Some internetting and a few phone calls later, we've picked our sl;ice of Paradise Pie for the next few days. We go for a walk to get cash and provisions. This results in my cashpoint card being rejected as being 'damaged or not valid'. Foolishly I ring my bank assuming they will be able to help...Ha!
I can't go into the details, they will be recorded elsewhere, (most likely in an affidavit), but suffice to say I was unimpressed.
The next morning we travel on fast'cat', over smooth water, past dozens of sandy islands, til it's our turn to get off the 'big yellow boat. We are greeted by dancing and guitar playing and the news that there are THREE (count them) other guests on the island....and they're all leaving today! For a short time we have paradise virtually to ourselves. We are pleased as the other guests are all English backpacker children, and although perhaps we are resentful of their youth and beauty, they really are achingly dull.
Very slowly Paradise fills up (don't imagine that this means it got busy); there are a variety of ages and nationalities including the Cool Canadian family; guitar playing son and Mom and Pop. M and P have come to join their backpacking son for a couple of weeks R and R in Fiji. Ther is also the 'grown up gapper', a neurotic, babbling schoolteacher, who comes from London, has packed her job in is obviously mental.......I can't help wondering if that's how I come across? She is shagging an extremely boring American, who sulks after she leaves.
Our hosts include Tom the wise old man, with a son in University in Nadi ( the first person from the island ever to go to University), who teaches us to husk a coconut and turns into a Kava fiend at night. Then there is Lomax, the rugby loving bad boy, who likes the Welsh prop Adam Jones "he looks Fijian", and who's girlfriend is expecting their baby, although he has a tattoo of his ex on his arm.....oops! Lomax shows a surprising flair for interior design, unimaginaeable on first meeting, by placing a flower on our perfectly made bed every morning. Typical rugby player...in the closet!
Our final two hosts of note are Sam, surely the finest musician in the Pacific. He manages a seque of a Fijian and English language version of "Leaving on a jet plane", and makes it sound like Elvis drinking honey. Lastly there is 'Pony' (he is a bit, in truth), who can speak fluent Swedish and count to 10 in Welsh! I teach him "Su'mae" and he teaches me the intro to "Redemption Song" on the guitar; I have the far easier job.
Fiji time passes with the endless drudge of eating, lying on the beach, sleeping, eating, drinking,(beer,or kava or both) and back to sleeping. There is little else to do except surrender to the beauty of it all.
The food is terrible, there's no electricity, we get bitten, sunburnt and sandy....we are in paradise!
One incident of note occurs on our last day, when I am bitten by sea lice while snorkelling. The pain slowly builds when I take off my T-shirt and shower. It gets worse and nothing will stop it; it feels like electric shocks shooting up and down my back. The pain is so bad now I wish someone would kick me in the testicles so I had something else to think about, then a dreadful though hits me....what if you have to treat it like a jellyfish bite?!!
Thankfully, before I have to ask Sam to 'make like a German', Tom comes to the rescue. Pain is relieved (and frankly so am I), by the application of cold cans of pop being rolled up and down my back (and the excellent news that the pain recedes eventually by itself). The relief is sooo goood, it's almost worth getting bitten for, though not quite.