AT first I was afraid, I was petrified. Gloria Gaynor is trying to lure me into the Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji’s Vakavanua bar where a group of merry Maoris is staging a post-wedding party. Before I have time to ponder my comparative lack of rhythm (play that funky music white girl), a woman – twice the size of me and my mate – yanks the two of us onto the dance floor. We are too afraid to protest and frankly, our South Pacific sista has all the moves. It’s only later, when we see her with another woman in an affectionate head lock, we realise how lucky we’ve been.
I’m on this island nation’s Coral Coast but it’s not the usual picture-postcard experience I’m enjoying. Sure, there’s coconuts, hammocks, swaying palm trees, and merry marriage-makers, but there’s just one of Fiji’s fabulous faces. This journey begins in the Sigatoka Valley known as the “fruit bowl of Fiji” which rests inland from the Coast through a lush tropical valley. I’m on the Sigatoka Cave Safari in a bouncy off-road vehicle which makes me wish I’d worn a sport’s bra. Never mind, there’s too much to see as we carve our way through traditional villages before arriving at our destination, and besides, with my bra-less breasts I feel like I’m embracing the inner islander I’m convinced lays inside every uptight white person.
At this stage, I should point out that The Global Goddess is not very intrepid. I’m clumsy, I slip, I trip, and I break bones in the most unlikely of scenarios. I’m talking situations so incredulous, that I have to sometimes lie to emergency room doctors about how events unfolded. But on this occasion, I’m in good company with a group of new friends for whom strange things also seem to happen. And thus we march bravely forth.
“You’re in the jungle now,” our host says simply and with that, we begin a muddy trek down to the Naihehe Cave where the Sautabu people used to eat their enemies. Little white girls like me wouldn’t have stood a chance. We wade through cool water and pass through three chambers including a tight spot known as the pregnancy passage – if you get stuck, it means you are pregnant. Thankfully, there’s none of that here today. Unfortunately, for my friend Laura, who has indulged in a fake tan before her Fiji trip, the cave water does act like a paint stripper, and she emerges looking part Pointer Sister and part Scissor Sisters. Chantay is convinced there’s a (harmless) bug in her hair, I’m thinking about sex, and Shannon is already talking about what she wants for dinner.
Back in the village with the chief and a group of his men, I introduce myself as The Global Goddess and they nod like it’s the most natural thing in the world as we share a sacred cup of kava and partake in this honourable tradition. I only wonder what he makes of me and my motley crew of mates.
The next day I meet Fred, Fiji’s rare crested iguana at the Kula Ecopark Fiji. This is Fiji’s only wildlife park and facility for the breeding of endangered species as well as the only free environmental educational facility for school children. Lounging lizards not your thing? Well you can also cuddle a boa constrictor, or simply wander through this lush acreage punctuated with turtles, birds and bats. Chantay wraps the baby boa around her arm and it gives her a little nip, Laura has gone all jungle-girl in leopard print and lipstick, I’m thinking about sex, and Shannon is talking about lunch.
We spend the afternoon in the Bebe Spa Sanctuary – I told you we were hard core – where I have booked the Ultimate Bebe Fijian Polish. This two-hour treatment includes something called a Dilo (I swear I read dildo) and leaves me scrubbed seashell-smooth and relaxed. At the end of the two hours my therapist looks puzzled and asks whether I have another treatment booked. I reply in the negative and look at the piece of paper she is clutching in her palm. It says simply “back wax.” First I escape the Maori wedding, only to have a close call with a back wax.
We amble back down the hill to the resort. It’s dinner time, Chantay now has pretty pink nails, Laura has survived the massage she had originally feared, I’m thinking about sex and Shannon is talking about food.
The Global Goddess was a guest of Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji – http://www.outriggerfiji.com. Guests who stay in the resort’s bures and suites enjoy a daily Talai butler service where an attractive Fijian arrives daily with champagne and canapés at cocktail hour. It’s a 24-hour service you can enjoy.
Later this month, the resort will open its exclusive adult’s only pool and poolside bistro called Vahavu which means to “chill out and relax”.
Also check out: Bebe Spa Sanctuary – http://www.bebespafiji.com; Off Road Cave Safari – http://www.offroadfiji.com; Coral Coast Tourism – http://www.coralcoastfiji.org; and Kula Ecopark Fiji – http://www.fijiwild.com.