A Mere Fijian Sojourn
14.06.2014 - 18.06.2014
“You would look good with cornrows”, the lady says as she draws a line with her finger on my head where she would do it.
"It would keep it out of your face. Just a few on top so your hair stays nice to go home".
Well obviously pleased someone finally acknowledged my ability to pull off cornrows, I was also very aware, due to the regular dinner conversations over the past few days that getting your hair braided on summer vacation gets significantly less cute with age. After much discussion the consensus cut off is around 8 years old.
We were sitting in a little hair salon slash massage parlour slash tour office in Sigatoka talking to the owner. I was torn between the possibility that I could return to work in two days time, with corn rows and be like, ‘what of it?’ and just your stock-standard need for dignity.
Resist. The. Urge. For. Cheap. Laughs.
Alas, I decided against the plaits, for many reasons, including the way it draws attention to your scalp and also because I would never, ever get them out of my long, curly, knotty locks. Instead I had one braid put in which was decorated with some red string which immediately knotted beyond your wildest imagination, and convinced my friend that she needed to return to work the next day with a henna tattoo. I was already sporting a large one on my hand that I was looking forward to matching to my work uniform.
My friend and I had taken a sojourn to Fiji. It wasn’t a holiday. She had just got back from a holiday in Central America and had been back at work a week and I was technically in the middle of full-time study and not technically in any ways able to holiday.
So in order to justify our adventure, it was a mere sojourn. A mini-break if you will, hell I’d even go as far as to say a long weekender.
Obviously catch two travellers with permanently itchy feet in times of study and work overload and it doesn’t really take much before a weekend trip to Brisbane suddenly turns into a quick nick to Fiji. It was only 5 hours away, soooo convenient. And we got a bargain so why not?
We assume we got a bargain because we decided to go to Fiji Sunday night around 9pm and had booked by 9:30pm. That’s also how we ended up in a hotel two hours from the airport, who knew Fiji had two hours to spare? not us!
Should we Google this?
The sojourn was just a mini getaway for some sun and rest. It had been a while between adventures and I was feeling very confined to the realities of life. We booked into a resort, something I had never done. It was fancy and I felt undeserving.
“Bula! How long are you in Fiji for? “ they would ask
“Oh just a long weekend!”
“Hmm, only 5 days?” they would say with some confusion, thinking … she must be rich… but she doesn’t dress well and has been making vodka lemonade in mugs in her room... and eating packets of chips for lunch…. “
The people are so nice and friendly I just felt plain uncomfortable. When I tried to carry my own bag I think I gave the impression I didn’t trust them to take it, but really I was implying “ I’m just a general dirt bag who got a deal, I can carry my bag please don’t feel that you need to serve me. Usually I’d be staying in the local flea ridden hostel but you know, when on a mini break”.
It was a beautiful place, a lovely idyllic paradise. I laid on a lounge chair and read for three days. I got up at intervals to move the chair into more sun as it was setting each night.
The water was blue and there was coral, I assume, the only time I went in the water was on the first day when I saw a bottle bobbing up and down and I went in after it fully clothed to fish it, and the secret message out (this is Castaway country) Obviously it was deeper than I expected and had to wander back to the hotel, wet from the waist down.
There was no secret message.
It was just an empty Corona bottle filled with sand and water.
Stupid over active imagination.
It wasn’t all sunning and lounging, one afternoon we wandered beyond the resort limits where there is a sign warning us that any business conducted outside the resort is on you, and 5 metres behind it is a bunch of makeshift shacks offering massage, nail art, souvenirs, hair braiding and henna.
I passed on the massage by two Fijian grandmas in favour of a dope henna tattoo, and some disgracefully tacky hibiscus nail art, because if I’m going lay on the beach and read a book, I’m going to need to admire my hands as they hold it up.
The women were sitting around waiting for customers. We browsed the shacks awkwardly while they sat watching.
As I walked by an older lady spoke to me and a young girl translated,
“She thinks you have a nice body shape”
The old lady smiled as if to say, “yes, gurrrrl, you are nailing it, good for you”.
About time a culture appreciated a girl whose body says “yes, I do enjoy a complimentary breakfast buffet”.
I thanked her, and briefly considered moving there where my beauty is appreciated. Thinking how I too could do henna and nail art on the beach and wear a sarong all day. I would be good at that... Then remembered I sandwiched a mini break to Fiji between a million assignments that I was suitably ignoring and I had to go back to work.
Fiji is a beautiful country, such lovely people, I drank so much Kava just to be polite. To get us back to our roots, and knock us back to reality after a couple of days in a resort feeling fancy, we stopped in Sigatoka and Nadi on the way back to the airport. We chatted to some locals, considered cornrows, dined on some delicious but 100% questionable curry in a 100% questionable venue then got back on a plane (thankful for a 5 hour journey ahead in case the curry wasn’t as good a pre-flight idea as we thought). Soon we were back in chilly Melbourne walking through the airport, inappropriately dressed for the weather, a bit of a summer glow and a few hair braids and henna tattoos to tell the car park bus driver, yes, we have just got back from a lush vacay.
Oh its cold here and no one did my essay while I was gone…
It’s like the holiday never happened.
And it didn’t
It was a mere mini break.