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Published: October 13th 2015
Standard sunset shot
Inno is about as stereotypical as a Fijian can get. Substantial in size, loveable, a broad grin tattooed on the front of his melon and if any more laidback he’d be comatose. Inno’s job was ostensibly to mow the lawns of a little resort in Fiji’s Muscat Cove.
Whipper-snipper in hand, he would loll around the grounds, regularly stopping to chat with guests, disappear for the occasional nap and every now and then he would even get around to cutting some grass.
Watching Inno one day actually carrying out his job description, he came across a lone coconut in the middle of the lawn. You could almost see the cogs turning inside his head as to what might be the most energy-conservative action to take. He could have bent over, picked up the offending coconut and put it in the bin. Nah. Inno decided to snip around the edges of the pesky object before moving on. At least he ignored the Fiji national default option of doing nothing at all.
That begged the question. Are Fijians the laziest people on Mother Earth or should we all take a leaf out their book
and sit back and realise the absence of time restraints is a valid concept in the South Pacific? One safe bet is that Fiji as a whole must be way down the totem pole on stress related illnesses.
Just coming to Fiji was a shot out of the blue. Having friends in all the right places is a nice trump to have up your sleeve:
“Hey Gaz, a bunch of the guys are going to Fiji for a week. Feel like jumping on board”?
“I’m not sure”.
“I’ll go grab the passport. If it’s free, it’s for me”.
Our mate Rallo has a little time share at Muscat Cove and with a spare week available how do you say no?
From the instant you exit the plane in Nadi you feel as though you have stepped into putyourfeetup.com. Time to dust off your best pair of thongs (flip flops for US readers). Life flows like treacle in Fiji, particularly so the locals themselves. They seem to almost race each other to see who can go the slowest.
It’s as if being caught asleep at the wheel would be worn as a badge of honour.
Is that lazy? I don’t know, one man’s lazy could easily be translated as another man’s languid. Far be it for us Westerners to try and interrupt the status quo but even so it would be nice every now and then to put a rocket up a couple of those unhurried butts.
Just try and organise a boat to zip out to the reefs to go surfing.
STEP 1 – go to the office and request said boat.
STEP 2 – incredulous look from staff and; “NOW? It’s past lunchtime”.
STEP 3 – confirm with a; “Yes, now please”.
STEP 4 – office staff radio through to boat driver leading to an elongated conversation in Fijian followed by; “No boats available”.
STEP 5 – we don’t speak Fijian and haven’t understood a word being said but translate “no boats available” as “I already worked 3 hours this morning, I’ve just had lunch, am ready for my afternoon siesta followed by a kava
session. Just tell those tourist killjoys there are no boats”.
Fijians could never be accused of being overly mercantile.
When you do actually manage to organise a sturdy vessel, there isn’t a great deal of bang for your buck. Service Industry is something of an alien concept in the islands. Was it my imagination or do the boat drivers gain some sort of sadistic pleasure out of making surfing as tough as possible. You want to climb back into the boat and he’ll place the ladder on the opposite side. He will anchor as far as possible from the break and in a position where you are required to paddle against currents that wouldn’t be out of place in the Colorado River rapids. The Fijians might not move much themselves but they seem to get a major kick out of other people burning up the calories.
I have the solution. As a rugby tragic I have been burning up the midnight oil with the Rugby World Cup in its meat and potatoes stages right now in England. As providence would have it, Fiji was in the same pool as our beloved
Wallabies, aka The Pool of Death. They may have only won a solitary match but the Fijian 15 dished out plenty of punishment to Australia, England and Wales. So you want to see a Fijian move faster than a speeding bullet and crash through brick walls? Shove a rugby ball under his arm.
Thus, note to Inno’s employer: attach a rugby ball to his trusty whipper-snipper. Not only will the lawn be mowed in record time but he may even get around to picking up the odd stray coconut.
More images at: www.colvinyeates.zenfolio.com
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