LIKE so many of my travel tales, the adventure tends to begin before I even enter the country in which I am attempting to visit, in this case, at Nadi International Airport. It’s a Good Friday in every sense of the word when my sister and me land in Fiji, having made last-minute plans to savour a splice of this Pacific paradise. And we are in grand spirits, fuelled by the thought of hot weather, hot men, snorkelling, swimming and sunshine.
We are greeted at the Fijian Immigration counter by Fijian Indian Tish, who seems somewhat aroused at the concept that not only are we sisters, but we are travelling without our (non-existent) husbands. So excited is Tish, that he suggests we meet later at Nadi’s “Ice Bar” and even goes as far as to suggest he gives us his phone number, along with our stamp to enter his country. As tempting as Tish is, we eschew his invitation and head out to our waiting car, where we meet fellow Fijian Indian Pannu. Now, Pannu is the kind of man you want when you’re running late for the airport to catch your flight out, or potentially trying to outrun the police in a high-speed chase. For Pannu is one of life’s highways great travellers who can drive at ferocious speeds while answering any number of calls on his mobile phone. In a bid to calm my nerves I ask Pannu whether he can tune the radio into some Fijian music. He fiddles with the knobs before he settles on Olivia Newton-John. Pannu, it appears, is hopelessly devoted – to adrenalin – as he tailgates yet another car which has a bumper sticker declaring “Crazy Boy…Only 4 U…Not 4 All”.
We’re staying at the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort, perched on a luscious lagoon along the Coral Coast. Regular readers will remember I was here a few years back on a work trip, and it’s the kind of place to which you vow to return some day with someone you love. While my search for the love of my life continues, my sister makes a very good substitute, such are our shared interests of good wine, fabulous food, water sports and delicious black men. And this is the perfect place in which to experience all four. Last time I was at the resort, it was still building its new Adult’s Only pool, but this time it was completed it all its child-free glory. Even the pool’s name Vahavu, which means to “chill out and relax”, sets the scene for long, languid days without having to listening to the dulcet tones of Marco/Polo being shouted across the sunscreen. And it is Fiji’s only Adult’s Only pool with swim-up pool bar, something which is not lost on the women in my family who have been known to enjoy a cold beverage.
On the first night, there’s a sharp knock on the door of our room and what turns out to be our private butler for the duration of our stay appears with two champagnes and canapés, a quaint custom which is repeated nightly at 6pm. At first we panic and think Tish has managed to track us down from our immigration forms, sending us some sexy good times in the guise of our favourite tipple (did we put that on our forms?) but we realise this is just all part of the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort service, as too is the Adult’s Only breakfast at the Sundowner Restaurant, right on the beach and the Adult’s Only five-star Ivi Restaurant.
While it would be tempting to never leave the resort (and by never I mean not to return to Australia), it’s worthwhile taking advantage of some of the community programs with which the Outrigger is associated. While we don’t have time to participate in a construction project at the Conua School in the nearby Sigatoka Valley, we do attend Sunday Easter Mass at the nearby Malevu Village. The severely lapsed Catholics in both of us are beside ourselves with excitement as we amble along the beach to church, where we are greeted by the village like long-lost cousins. The sisters from another very white mister. We sit under a simple corrugated iron roof with mat floors – the original church across the road having been destroyed in a cyclone a few years back – and resist the urge to weep at the most silky voices on the planet. There’s two gifts with which every Fijian appears to have been born, voices which sound like honey and incredibly good looks. At one stage, the pastor asks whether any of the tourists would like to address the congregation and it takes everything in my power to resist leaping to my feet and asking the handsome men in the congregation to stand up if they are single and are looking for an Australian wife.
Back to the pool bar we trot, where the cocktail list reads like the kind of exotic novels Tish has been reading. There’s the Lost Bikini (apparently two have been mysteriously misplaced at this bar), Perfect Kiss, Passionate Bellini and Bush Man. My sister and me are pontificating perfect Fijian men, wondering out loud what it would be like to lick the coconut oil off their bare chests, when we are approached by a middle-aged white man. The kind of man who is used to everyone listening to his every word. Because he is middle aged and white. He interrupts our sexual fantasies to regale us with unsolicited stories of his past glories and then, incredulously announces “That’s the funny thing about black men, they think every white woman wants to sleep with them.” We stare at him, agog. And then I choose the only option available to me at this juncture of the conversation. I swim straight up to that pool bar and order me a Bush Man.
The Global Goddess flew and stayed in Fiji at her own expense. To book your own holiday at the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort go to http://www.outrigger.com