I thought it was special when Victoria wrote 'I Love Tom' in the sand; unfortunately she meant Tom Hanks, who filmed Castaway close to Mana Island, where we have been staying after nine days in Nadi.
Back in Nadi, on Vitu Levu, the largest of the Fiji Islands, Tom Hanks would struggle to draw the fans that Victoria seems to have. At Travellers Beach the staff shout 'Victoria!' in high-pitched tones at any available opportunity - I'm surprised paparazzi from the Fiji Times aren't following her around. It could just be that the people are ultra-friendly, but the same thing happens at random hotels that we go to for meals. If the Beatles, Nelson Mandela and Pat Butcher from Eastenders all went for a meal at Travellers Beach, they'd have to wait until Victoria had finished demanding garlic bread that isn't on the menu before they were even shown to their seats.
Wailoaloa Beach in Nadi is fine for general sunburning, but it isn't particularly clean and the sea is full of soil. It's also too cose to the airport and town to be considered a relaxing hide-away. Incidentally, anyone that enjoyed Castaway can now be annoyed by the fact that less than an hour away from Tom Hanks' deserted island is the Fiji branch of McDonalds. The beach is still beautiful though, especially at sunset: we thought so as we took a horse ride one evening (on horses obviously) - with not a word of complaint from Barnes about her sunburnt arse.
Mana Island (45 minutes by boat from Nadi) is far improved - white sands and crystal waters bordered by swaying palms and coral reefs. The peace and quiet is sometimes broken by village children, who on one occasion decided to steal our can of coke before savagely beating me and trying to steal Victoria's bikini bottoms, all before they ran off with my towel and played with it in the water. We stayed for a week at the Ratu Kini lodge, which lacked the friendliness and garlic bread of Travellers Beach. Miss Barnes isn't impressed by anything freshly caught or shaped like a body part, so often had to resort to eating cheese Bongos for dinner. I thought there was something sinister about the other backpackers on the island, who seemed cliquey and unfriendly: Barnes suggested I was paranoid, but I wasn't far from going all 'Leonardo Di Caprio' on them and shooting them with an imaginary twig gun from the bushes. Sunstroke is a very real possibility.
Our arrival back at Travellers beach this afternoon was phenomenal - the red carpet didn't cope very well in the surf. We have been invited to a lovo (barbeque) with Buna and her family on Thursday night before we leave for Auckland. This was decided one evening last week as we taught a couple of the staff how to play Uno, including how to shout abuse at the other players and storm of in a huff if necessary. I just hope Buna has a ready supply of cheese Bongos.
Victoria and Tom xxx