We’ve found it quite difficult to relax and be aimless – difficult to adjust our mindsets to not having something we HAVE to do or somewhere we HAVE to be.
Not a bad ‘problem’ to have I grant you, but still! I wouldn’t have this problem if we were on holiday – I’m usually so obsessed with making the most of our time and not wasting it by spending time in our room or whatever. But seeing as we’ve going to be fairly free for a long time, I’ve had to let that go. Not that I’m not naturally lazy – I include lying on the beach as doing something/not wasting time! We have gradually got more relaxed as the days have gone on and as it’s so easy to do, slipped into a casual little routine.
So, what interesting has happened? Depends how you define interesting, but in summary we have experienced the following over the last few days:
Jugs of beer (Both)
A pet fly (Mark)
6am Lizard time
Lecture giving to some poor, young backpacker about putting a knife in the toaster (definitely not me)
Falling out of hammocks
Enjoying of air seats – like hammocks but without the falling (Both)
At the weekend they had a works xmas party at the hostel for the Fijian shipping company. Not like our xmas works parties I can tell you. Well maybe – lots of drinking the same – lots of amazing singing – how can they all harmonise so well? Lots of whopping, dancing and craziness. And that was just the daytime – they then all sobered up (a bit) and spruced themselves up for dinner – the ladies looked just divine!!!
On Tuesday we decided we were at risk of getting too lazy so decided to go on the Jungle Trek trip. Sounded impressive but we were pretty sure it would end up being a fairly gentle stroll through the jungle. We were very, very wrong.
We started out in the local village where Juta told us the story of the fortune of the village from days of old and about the local school having been built by the Korean people (odd!). He was also talking about his way of life – he’s 58, fit as a fiddle and treks every day and is poor but happy – and about the rich world, sitting at desks, buying cars, not living life – was a very apt description of Mark and I to say the least. Not sure if the coca cola truck, which went through the quiet village behind him as he talked, strengthened or weakened the message!!!
We headed up into the hills and into the jungle and then it started to get interesting. Some initial water crossings had us trying to keep our feet dry by standing on rocks – we pretty much gave up on that and just waded through, as we then just gave in and waded through tracks of mud. We climbed up and down high stream beds and it started to get pretty tough but definitely enjoyable. The heat was a bit of a hinderance. It was humid and the air was thick and with the exertion it was tight catching your breath and so we were grateful when it clouded over and rained a little.
I seemed to have a real issue with crossing the streams – I was supposed to jump or step from one rock to another but early on I slipped on the rocks and went crashing down – Juta holding onto my arm with the rest of my bashed body dangling in the water. I was pretty sick of this by about the 7th time I had done it, so I really began to dread being near the streams. I was much happier on the muddy path – I seemed to be able to manoeuvre those quite easily. At one point I got a little cocky and was scooting around like what I thought to be a mountain goat (in reality was probably more like a mountain cow). The slipping was a little treacherous though, if you looked down some of the steep slopes you could see the possibility of it ending in tears. At one particularly slippery part we’d all used a tree to lean on to pass and when Mark, who was at the back, did the same, the tree (the very large tree) came out from the roots and fell down!!! Read what you will into that and his brute strength
We eventually came to the waterfall which was our chill out point. Or so I thought. I thought this would be some lagoon where we could swim over leisurely to the edges of it – not so. The water was murky due to previous days storm and when it became clear our task was to make our way through the pool beneath to then climb up onto the waterfall itself my heart sunk. I’m not a water fan and particularly one of my biggest fears is river water where I can’t see what lies beneath. But I thought I would not wuss out and got into the water, clambered through some rocks, banging myself into stuff as I was now accustomed, until we reached the bottom of the waterfall. We were doing this in couples so Mark went first. The water was cold and strong as we climbed up the side. We settled on a ledge in the middle of the waterfall where you could stand up with the water throwing itself down onto you. Made for a good massage at least as it came pounding down. We didn’t rest there unfortunately and we climbed up a further level of the waterfall. By the time we came back down I was truly knackered. We had a little rest and Mark swam around a bit, but then joined me in the ‘fall down club’ by doing a smack down, backside first onto a big boulder. I think his would clarify as the most embarrassing fall at least
The way back wasn’t as Mark had predicted, a loop back around to where we started, but in fact we had to go back the full length on the journey we had made. It was much tougher on the way back for me, having been ‘spent’ climbing up the rocks and probably unnecessarily holding on for what felt like my dear life. I found it really tough going and I really started to hurt. Juta ripped out some bamboo to make sticks for myself, Mark and another german lady. Mark was slightly disconcerted that we had this because we were the ‘oldies’ in the pack, but frankly, we were and we were the un-fittest and my god did that stick help!! After traipsing at the back for a while, I decided on mind over matter and found a happy spot in the middle of the group, by myself, for much of the way back, able to simply meditate on where to walk to avoid the mud.
We stopped off just before we neared the village at a hut where the lovely lady had cooked us some roti (some kind of roots) curry. We took our muddy shoes off and sat in a circle, cross legged in her very basic home. The curry was delicious but the highlight was definitely the three 3 year olds who giggled and scampered and one of whom we coaxed (without much persuasion) to come sit with us – totally adorable.
We got back to the Beach House and what had been thought to be a 2 hour trip had been 5 and a half hours. We hobbled back to our rooms – showered in our outside bathroom – i can so see the point of them now – and lay down for an hour. When it came time to go for dinner I could barely move and had to hobble around for the rest of the evening like an old lady. Not that we had much of an evening, we were so shattered we were back, in bed and asleep by 8pm. Hard core, it seems, we are not. Hopefully by the end of this trip we will breeze through such excursions, for now, we remain novices.
The next day, needless to say, will be spent back on the relaxing side of the spectrum.