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Published: February 8th 2021
Last stop on this sojourn was a return to the Shangri La's Fijian Resort on the Coral Coast. We didn't think that it was all that big when we'd visited it four years earlier, but maybe the builders had just been very busy since. Our room was about as far from the "action" as it was possible to get. I'm pretty sure I remember counting more than 800 steps to dinner one night. I hope we were actually staying in the right resort, and that we hadn't instead accidentally wandered into rooms in the next resort along the coast. Our interconnecting rooms had TVs. Groan. Why is it that teens and pre-teens are so attracted to electronics. We could have stayed at home and saved a lot of money if all they'd wanted to do was glue themselves to movies all day. And they seemed to manage to attract a large group of friends. It wasn't unusual to find a dozen or so youngsters draped over the room's beds and chairs, engrossed in whatever was showing on the sacred screen.
We took a tour from the resort along the coast to the so-called Robinson Crusoe Island. The first part of
the trip was in a small train along a track that I think was used to transport sugar cane. Then it was over on to some speedboats for the short trip out to the small island. If the ever reliable Wikipedia is to be believed, it holds quite a bit of cultural significance. There's apparently evidence of civilisation there dating back to 1500 BC, and it's close to an area where the first humans are believed to have settled in Fiji. Until a resort was developed there it was "reserved as a location for significant ceremonies and Chiefly gatherings". The locals called it Likuri Island, and it was apparently only renamed after a yacht was shipwrecked on a nearby reef, and the owner and his cat took refuge there. The cat was called Friday. I'd like to believe that a "Chiefly gathering" was held to decide on the name change, but somehow I doubt it.
I'd also like to believe the bit about the cat being called Friday, but I couldn't help but notice that the whole Wikipedia page on the island was headed with a few perhaps slightly concerning notes: "this article has multiple issues. Please help improve
it....", "this article contains content that is written like an advertisement...". Now I'm not sure what to believe. I think I've always known that anyone can add or edit Wikipedia articles, however "editors' ... unreviewed research will not be allowed to remain" and "the content must be free of ... contentious material about living people". Why only living people? What ever happened to "not speaking ill of the dead"? I wonder how you'd go about reviewing research on what a cat was called. I suppose you could ask the owner, provided he was still alive, and if he wasn't well Wikipedia apparently doesn't care what you say about him. I've often relied on Wikipedia for research on the background for blogs on places we've visited, but maybe I need to rethink this. Or, of course, I could as usual just be overthinking all of this a bit.
The island was effectively a small backpacker resort, and we enjoyed an excellent day there. Emma found some backpackers to play Spit with. This game wasn't being played up on a first floor balcony, so unlike on Mana Island there wasn't the same risk of cards going missing as they were being
flung in all directions. We also enjoyed a traditional Fijian feast where the meat was cooked in an underground oven. We were told that the island was well known as a turtle sanctuary. After lunch we were herded around a small sandy mound on the beach where we were told that if we stayed really quiet, the turtle that was hiding under it would soon crawl up out of the sand and make its way down towards the water. We all held our breaths. The silence was deafening. Just a bit longer they kept saying, it'll come out eventually. The eco-tourists in the group were on a knife edge; cameras at the ready. The suspense was palpable. Suddenly an explosion of sand, and a Fijian man wearing a turtle shaped hat sprung up from his hidey hole under the mound. Groan.
Back at the Shangri-La, Issy and I decided to join a group of other guests for some snorkeling off a boat. It was a bit windy, and the boat trip wasn't all that smooth. Issy's never been a great sailor, and white paper bags have sometimes been required. No problem she thought, I'll just get in the water
with all the other snorkelers and all will be well. I hadn't realised that swimming in wavy water could induce seasickness, but apparently I was mistaken. The upside was of course that we suddenly seemed to be attracting far more than our fair share of colourful fish....
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