What are my first impressions of Fiji?
Joy, calm, happiness and friendliness. It just feels so good to be away from development. Here the people are in the streets talking, laughing, walking slowly. The bus has natural air conditioning (no windows). I've had two marriage offers within my first hour off the plane. Obviously I’m not the only one who thinks it’s not right to be 40, childless and never married.
On arrival I am delighted to see the male airport officials in floral shirts and wrap around skirts. Mar, who greeted me at the airport to take me to my accommodation, promised me my Fijian husband to be would be wearing a skirt at our wedding.
In my dorm are two neigh neigh horse play horsey girls from country Glostershire in the UK. They are celebrating the completion of their masters with a southern hemisphere adventure. In the bar I can hear American accents and there are Indians in every nook and cranny. No evidence of Australia, very nice. I think it’s been too long since I was in another culture.
Another cocktail and maybe wander down to “Sitar” for a curry…. when in Rome do as the Indians????
Maybe it’s just because people want my tourist money, but I have the feeling that they like me, they have time to chat, they laugh at my jokes and they are helpful. Their good spirits towards me do feel genuine. It’s really really nice to feel liked. It’s so good for my self esteem. I know I’m good and likeable, but some evidence doesn’t hurt at all.
After chatting with the equestrians I was happy to learn that they too had experienced this notion of stress and study induced brain damage. So it’s not only me doing spoonerism-o-rama and loss of short term memory etc. Good news is that after a while in Fiji brain function returns to normal.
It becomes evident how regulated, controlled and ordered Australia is once you are out of it. I'm now required to think for myself, use my initiative. In which filing cabinet of my brain are those skills? I haven't used them since I left Europe five years ago. There are no signs or policeman or advertising to tell you when to cross the road, who to give way to, where to leave your luggage , what to buy, what to eat and how much and when etc etc etc. Maybe the cost is a little chaos, but isn’t that better than being constantly watched and treated like brainless idiots?
Today I lazed around the backpackers hostel and made some jewellery out of coconut fronds at a craft workshop. In the late afternoon all the guests got together and had drinks. I think I over did it. Looks pretty harmless though.
I feel really terrible. I am socially so insecure. I am so wanting to interact with people and I find it so stressful being in company because I am so scared of annoying them or disturbing them. It’s really difficult to feel confident about myself. I know that a fat woman who walks around feeling confident about herself is a real admirable woman, yet I don’t feel that confident all the time even though I feel it some of the time. I have considered lying and saying that I suffer a medical condition that makes me fat despite my diet and excersie regime. But I really can’t lie. I know I am obese because I am lazy and because I eat and drink too much.
I am so sick of depression. I thought I came here for a holiday and now I am burdened with ill health yet again. Lets hope for tsunami.
What was that all about? Hmm, I was drunk last night. Evidence that my non-drinking efforts are good for me and are worth the effort.
Today I came back to Nadi (pronounced Nandi??? Go figure!) from the Coral Coast. I am staying at the Raffles Gateway Hotel right next to the airport. It's very beige, desperately lacking charm or Fijianess. Tomorrow Amy and I fly to Kiribati. I’m very excited. I think in the way that Morocco is the hard core version of Tunisia, Kiribati will be like the hard core version of Fiji, lets see if I’m right.