Fiji: Beachouse (backpacker resort btwn Nadi and Suva)
Walking out 50+ yards with warm (often hot) seagreen water only up to our knees (serious high and low tides), looking back at our resort nestled in a rainforest of palm trees, decorated with hammocks and a huge swing hanging from a palm tree over the water, it began to sink in that we really have left seattle. Seriously left seattle. We did a little ocean dance and screamed some ‘woohoos’. And so it begins.
I'm reminded that my senses are heightened as I approach new destinations. Straight off the plane I took in whiffs of that distinct tropical aroma – must be the humid air exuding some kind of scent. Birds chirp endlessly - both right next to our garden bure (aka thatched roof hut), but also off in the distance. Fiji Bitter tastes exactly like a nice tropical beer should, and my teeth recognized the texture of coconut as I gnawed on some freshly cracked pieces.
My little brother Luke recently told me about a couple extra senses he has – a sense of humor and sense of rhythm. We’ve already experienced the humor of the Fijians who work here – they learn your name quickly and then like to joke around with you, including throwing guests in the pool. Turns out this joking around is a huge part of the Fijian way.
So the pool. As with most cultures, the first week of the new year brings with it the traditions calling for luck in all aspects of life. Here in Fiji, submersing oneself in water is the key to a prosperous 2008. During daily tea time (4pm) yesterday, the guests and the staff were throwing each other in the pool fully clothed. Jumping in along with the person they dragged over too. As more and more of the guests were going in, we had a feeling it would soon be our turn. Sure enough, “Your turn America!” Ariella ‘cheated’ by taking her skirt off and jumping in with just her suit on. Next it was me, and I went in wearing my mumu with the staff member who jumped in holding onto/pushing me. We thought it was just one of those silly 'let's throw everyone in the pool' moments, but we found out later that it had a greater purpose.
Chatting late night with two Aussies who live in Suva, I asked if there is a way to experience a bit of Fiji traditions without going on a paid ‘village tour’ wherein you know you’re just getting a show. Wes and Ruth laid out a perfect plan for us, including rudimentary scratched out maps of where to get off the bus just over a bridge and wait by a hut to get picked up by a little speed boat. Now this is my kind of adventure.
Nice way to start 2008 being cleansed with some lucky Fijian water.