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Tony''s Tracks’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 09 Jun 2009

Location: Yasawas Islands, Fiji

MapSunday May 24The 24th of May, the Queens birthday , if you don’t give us a holiday we’ll all run away!!! Now where did that come from?? In any case I’m on the island of Kuata in the Yasawas In Fiji. I’ve been here for 2 days and it has bucketed down rain and blown up a storm and still she blows. I arrived in Fiji about 10 days ago. Stayed overnight at the Smugglers Cove in Nadi and caught the boat the next morning for my “Awesome Adventure”.
The Yasawas are a string of islands to the north of Fiji –volcanic in origin—they are breathtakingly beautiful . There are thousands of beaches—the water is warm but not too warm, the sea is full of fish, and coconut trees are plentiful. Each inhabited island has its own little plantation where they grow pineapples and bananas, mangoes, oranges and all the vegetables they need for themselves and for the tourists that come to their backpacker resorts . I stayed my first night in Nadi on what they call the mainland. It was filled with under 30s and mostly just over 20s. . I stayed my first night in Nadi on what they call the mainland. It was filled with under 30s and mostly just over 20s. Yes, I was a bit overwhelmed to say the least. One young man came up and talked to me and invited me to join him and his girlfriend but I begged off when I saw they were in a dark corner in a hammock. I had no wish to intrude.
The next morning I was up at 6:30 had my breakfast and was waiting for the bus at 7:15. It finally arrived at 8 am and we were off to the marina to catch the boat to the Yasawas . The boat was a large Catamarran, painted a bright yellow and blue –the colours of The Awesome Adventures group. The boat cruises up the islands stopping periodically to drop off and pick up passengers. The boat would stop and small boats from the various resorts would come racing out filled with people who were going on to another resort and picking up people who were heading for their resort…and so on. Going south they wouldstop at the same resorts picking up passengers going south and arriving back in Nadi about 6:30 pm. I was by far the oldest on the boat and I found the transfer from one boat to another rather frightening but the Fijian staffs practically lifted me bodily from one boat to the next ..no mean feat. They were very patient with me but they weren’t having any old fart fall overboard…not on their watch.
Seven of us disembarked at Nobua Lodge resort on the island of Nacula. One English Canadian—that’s me--- a german girl Natalie, a Belgium girl, Magali a French couple and a finnish couple. The staff were terrific and seemed to favour me …and started to jokingly call me chief which I later found out was because of my age…they show a great deal of respect for their elders. So unlike the Western young. Natalie and Magili and I sat up until about midnight polishing of my bottle of gin and getting to know each other. The next morning we took a trip over to Blue Lagoon to another resort but of a much higher class. It is right next to Turtle Island Resort which is apparently a very exclusive resort. We just stayed on the beach and went snorkling. The fish on the reefs were plentiful and beautiful and there were more of them than I saw on the Barrier reef. There was also a restaurant serving coffee so I topped up my caffeine level and had a great lunch. When we got back to the Lodge the boat had been and deposited at least seven more very young people…4 English and 3 Swedes. My heart sank when I heard they were football crazy—all guys—2 from Liverpool and 2 from Manchester—I conjured up my image of the typical lager lout and despaired.. I apologise guys in case you ever get around to reading this because I was totally wrong …you turned out to be a joy…raucus but a joy---always arguing and laughing especially about football but open minded, funny, interesting and interested. They reminded me of you Adam and your friends and my heart lifted considerably. The 3 Swedes were 2 guys and a girl(woman) who had all gone to school together and if I remember correctly came from a fairly small town. When they walked into the dining room I was stopped dead in my tracks the woman was something else. Not at all the stereotypical Swedish woman she was tall and slim and brunette and she took my breath away. She was lovely and I found her very beautiful. That’s you I’m talking about Roxy in case you ever read this. Her 2 friends, Robin and Nick were very different from one another—Nick with his baseball cap perched at an angle and an almost perpetual smile on his face and his guitar in his hands talking almost non-stop and Robin who sat and watched and often seemed on another planet. I was fortunate enough to be sitting opposite Roxy for most of the evening and we talked and smoked and drank Tequilla. I think we became friends….then there was Eric who joined us and we argued and joked and discussed everything under the sun. All the boys had just graduated from Uni .and were loving their new found freedom and independence. Anthony was very forward and under other circumstances could have been a bit overpowering. He knew everything and was always right---oh, you know somebody just like that , but I found him very likeable and warmed to him—he reminded me a bit of my younger self..
That night Eric and I sat and talked and argued til about midnight and he repeatedly said apologetically I know I’m only 22….finally I said. ‘..and how old do you think I am?’ I believe he said . ‘…oh about 56 or so’ ‘Noooo I said I’m 73 and his jaw dropped 73!!!! I was probably older than his grandfather and he was talking to me as a contemporary. The next day 2 Law graduates from Manchester arrived… they looked more like models but they were Law graduates and had all the answers. Very confidant . I love young people…they take me back and as I said remind me of my own kids and of course myself when I was younger. It was a recipe for lively discussion and , dare I say it , argument ….Me playing Devils Advocate. Needless to say I loved it and was saddened when time came to depart. They were all going to one island and I was off to Botaira on a different island. On the boat they started asking for my e-mail address and my blog address. I do hope I’ll hear from one or all of them as I’d like to know where they get to. I disembarked first and it seemed to come up rather suddenly and as grabbed my stuff to hurry to my boat about half a dozen young men and women stood up and shook my hand except for Roxy she gave me a big hug…I was overwhelmed…as I made my way to my boat some young lady looked up at me and said, “My God, your popular!!!” I was speechless.
Botaira, my 2nd resort, lived up to its name “Beautiful Sunset”
It is a very beautiful place and the resort is a bit more upmarket. I had to pay a supplement to stay there but it had been highly recommended and I was greeted by a trio singing Bula songs. Bula means hello and welcome and seemingly a multitude of things…but it is the greeting of the islands…..BULA!!!!!!!!
There were very few people there when I arrived ….two women on there own—1 English and 1 German. Francis , the Englishwomen , was very pleasant but the other was a know it all and seemed to insist that everybody knew she was a know it all…nobody could complete a sentence without her interrupting or trying to correct you…there were times when I thought Francis was going to drop her in mid interruption with a punch to the nose. To be fair, Francis was not like that and I’m probably just projecting my own feelings on to her. There was also a pair of English newlyweds, Aaron and Esme. At first they kept pretty much to themselves but one late afternoon I went fishing with them. The first place we went was barren so our boatman upped anchor and took us to another spot in what he said was about 30 meters of water. We started getting bites right away. We were using handlines and for bait it was pieces of frozen herring. I kept losing my bait and then on 3 occasions I lost my hook too. Esme was the first to haul one in…a lovely snapper and a good size as well. She caught the 2nd one two and we realized why we were losing our hooks---it was a long , silvery, evil looking barracuda. Poor Esme was terrified when told it was a barracuda a…and as if on cue it fell off the hook into the boat. I think Esme was ready to abandon ship except she must have realized that there was only one barracuda in the boat but a helluva lot more still in the water. Our boatman then started pulling them in as well…everyone but me…then Aaron got a hit and reeling it in found half a barracuda hanging from the hook----another barracuda had bitten it in half as Aaron was pulling it in. I was convinced—they ARE dangerous bastards. It was getting pretty dark and I was the only who hadn’t caught a fish. I didn’t really care. I wasn’t to keen on landing a barracuda in the dark…and the stars were putting on a stupendous display the skies were clear and the stars were out in all their glory and then I got one…it was a lovely big dark red snapper---and with that we wound up our lines and headed back to the resort. It was dark—very dark and the sea was filled with reefs and we had no lights at all—Yes I was a bit concerned. When we were about a half mile away from the resort the boatman,Knox, asked Esme if she had a cigarette lighter-she did and he held it aloft and started flicking it repeatedly and a few moments later another cigarette lighter started flicking from the beach and sure enough we were guided in by a Bic cigarette lighter. Satellite navigation?? Who needs it if you’ve got a Bic. For the next couple of days –fish-dominated the menu and bloody good it was too. ALL HAIL !!!!! MAN THE PROVIDER!!!!!
I wrote more than this but thru my own ineptness I lost it. I'll be back soon