David started to read a little noticeboard near the dining hall later on and it mentioned that the best exercise here was a set of stairs behind the dive hut so off we went to find them. There was a small flight up, then another small flight to the left. Exercise? Pah!
But then we turned to the right and the steps climbed about 10 metres way up into
the tree canopy above our heads. Oh oh!!! And after you climb these you turn again to the right for a really steep incline, another 5 or 6 steps and a final slope to the top.
The view from the top, looking over the other side of the island was spectacular! What we didn’t know is that the short grass at the front of this pic (below), which covered an area of about 6 square metres was the heli pad. I’d hate to be the one to have to carry luggage up here!
Other than the husband and wife team who manage the resort and a lady that
managed the dive shop, the entire resort was staffed by villagers from this further side of the island and the only path between the 2 was the stairs we’d just climbed and arough track down the other side. We had read that we were allowed to go as far as the pig pens unescorted but were not allowed to encroach uninvited on the village – and that’s fair enough, they are not tourist attractions, it’s their home. Here are 2 shots of the path back down the other side of the hill, bearing in mind that the villagers had to walk this daily and some of them who finished late had to do it in the dark. To say nothing of what it would be like in torrential rain!
For us though it was a lovely walk and once we reached the pig pens we returned the way we’d come feeling happy that we had done some exercise between this climb and the beach walk.
During the holiday we did a lot of sitting on sun loungers (our own personal reserved pair outside our bure), swimming in the swimming pool, laying in the double hammock (for me anyway, David didn’t like it), and sitting around the pool so if large wads of time seem unaccounted for we weren’t idle, we’d have been participating in some of these strenuous activities LOL
It got dark promptly at 6:30 and we made our way to the dining hall to await dinner and discovered 6-7 was happy hour at the bar. This was cheaper than usual beer plus a daily cocktail. I didn’t indulge the first day but I did most days after that. I never drink alcohol but it just felt like part of the holiday to have a cocktail and I enjoyed it. The barman knew which bure to charge for David’s beer or wine by the 2nd night – oh the shame!!! Hehehehe.
Along the front of the dining room verandah were about 6 coffee tables with 2 single chairs and 1 double chair around each which all faced the ocean and we sat at one of these tables. After a while an early 20s girl came along with an older man and asked us if we minded if they sit with us while we waited for dinner. We said ‘not at all’ and she spoke to the man, calling him Opa. I said “Dutch?” and she replied “No, German”. Oh, how exciting!!! I adore the German language and find it totally fascinating. I’ve always paid deep attention to Inspector Rex when I watch it, comparing what I’m hearing to the subtitles to see what I can learn and here were some people I could speak my few words to. There was one thing: Opa wore hearing aids so I could not be a shrinking violet and hesitate in my delivery, I had to bellow it with confidence LOL. This did me a lot of good.
Eventually the rest of the ‘German Family’ as we called them came along too – there were 6 of them – and they invited us to sit at their dinner table with them for dinner. We were really happy at this and accepted with relief that we would not have to ‘push ourselves’ on someone. They are not really a German family as such but come from New Zealand, but the original name stuck with us and it served just as well as they all spoke it fluently. Opa’s English was very good but he heard German more easily than he heard English which I can completely understand.
The dinner on this first night was posted as a Fijian Banquet and was really wonderful with heaps of vegetable and fish dishes, all of which I was happy to eat as a part of our holiday. The daughter was a full vegetarian so I had company in not wanting meat, though she was better than me in that she didn’t have fish either. The food was totally delicious at every meal and there were always vegetarian options which were inspired and plentiful. I can’t tell you how impressed I was!
Here is the dining room with its sand floor. David spent the whole of the lead up to the holiday ‘pretend moaning’ about this but we loved it. Ah, you can see the verandah and its chairs in this shot too.
After the main course the manager stood up and bellowed “Bula!” and we all replied the same way. It was something every Fijian greeted you with. He announced the next day’s activities and told us how to sign up if we wished to participate in any. Then dessert was served. I don’t know if we were more stunned or more inclined to laugh our heads off. It was a small square of something chocolatey but when I say ‘small’ I’m exaggerating hugely. It was microscopic! Not enough of it to tell you what it tasted of in fact.
After dinner there should have been a show of native singing and dancing by the staff but it was Good Friday and they were running on skeleton staff to allow the rest to participate in their church activities in their village. To be truthful some of the service had seemed a little grudging so I think some were upset at having to work, but for the rest of the week everyone was wonderful so I don’t hold this against them.
We sat after our meal for a while chatting with our new friends but then decided to call it a day and catch up on some more of the sleep we’d missed in getting there. Back in the bure I lit my citronella candles for a while and we left the electric lights off so as not to attract mozzies. The louvre windows had flyscreens but the doors didn’t and the walls (logs strapped together with rope and then thatched with dried leaf strips) were not totally mozzie-proof.
Now what I have not yet mentioned is that the bathroom was open air. There was a roof above the loo and vanity unit but the shower was open to the stars and the palm fronds. I liked this very much but refrained from using the electric light after dark and stuck with candles. We’d also been told not to drink the water in the bures but to drink only the water from jugs at the bar. We had filled a bottle and kept it by the basin for tooth cleaning so it was all rather a different situation from home.
And so to bed with the mozzie net down over us and tucked in under the mattress just to be safe, listening to the wonderfully melodic and soothing ocean lapping the shore just 4 or 5 metres from us, it was so idyllic. And we slept pretty well too.
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Life was very different here on the island. The mobile phones didn’t work, there were no clocks, radios, televisions; nor any form of transport other than walk, swim or sail. The only drinking water was from the bar. Many of the staff were barefoot. We really were taken to a new lifestyle. And we both quietly worried whether we’d be bored to tears because we’ve always had very active holidays before; exploring, sight-seeing, walking around shops and tourist sites etc.
The natives taught us a new skill we’d rarely come across before which was walking at a snail’s pace. We giggled about that quite a lot but I tried it one day and it actually takes a lot of skill and was probably as good as a tai chi workout. Everything was done pretty well as and when they felt like it.
We got to breakfast soon after 7:15 and it was mostly ready so we indulged early. The spread was on a cover on top of the pool table and the basics were the same every morning; fresh fruit platter with pineapple (the sweetest most delicious we’ve ever tasted!), small sweet pawpaw and oranges (all the way from Australia lol). There were jugs of orange juice and pineapple juice, tinned peaches and pears, yogurt, assorted cereals and milk, toast with jams or marmite, a round fruit loaf and small croissants, a
platter of cucumber and cold meat. Then each day there was something different – one day there were thick pancakes, another there were small puffed squares made of donut dough. Lots of variety anyway, and all very tasty. I turned my back on my fruit one day and a bird came and nibbled at my pawpaw. You can see the beak marks on the right hand piece in the photo. We laughed about that.
Once we’d had breakfast we went back to our bure, which David constantly called our ‘burrow’ and I guess that can pass as acceptable hehehe. And after 6 months of lessons and practice I felt it was time to perform my bellydancing for him. All this time I’d practiced in secret. David knew I was learning, I just never danced in front of him so this could be a treat and surprise for our holiday. I asked him to put my music into his DVD player while I put my costume on. It was a sheer outfit so definitely for his eyes only LOL I felt so nervous!!! But it did go well, particularly considering I hadn’t been able to practice for almost a week as he was around, and he said he was surprised at how good I was. I was really pleased as he’s seen a lot of really good dancers on YouTube clips etc that I’ve watched.
Much of the rest of the day was the usual swim, walk, lay around reading and nothing specific to report other than when we were floating idly in the pool. David was leaning against the edge and I was floating almost seated in front of him with my feet under his armpits. He got hold of my feet and started pushing them, with my legs attached of course, together and apart and said “Oh look. Bellows!” I cracked up.
During the day we climbed the stairs twice just for the exercise.
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