Wednesday, October 26 (Day 56)
Nanuya Lailai Island – Mantaray Island
There are only five of us staying here. I’m pleased actually. It’s good to mix it up and have days with nobody around. I even had the luxury of my own bure last night. Wendy serves up the pancakes, coffee and pineapple. I must admit I’m getting a buzz from the way the cute Swiss girl keeps staring admiringly at me and smiling every time her boyfriend looks away from the breakfast table.
I start heading back south through the Yasawas today. The head man takes me out on his longboat to rendezvous with the Yasawa Flyer. Wendy waves goodbye from the otherwise deserted coral-fringed shoreline. In the future when I think of Blue Lagoon it won’t be Brooke Shields that instantly comes to mind, but Wendy instead.
Just up the coast from his resort there must be twenty people walking about with purpose appearing to pick up debris.
Big wave came last night and destroy much of this place. Big mess.
Was it caused by an earthquake?
No, just big wave. Sea a little bit crazy last night
On board the Yasawa Flyer I swerve two juvenile couples I briefly met at coral view and I grab a seat near a young girl who appears to be travelling alone.
Mackie is from British Columbia, Canada. We make brief conversation but I start thinking of ways I can politely end the conversation as she looks pretty young and I don’t want her to feel like I’m imposing upon her. But Mackie keeps the conversation flowing. In fact, she leads the conversation and questions in a way I can never recall such a young lady doing so. Mackie is a gem. To my mind she is probably how Cristina, the lovely Kiwi lady who gave me my favourite road trip experience of the New Zealand tour, was when she was 18. She’s a little sweetheart, hippie of a girl. This is my second reference of the tour to the film Into the Wild, but Mackie is a little bit like the young hippie chick that Supertramp meets when he’s living at the trailer park.
She did her first solo road trip in Canada when she was 14. This is her second trip to Fiji alone and next spring she’s headed to the Philippines. I listen to her speaking and I’m thinking to myself please don’t change. Don’t become like the rest of them. How can she possibly be this thoughtful, intelligent and sociable in a charming way at the ripe old age of 18. I’m thinking you are going to be like this with the wrong bloke and he’s going to suck you in and destroy your perfection. She’s headed for the mainland to experience tonight’s Dawali festival. I’d be surprised if there is another female traveller in Fiji who would think to do that and plan her itinerary around it. I wish I wasn’t getting off at Manta Ray Island. I wish I could go with her and spend the whole day and night talking to her.
My call for my island comes far too early for my liking and I have to leave Mackie behind. German maverick is just getting on the boat as I leave. Wow, a female maverick and the world’s coolest 18 year old girl on the same boat.
Mantaray Island is absolutely gorgeous. For all intents and purposes this is a 3 or 4 star Pacific island resort. It is 50 dollars for me to stay in the dorm but I also have to cash out 67 for the compulsory full board meal plan. 117 dollars -40 quid- isn’t exactly backpacking. It’s almost midrange package holidaying. As much as I would like to stay on and explore the Yasawas for a few more days this archipelago is seriously denting my bank account. I’m going to have to get myself back to the mainland and find some budget places next week.
What is the opposite of sausage fest? What would be the polite, politically correct phraseology I should use? Cucumber Party maybe? The island is packed with young twenty something females and barely a single bloke in sight, although there is a pack of diving instructors waiting in the wings eyeing up the new arrivals and saying their farewells to two English floozies who they appear to have slept with yesterday. At the welcome meeting I try to break the ice by cracking a joke with three of the English birds. But they are not having any of it. Up their own arses and high and mighty. You know the drill by now with my fellow countrybirds. I don’t fancy you ladies (although, admittedly, for a change one of them is actually quite fit). I’m just trying to lighten the mood. While the Fijian host explains about the island resort I find myself sat here fighting the terrible urge to rudely interrupt her and to tell the English birds to go #### themselves. How can my homeland have produced so many rude, thick young women full of a false sense of importance? These girls aren’t worthy of tying Mackie’s shoe laces together. Two girls from Italy and Germany come over and chat to me on the beach afterwards. You wouldn’t get too many English birds doing this. Whatevvvvver.
As I mentioned, it is Dawali today but the only Indo-Fijian in sight is the resort chef, so there will be no mad suicidal firework show here sadly. The lad in question, head-a-wobbling, does do a wicked pumpkin curry and pea soup dhal for dinner however.
After the gorgeous dinner it is ‘games’ in the beachside bar. Maverick told me about this when he stayed here on his way up north.
They play a few games, then it becomes drinking games and some of the girls start drinking cocktails. Then somebody sticks on that Moby tune from The Beach and the girls just can’t help themselves. A few of the younger birds got properly drunk, stripped naked and ran into the sea. You know birds. They love that kind of crap. I ended up banging one of them in the sea. It was alright at the time but it didn’t really help much (Maverick is dealing with splitting up from his ex). The next day I felt the same again. It does make you laugh though with women. How they always fall for that kind of bollo###.
As the games commence I look around and do a quick calculation on the ratio. Forgetting couples, because they are irrelevant to proceedings, there are:
- One group of four English birds (the shockingly up their own arses crew mentioned earlier)
- Two American girls (knocking about with the English strutters so let’s not go there)
- German and Italian girls travelling together (German girl isn’t fit but she’s definitely a very nice girl. The Italian says she hates backpackers)
- Two Swedish girls (One smiles and seems nice. The other spends all her time looking at herself in reflections, but I reckon she’s a bit low on self-esteem and is also a nice girl)
- Second group of four English girls (Friendly enough and not bad looking, to be fair. But they grate on me. I listen to them talking about shopping and London and something just makes me want to scream Leave me alone!)
- One muscular bloke from Belgium – let’s call him Van Damne
So, in other words, there are 14 girls and 2 blokes here. So, knowing that almost all women are capable of cheating if they think they can get away with it (middle of the Pacific should suffice), that makes it a quite unbelievable 7:1 single females to males ratio. But, you know what? I just can’t stand the eight English girls and I can feel that every single one of them doesn’t like me. Most of them just seem like annoying little girls who’ve just left school.
Things pass much as Maverick described but with only Van Damne showing any kind of interest in the crowd of females, the Moby-run-into-the-sea-and-frolic-naked-bit never happens. Two-by-two, and four-by-four the English girls all begin to do the same thing: They stretch, yawn, say ‘oh my God, I’m so tired’ and then get up to leave saying ‘Good night then’ (forgetting to make the false smile last until at least they’ve walked away).
All who remain are me, Van Damne, and a young German couple (Julian and Ingrid) whom I met earlier on the trip. Van Damne (32) is, like me, a bitter and twisted man. 15 months ago he walked into his apartment in the Flemish part of Belgium and found his fiancé having sex with another man. It’s strange but I didn’t really want to beat him up. But I told them that I wouldn’t leave until she told me how long this had been going on. She sort of denied it all even though I was right there and I’d caught them in the act. But the guy was shaking. He thought I was going to kill him. And, finally, he says ‘quite some time’.
One and a half years on, Van Damne reckons he’s just about coming to terms with it all. I don’t hate her. It just sucks all your energy out. What happened did give him the kick he needed to finally go travelling after talking about it for ten years. But you can tell it’s destroyed him. And you should see the look of shock on the German couple’s face as next I tell my story of woe and then Van Damne and I pull out tale after tale of the fairer sex destroying their partners:
American bloke I met in NZ. Dated his childhood sweetheart from the age of 18 for ten years. Then they got married. One month into the marriage he finds out she’s having an affair. She started it one month before they got married. The lad in question now lives in NZ where he is trying to get himself together, two years after the event.
English bloke aged 45, dating a 31-year-old. Been together four years. On the Friday he asks her to marry him. She says yes. On the Monday she’s acting a bit odd and he finds her madly skypeing someone. Turns out she’s been having an affair for 6 months.
Belgian couple Van Damne knows. Husband working long hours. She gets bored and sleeps with a guy. She gets pregnant. Her and her husband not sleeping together much but as soon as she finds out she’s pregnant she invites him to enjoy a weekend of wild passion with her. Of course, this is done so that the geezer ends up thinking the kid is his. It is only when the kid is four that he accidentally finds out because of some blood test that his son is not his son at all.
Van damne and I tell another half dozen tales like this. The unifying factor in the tales seems to be that the women are all in the 27 to 32 age bracket and all of them cheat when either close to marriage or in marriage. Taking a break and swigging some of my Rum & Coke I glance away from Van Damne, whose veins seem to be pulsing in his neck, and notice that the young German couple look in pieces. It’s almost like they didn’t know that the world is really like this. The girl looks embarrassed and sorry for Van Damne and me. The German lad is sort of staring ahead into the distance into nothingness. Van Damne and I both twig this at the same moment, look at each other and realise it’s time for the bitter and twisted to call it a night.