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
Part Six: Mushroom Brains, Front Naps and Tuna Smashing
Part Seven: Entree, Main Course and Dessert
Saturday 22 September
I hurt, everywhere. My patchy sunburn makes it impossible to lie on my back or my front or my side, and last night it took me a few hours to arrange myself into a pretzel configuration that didn’t send scritchy shivers down my back.
Of course, despite her seventeen beers yesterday, Annie springs out of bed without a hangover. I look like a tomato but her sunburn is already fading into a tan.
I think her body works differently to other people’s.
After our breakfast buffet (which I handle in a similar fashion to yesterday, except I also include two bowls of muesli) we plod back to the room to laze about on our balcony.
I flick through the literature available in our hotel room, starting with the newest issue of The Fiji Times. There’s been a prison breakout recently, and the paper mainly focuses on this, along with some surprisingly in-depth coverage about the Bollywood film industry. The Letters to the Editor page is amazing, with the local residents all offering up tips to police on how to catch the criminals. More than one literally cites a television show to back up their theories. The letter writers seem to truly believe the cops would have sorted this already, had they just watched Rookie Blue on Fiji One two nights ago.
After I get my fill of current affairs, there’s Denerau Magazine, a glossy publication pitched squarely at rich tourists. There are two-page spreads confirming that yes, golf is a great sport, and the undertone here is that you are a very smart executive for choosing Denerau to unwind, well done old chap! After reading it I feel like I’ve gained no knowledge but have vastly improved my self-esteem. I wonder if I can subscribe from New Zealand.
I’m radiating heat and the Fijian air makes me feel like I’m breathing into a hairdryer. My goal today is lie in a shaded area and to break the spine on my Jilly Cooper frothy holiday book. Annie wants to find some babes and sneakily sip rum from a plastic water bottle. Feeling like we’ve exhausted the babe-spotting possibilities at our current location, we decide to visit other resorts’ pools.
All the resorts in Denerau are right next to each other, sharing the beach area (though no one swims in the ocean—perhaps “sand” is considered a bit common?). You can wander five minutes along the beachfront then slide straight into a new pool. This behaviour is technically against the rules, so I spend the time peering around like a meerkat, watching for security. Of course, no one cares.
We spend a few hours getting wet (“swimming” implies some movement or physical activity, no, we just immerse ourselves in water then get out again), reading, and babe-spotting. Annie’s sad to discover that man drought situation is the same everywhere on Denerau, and so we walk back to our resort, grimacing at joggers for their stamina and complaining about the heat, but making sure to constantly reassure each other that we’d much rather be too hot in Fiji than in Wellington.
Happy hour is starting soon, and as we had such fun in the spa two nights ago, we return to the same spot to drink Fiji Golds and gossip about other guests. We wonder if he is single, and if her breasts are real, and how long those two have been dating. Two beers in and Annie’s laugh is reverberating around the pool, attracting attention from all directions.
I think her cackle was the bait that attracted a tall Australian man holding two plastic cups full of beer. He wanders over and says, “hey, can we join you?” and we shrug and say “sure”.
He puts the cups down and leaves, leaving us to wonder who the ‘we’ is that he referred to. Annie suggests excitedly that maybe it’s his single bearded chubby funny brother (she knows my type well) and maybe also they’re rich and want to take us out on jetskis? Feeling like this is sounding like a lot of work, I suggest we just steal the cocktails and run. I think Annie’s about to do it when he arrives back with a tiny and beautiful blonde. She’s got one of those character noses, the sort you wouldn’t specifically request from a plastic surgeon, but that makes her whole face make sense. She’s quiet and well-mannered and educated and you can just tell that his mother adores her.
He, on the other hand, is loud and animated, constantly leaping from story to story, pausing only to take swigs of beer. All of his stories involve drunken spewing or diarrhoea, and they are populated with people called “Bazza” and “Dave-o”, with minor characters referred to as drunk units, or horny units, or skinny units, or big c*nts. He’s so passionate about recounting his adventures that he waves his arms around and uses empty beer cups as props. At one point he even gets out of the pool so he can gesture down his legs to show how the cylinders of shit sprayed out when he was in China at his DJ mate’s gig.
Annie and I laugh until we hurt, declaring that we are now all the best of friends and they MUST come out to dinner with us. He’s obviously keen, as the sort of fellow who ends up pantsless in Beijing is not the sort to be scared of some kiwi girls, but I can tell his girlfriend is going to squash this plan as soon as we’re out of earshot. We go back to our room to get ready for dinner after they give us the soft-rejection of “We’ll call you!”
We drink Malibu out of teacups, not bothered that the ice hasn’t frozen completely. We’re drinking it too fast for the delicate shells filled with water bubbles to melt, so why does it matter? I queue Britney onto my iPhone and we sing along to the choruses as we get dressed. Annie’s asking if her skirt is too short and, snickering, we discover that if she leans back you can see what colour her underwear is. As she changes into a longer dress, I try to apply eyeliner. For some reason the line’s got all these wibbly bumps in it, and it’s smudging everywhere, and my left eye is thicker than my right eye, and all of a sudden I realise that at some point I’ve definitely gotten quite drunk.
During the fifteen-minute cab ride to the restaurant, I decide it is my job to change our driver’s impression of tourists. I emphatically share my very strong opinions about the current situation with the escaped criminals, spouting all sorts of views on it, surprising even myself with my sudden political interest. I realise only after getting out of the taxi that people slurring about things they don’t understand are probably his entire client base, and I will have done nothing but confirm all opinions he has about ignorant white girls.
Despondent, I decide to make myself feel better in the most efficient way I know how. We head to the restaurant to order some carbs and alcohol.
To be continued…