So, the photo in this blog of my feet swinging in the hammock with the view of the trees and beach beyond kind of epitomises the weeklong stay on the Coral Coast. We've been staying at the Tambua Sands hotel for the last 6 days. It's a small resort wedged between two small villages about a 15minute drive south of Sigatoka. The Warwick hotel chain bought it recently and have started renovating a couple of the beachfront bures (island-style cottages), but other than that, the place looks like it hasn't been touched since the 1980's. Not my favourite era when it comes to style or fashion, but in this case, 80' tropicalia is quaint and unpretentious.
The weather has been unbelievably stormy - it's supposed to be the dry season, after all! One night, in particular, the sound of the waves crashing repeatedly over the beach and onto the lawn, only mere metres away from the bure front door, and kept me awake all night! My restless sleep was disturbed further by the almighty crack-bang of a thunderbolt nearby. That, and the sound of heavy fruit dropping onto the bure roof kept us awake all night.
In the mornings, I pass the Butu tree with it's huge white and pink flowers strewn all over the ground. The smell is an intoxicating mixture of jasmine and exotic "otherness". The trees swoosh and sway in the Pacific breeze and, as ever, I am vigilant about coconuts falling on my head (one can never be too sure where one of these things could land on from a dizzy height).
I have amassed one of the most amazing shell collections ever! Especially after the stormy waves literally dumped tons of coral and shells onto the seashore. I came across some local kids from the neighbouring village and they also helped me to find some unbelievably huge and beautifully intricate specimens. Unfortunately, because of the sheer size and weight, I had to go through a severe weeding process and I have since posted them back home - hopefully they will make it back in one piece!
We've met a retired Australian couple, Grant and Carol, who have been coming to Fiji since the 70's! They spent a few days here before joining their daughter at another resort a bit further down the road. We would chat to them everyday and catch up on some island gossip - they've been to all the places on the main island!
I'd wanted to do some more sightseeing and perhaps an activity or 2, but I started to feel incredibly relaxed (and/or lazy) and, combined with the unusually stormy weather, I never got around to it. Everyday, I would lie in the hammock and read a book or learn some Spanish on my audio guide. I guess I may be starting to get travel fatigue?
Anyways, on my final day in Fiji, I got a bee in my bonnet and went to Sigatoka to post everyone's cards and send a package back home. I managed to shop quite a few other bits 'n pieces too.
I loved Fiji: the people were really the friendliest I have ever encountered on any of my travels - even though many live in poverty and have very little by way of modern resources. The landscape is lush and tropical and it's a place where you can relax and take the time to reflect and enjoy life.