THIS jaunty journey begins at Fiji’s major airport of Nadi, aboard a stiflingly hot, crowded, 16-seater plane. Regular followers of The Global Goddess know that she finds small planes about as appealing as Brisbane blokes. Some days they turn up, others they don’t. They’re often late, are prone to leaving you stranded in a remote locale, and when things get bumpy, it’s unpleasant. On this occasion, just as we’re about to take off, the avionics screen goes blank (a little like a Brisbane bloke) and we taxi back to the hangar. I should point out I’d rather this scenario occurs on the ground, than when we’re in the air, and an hour later we’re back on board enroute to the remote northern island of Savusavu, via the capital of Suva.
On my Suva stopover I meet two colour characters: a bubbly blonde from Hobart who is off to a health retreat at which, she has been told, she will be handed a snorkel and a horse for the week. The Hobartarian confesses the retreat follows a heavenly hedonistic week in Las Vegas which ensued after she and her brother won a significant sum of cash at Hobart’s casino, departed the gambling den at 2am, and boarded a flight to Vegas with their winnings, four hours later. It was only halfway across the Pacific Ocean, when they started to sober up, did they realise what they were actually doing. Suffice to say, she needs that horse and snorkel real bad.
The other character is a young man from Utah who proudly informs me he hails from a Trump voting state. “Gawd,” I sputter, “but you didn’t vote for him, did you?” The coy look on this young man’s face teaches me a very valuable lesson: That I should never again ask an American that question (I mean, clearly, yet inexplicably, someone voted for him) and I board my next small plane flight convinced I could die next to a Trump supporter. Or worse, be stuck on a life raft out in the middle of the South Pacific, with one. I think I need a horse and snorkel.
I arrive safely in Savusavu for the wedding of my lovely friend Saskia. We met three years ago, in Fiji, just as we she was about to head to a remote island for some voluntourism work. Over breakfast, we were bemoaning the lack of decent dates back in Australia when a mutual friend walked past, heard Saskia was off to this particular island, and mentioned a dive instructor called Pauliasi who worked on that island. One day Saskia wandered down to the dive centre, met Paul, and they fell in love. You can date every bloke in Australia and your soul mate might just be sitting out there in the South Pacific somewhere. And so, on the finest Fijian Friday, they wed. The bride, channeling all of the elegance of Grace Kelly and the groom, mustering that handsome strength of a Fijian warrior. I stand under the stars and thank the full moon for this amazing opportunity. I get to do a lot of cool things in my job, but you can’t buy entry into a traditional Fijian wedding of two people you love.
We all wept. We all danced in the sand to a live band. On the dance floor I was accosted by a Fijian man who introduced himself as Solomon and who offered to show me around the island. He kissed me on the cheek and then he disappeared into the night, never to be spotted again. Minutes later I was introduced to Sonny, one of the Fijian relatives to whom I suspect I had been promised in marriage. We shook hands and then Sonny declared he was off to “get drunk.” I have that effect on men. It was only two days later, over breakfast, that Pauliasi told me that there were scores of Fijian men at the wedding approaching him to ask about the blonde woman on the dance floor (me) and trying to muster the courage to approach her. Opportunity lost, fellas.
Later that night I arrived back by boat from the wedding venue with three other Aussies, all of us in search of a cab on this remote Fijian island. A clean-cut bloke pulled up in his ute, admitted he wasn’t a cabbie, but offered to drive us to our resort. At the other end, we offered him money, be he politely declined.
“No thanks,” he said “I have to park my car for the night, I’ve just been at the wedding and I’m so drunk.”
I really need to find me that horse and a snorkel.
The Global Goddess funded her own trip to Fiji. Keep an eye out for my upcoming blog on Fiji’s luxurious Namale Resort, which was one of the most romantic experiences of my life. And in the meantime, check out some more of my Fiji photos on Instagram @aglobalgoddess
HE shared the same name as a major Italian city and was a journalist, which ticked two boxes: he had an interesting moniker and could spell. So, it was without hesitation that I decided to go on a date with a friend of one of my male mates. Unfortunately, he also looked like a garden gnome, replete with round belly, long, sharp nose, pointy ears and glasses. Twenty minutes into the date, during which the gnome spent twenty minutes looking at my breasts (in his defence he was also short so was eye level with my cleavage) the gnome decided I wasn’t up to standard and promptly left. The gnome later told my male mate that I wasn’t “like a supermodel”.
Imagine my delight yesterday, three years later, when my male mate got married and, along with the obligatory pervy uncle with the wife 30 years his junior on the guest list, appeared the gnome. Now, I knew the gnome was going to be at the wedding, and would like to say I deliberately chose to wear my sexiest off-the-shoulder red number, but truth-be-told, it was the only decent wedding attire I had. What I didn’t know was that two of my girlfriends, one I hadn’t seen in months, and another in a decade, would also turn up at the wedding in similar red dresses. So, rather than looking single and sexy, I looked like one third of the Pointer Sisters and I’m pretty sure everyone was wondering what our first act would be.
The gnome turned up in an ill-fitting suit where the pants and sleeves were too long and his pants had faded prematurely in relation to his suit jacket. I would be lying if I said when he lit up a cigarette just as a petrol tanker drove past that I didn’t harbour a brief fantasy of a random explosion, but I figured that might put a dampener on the wedding celebrations.
Also on the guest list were a bunch of rather dowdy wives who all looked like they’d been to the same hairdresser and there had been a special on mousy brown hair colour, a horrible fringe, and a perpetual frown.
I, on the other hand, love weddings, and adopt the all-Australian attitude that you take the cost of what you spend on the gift, multiply this by a factor of five, and then proceed to redeem your gift cost by drinking as much alcohol as possible. This is also possibly why the groom put my girlfriends and I on the table up the back of the room, behind a post. Which suited me fine, as we were also the closest to the dance floor.
During the evening the gnome, who is still single – clearly Brisbane has a dearth of supermodels looking to date gnomes – spent several hours looking longingly in my direction, according to my girlfriends. Either that, or he had never seen an Australian woman drink so much Sav Blanc and still be standing.
It was all going so well, and I was out front, in the middle of the dance floor teaching the relatives from country South Australia how to do Nutbush City Limits (it’s kick, kick, clap and THEN turn people!), when the gnome decided to grab his jacket and depart. It was only 8.30pm so I can only assume he had double booked his night and was off to entertain at a children’s party. Again, either that, or he had caught a glimpse of my beige control underwear which was doing a mighty fine job keeping my tummy, bum and thighs in check, thus confirming his suspicions that I am not a supermodel.
The night continued and the mousy brown brigade continued to sit with their cat’s bum faces. They were less-than-impressed when I accidently broke a glass while alternatively playing the drums on the table and a glass with a spoon. And even less impressed when that crazy Korean Psy’s Gangnam Style came on and I busted out some moves (and possibly my dress).
By the end of the night it was just me and one of my Pointer Sisters left on the dance floor, all cat’s bums and gnomes long-since departed.
I limped home with bleeding feet, reeking of sweat, and hair all mussed up which in my opinion, are all the hallmarks of a splendid evening. I had quite simply, had a ball and realise it’s moments like these it can be great fun being single.
I imagine the mousy browns have probably awoken this morning without a hair out of place, their faces fixed firmly in a line of disappointment, arranging to meet each other for a cappuccino and discuss that outrageous lady in red.
As for the gnome, I checked in my garden this morning just to be sure and there was no trace of him. Given it’s just over two months to Christmas, I guess he’s busy getting ready to be Santa’s little helper.