traditions, here we get a fantastic opportunity to live them. So when on the Feejee Experience before we just had a go at doing a traditional kava drinking session, on Vorovoro it’s the equivalent of popping down to the pub for a quick pint. The problem with Kava is you gain intolerance to it. So the more you do it the more it’ll affect you – as I have definitely found out now! The kava or grog sessions are always fun and always results in one of the Fijians grabbing a guitar and having a sing a long with their mates. Loads of fun. We also sing the Isa Lei, which is a Fijian goodbye song everytime someone leaves the island.
The island is pretty much on a coral reef (world’s third largest) so you swim a couple of meters out and you find yourself in a different world. Because Vorovoro is so out of the way you don’t get any tourists here at all. The coral is completely unspoilt. Yesterday the water was so still that when I was having one of my tanning sessions on the pontoon I could see the coral and the fish perfectly three meters down. I also went to the outer reef which was an amazing experience. Again the water was so clear. We got dropped off just off the reef and you could see the sea floor 25 meters down. It was quite scary actually, we got warned to look out for large sharks and box jellyfish. You feel so small and in a completely alien world. Something I didn’t really get snorkeling in Cairns. I think maybe because the sea wasn’t as deep or clear. Plus we were the only boat in sight. I saw loads of sea life and a worrying amount of sharks! The largest one must have been about 5 feet long, which seems a lot bigger when it is only swimming a couple of feet below you. They were only reef sharks, so not dangerous, but you can’t help but hear that Jaws theme in the back of your mind.
I have managed to get on the internet from a town trip they do when people have to go back to mainland to catch flights. So armed with a shopping list (everyone in the tribe seems to want something!) I get pushed back into life and civilization. It feels so strange wearing shoes and a shirt. But I’ve got another two weeks to go yet and I can’t wait. So don’t expect to hear from me until then!