chatting, life, travel

Fiji Travel Journal Part Six: Mushroom Brains, Front Naps and Tuna Smashing

Part One: Donuts, Margaritas and Waistcoats
Part Two: Airports, Adoption and the Kindness of Strangers
Part Three: Binkies, Babes and Bathtubs
Part Four: Carbs, Catamarans and Cast Away
Part Five: Baronesses, Orations and Foreign Gems

We’ve got two hours left at sea today – an hour on our sailboat then an hour on the catamaran. The weather has started to turn, and so we all huddle under the sheltered part of the boat, and the crew get their guitars out. Annie has a beer in each hand and shows no signs of slowing, and is enthusiastically woohooing the traditional Fijian music with the energy of a teenage girl at a Bieber concert.

They ask for requests, and Annie turns to me, her confused frown so deep that it has reached the top of her nose.

“What’s… what’s a guitar… song? I can’t think of any. My brain is FRIED! Like a mushroom!”

We try to come up with popular guitar songs but can’t think of any beyond Kumbaya, and neither of us know how it goes.

“No, I know what we need! We need a Shrek song! Accidentally in Love… how does that go?”

Everyone's favourite campfire collection.
Everyone’s favourite campfire collection.

This is possibly the last thing I expected to come out of her mouth, and so I laugh. She shrugs and lies down, the whole music selection task proving too much of a challenge.

“I’m jus… jus… a nap on my front. You know what I mean? Wake me up if we get there.”

Now that she’s snoozing, I take some time to write in my travel journal and peek at the couple who I’ve been stalking since we boarded. The woman has bizarre facial features, and I can’t work out if it’s from plastic surgery or not. She looks like she’s making a lemon-face, but without the squinty eyes – no, her eyes are wide and without wrinkles. Picture Susan Sarandon being surprised at a sudden urge to vomit, and you’ve got it. Her husband is bald and deeply tanned, and has great legs for an older man – and I’m not a leg girl, so my appreciation really is saying something.

They are definitely not having a good day.

This morning when I started listening to their conversations he was already in trouble, because the yellow bag was back at the hotel, and that’s where the sunscreen is, and why didn’t he bring the yellow bag? I had considered feeling sorry for this man with the fantastic legs, and then he had sort of chuckled, and had said, “well, no, because, what purpose would I have? For the yellow, um, bag?”

Something about his phrasing was just so grating, and it made my skin go all itchy. I decided that if I swapped places with this Susan Sarandon woman, I would probably spend my life looking like I too was holding in the urge to be sick.

I’ve spent the day watching these two, taking perverse delight in their holiday frustrations and snappy bickering. Now that  we’ve all been out of the water for a while, her hair has dried in a Bride of Frankenstein electrified afro.

Right?! Now try to tell me that you wouldn't eavesdrop too.
Right?! Now try to tell me that you wouldn’t eavesdrop too.

I’m wondering if I can get away with taking a sneaky photo when Annie wakes up. She thanks me, profusely, for not leaving her behind on the boat. She then gets up and, swaying from side to side, attempts to walk towards the beer bin. A crewmember stops her, and I think she’s about to get cut off, but instead he just offers to fetch the beer for her.

Her nap has revitalised her, and she manages another four beers before we transfer to the catamaran. For those counting along at home, she’s now had seventeen cans of beer. It’s 4pm.


We board the catamaran and find the upper deck mostly empty, as the choppy ocean is sending layers of ocean mist over the side of the ship. Having discovered patchy stripes of sunburn where I failed to apply sunscreen properly, I’m generating my own heat at this point, and don’t mind staying outside. This is good news for Annie, who has already created a bed on the floor. Her sarong is draped over her like a blanket, and her towel is balled up under her head as a pillow.

“Wake me up at Beachcomber, ‘kay?” she asks. “That muscles guy better be on the boat. I’m gonna… I’m gonna.. ok. First, I’m gonna say, can I touch your guns?”

She nods sagely, satisfied with her own plan, and falls asleep. Earlier in the day she used her towel as a napkin. Now that it’s been repurposed as a pillow, the grease from the chicken kebab has now made the journey from cheek to towel to cheek again. It’s kind of nice, in a circle of life sort of way.

I sit and smile at a tiny Fijian boy with impossibly huge brown eyes who’s sitting three rows ahead with his dad. When I wave at him, he goes all shy, dropping behind the seat then peeking up again. In between bouts of feeling what I can only assume is my biological clock grinding its start-up gears, I keep watch over my drunken friend.

Five minutes into her sleep and she’s flung one arm above her head, freeing her left breast from her bikini. No one else can see, I don’t think, but I feel a bit strange having a close friend’s nipple and a stranger’s child playing peek-a-boo with me at the same time, so I cover her with my towel.

That's what friends are for.
That’s what friends are for.

We reach Beachcomber and I try to tap her awake. No luck. I end up having to grab her hip and thigh and rock her back and forth on the floor. Her eyelids flutter open.

“We’re at Beachcomber,” I tell her. “Remember? Muscles?”

She replies with “I have a pillow for you. A pee-low. Yes? Sleep. Naps? Ten minutes!”. She scoffs, as if it’s the most absurd suggestion she’s ever made, and immediately goes back to sleep.

Muscles doesn’t end up boarding, and instead a British girl who looks a bit like Amber Tamblyn sits between me and my wee Fijian friend. We start using her as a new obstacle in which to play peek-a-boo around, but this is quickly thwarted when she turns to look at me, eyes half-closed, and says “no, please, I’ll be sick”.

Her boyfriend joins her from the lower deck and they start talking about his friends’ tattoos. One has a dog smoking a cigar on his butt, on his butt! Amber is worried for when he turns 80, because “they need injections, when they’re old. And he’s supposed to show a DOCTOR that he’s got a smoking dog on his arse?” The boyfriend’s shakes his head and says, “well, you never see a tattoo parlour with an old man’s sleeve on the wall”. I feel like both of them just ignored each other’s argument entirely, but they seem content in their mutual oblivion.

Besides, some tattoos are timeless.
Besides, some tattoos are timeless.

After they discuss their dinner options, Amber notices Annie on the floor. She pokes her boyfriend in the ribs and whispers, “there’s someone down there!”

He glances at her and says “woah, check out her sunburn”. I look down and he’s right, Annie’s cooked her skin medium-rare today.

My earlier attempts to wake her had required such force that they probably left bruises, but apparently I should have just attempted an impression of a British man whispering. All of a sudden she’s awake and scrambling onto the seats with far more energy than I’d expect.

“I’m up! Oh my god. I can’t wait for dinner. I could smash a can of tuna, let me tell you. SMASH it. WOW my arms are warm!”

For some reason, this makes Amber and her boyfriend give each other a sneaky high five. I feel like these two are definitely going to outlast Vomity Susan Sarandon and Annoying Forgetful Legs.

“Um, are you sure you want to go to dinner?” I ask. “We can just get room service and do it tomorrow?”

“No” she says, emphatically, shaking her head back and forth. “Otherwise, Kate, we will just put it off FOREVER.”

Seventeen cans of beer, six chicken kebabs, no water. We are expected at a gourmet restaurant in an hour. Am I a terrible person that I have just shrugged and decided to go through with it to see what happens? I question my moral compass as we climb aboard a bus to get back to our resort. Annie slurs “sup” at a bewildered man then she falls asleep again, but so what? Friendly people who like their rest have still gotta eat, right?

To be continued…

> Next Fiji blog

10 thoughts on “Fiji Travel Journal Part Six: Mushroom Brains, Front Naps and Tuna Smashing”

    1. I know, she was so much fun to travel with! She’s approving all the blogs before I post them (seemed only fair!) and is thrilled we will remember all our antics 🙂

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