In the morning you wake up in your little beach hut.
The only sounds are the crickets chirping around you, the rhythmic beating of the fan above you and the waves gently rolling onto the shore.
You lost all concept of time & days of the week the moment you arrived & by now you’re used to rising & falling with the sun.
As the sun comes up you pull back your crisp white sheet, feeling pleased with yourself for avoiding getting sand in the bed, this time.
Pull on a t shirt and pad, barefoot, out into the light.
You wander along the winding stone path to breakfast.
Your morning city shuffle into Starbucks has been replaced with a jovial pat on the back from Joeli who’s ready & waiting to knock you off a coconut.
You kick off breakfast with a big plate of fresh papaya, mango or just watermelon if you want to keep it simple.
Followed by a cinnabun, still warm from the oven, bursting with chopped nuts & piled high with frosting.
All washed down with iced Fiji water.
The temperature has started to rise now so after a long, lazy breakfast you pull your shirt off & slip into the ocean. Sticking to the shallows you stretch out on your back and let yourself float. The sun warms your skin as the water laps around you. Stretched out like a star, you gently let your ears slip below the water. The only sound is your breathing & the occasional clink of shells touching. Just as you think you could lay there forever, a hand touches your shoulder & asks if you want to walk around the island.
You accept with a smile & walk together in quiet companionship occasionally brushing hands or stopping to admire the shade of the water on a particular sandy corner.
Hermit crabs go about their business, oblivious to the lives of the wandering giants around them.
You bend down now & then to collect coral & shells, meaning to take them home to loved ones. They inevitably end up discarded on the porch of your beach hut, but the intention was there & for a moment you had a connection with the family you left on the other side of the world. Later, you head back through the jungle to lunch.
Platters of sushi & sashimi cover every surface just aching to be dipped into their salty sauce & eaten with sandy hands.
Lunch is yellow fin freshly pulled from the sea, mango salsa, shredded cabbage & feta cheese salad with homemade bread.
After a few hours reading your book, listening to music & watching the fruit bats fly overhead, you decide it might by time for a treat.
Before you even have time to realise what you wanted, a Miami Vice is placed by your side.
The frozen love child of a strawberry daiquiri & a piÃ±a colada, it slips down so easily you lap it up as fast as you can before the crippling horror of an icecream-headache creeps up on you. You sit up with your face twisted in agony like something from an old zombie movie while muttering “aahhhmmaagaahhhddbrraaaiinnfreeezeeee” to your bemused companions. When you eventually recover from your harrowing experience, you sigh with relief & dive right back in again. Will you never learn? Having had a long, stress-filled day of doing absolutely nothing, it’s time to take care of your sun-battered body & hair.
Having showered off the sand, TresemmÃ© leave in conditioner & Aussie hair insurance quench your thirsty locks. P20 is the best sunscreen on the planet, something you only need to apply once a day to stay burn free & golden brown. Sudocrem (the all time hero of all beauty products) gets slathered over any cuts, bruises or bug bites. Thalgo aftersun & marine mist smooth over the rest of you and your thirsty bronzed skin drinks up every last drop. A Tangle Teaser brushes through your conditioned curls, Venus has it’s obvious job & dousing yourself in Jungle Formula ensures that delicious blood of yours stays firmly below the skin & doesn’t fill any mozzies’ bellies. While you wait for the others to get ready you lay back on your bed, slip on your headphones ( Fidelios) & listen to James Taylor, while slowly slipping in & out of sleep. When you take your headphones off you realise there’s another sound coming from the other side of the island. Drum beats are punching through the jungle. You peer out from your porch and make your way along the path towards the noise. Emerging from the trees, you see the beginnings of a Kava ceremony, held by the islanders.
You slip in quietly & sit cross legged as the island chief addresses his tribe and guests.
Kava is a muddy drink made from pounding sun-dried Kava root before being mixed into a liquid. The flavour & texture is a bit like what you’d imagine drinking the dregs of a washing up bowl would taste like. But it’s a huge honour to be invited to drink with the chief so you drink it down, smile & thank them.
It’s very relaxing & slips you into a mild euphoria. Your lips go a bit numb, your muscles relax & you feel very much at ease. After the ceremony, it’s time to dance.
The sound of the crickets mixes with the rhythmic thumping of feet & chanting. Soon the relaxing effects of the Kava seep into your consciousness & tell you it’s time for bed. Together you head back to the hut & slip into a deep, dreamless sleep. Tomorrow, the sun rises & you get to do it all again.
The important thing to remember is not to get island fever & lose your head.
I can’t recommend a trip to Tavarua enough, if you haven’t checked out the website yet do it now. (I know some of you have, you crashed the website with so much traffic so now the island chief wants to be my new best friend… fine by me, I’ll just stay here forever!)