Hard to take!

After a truly decadent breakfast of banana hotcakes and a tropical fruit platter I decided to head off and explore my local surroundings. Acquaint myself with Fiji so to speak, well my small part of it anyway.So with trusty and obviously underutilised camera in tow I walked down to the beach to see what I could find. This is what I have to put up with....hard to take hey!

Often when you go places that you have seen in postcards you very quickly realise that you have been shown the best bits, like when you go to those dubious Hollywood blockbusters. You sit down expectantly in your seat popcorn and soft drink at the ready....only to realise that the shorts you saw on TV earlier that week was indeed the very best that the movie had to offer....you leave with a mixture of feeling ripped off and let down. Well let me tell you Fiji delivers all it promises. It is exactly like all the clich├ęs you have been told. Beautiful, sunny, friendly, relaxed, tropical oh and did I mention beautiful and friendly?

I found the most amazing things on the beach...like a mass of shells washed up on the beach....big deal you say...well these were not those piddly little conical ones that we get on the beaches of Oz. These were the size of your fist....all luminous and mother of pearlish in the sun. There were hundreds of them in various stages of decay.

The jungle goes right up to the edge of the beach and as I was walking along I spied what appeared to be little pens of some kind. On closer inspection I realised there were pigs in the pens, a couple in each. A bit nervous that someone was about to burst out of the jungle and yell at me for abducting their pigs I inched my way closer...yep pigs, big ones. From there I found a path, just a track in the sand, I followed it. It lead past the family gravesite to a local village. There was a sign on the entrance saying welcome so I decided to go in...

....despite the invitation I felt like I was intruding, not perturbed I continued to walk through the village and was greeted by people hanging out of their windows shouting "Bula". I found the local shop, which would not even equate to a very shonky garden shed back home, I decided to buy a drink and a trinket of some kind to support the local people. Can of drink and piece of coconut jewellery later I was about to leave and the shopkeeper struck up a conversation. A few minutes later I was invited into their home and given one of the few chairs they owned to sit on. I was greeted warmly, as you would a sister and shared a snippet of my afternoon chatting and joking with these wonderfully friendly people.

By our measure these people are incredibly poor, they have little of financial value....but in all honesty they are rich. They love each other, live in supportive extended large families, they are happy and welcome all. It was a truly humbling experience for me and one I will always remember. For people to open their homes and hearts to a complete stranger is something we have lost. They invited me back for a meal and when they discovered it was my birthday on Tuesday they invited me to have a lovo and kava celebration. I gratefully declined as the resort has already got something organised. Not disuaded they asked when I was leaving and suggested a farewell party the night before.

I spent the rest of the afternoon just relaxing and keeping out of the sun...despite spf 30+ and only 3 hours in the sun I am slightly sunburnt. It felt very weird to just relax and do nothing, but I think I will get used to it. Tonight I am joining some new friends I have made for dinner and then I will have a cruisy night and organising what I want to do with the staff.

Oh and in true Michelle fashion....I have already hurt myself :P

As you can see not having a good time at all......LOL


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