I will never forget the first trip we made to Beachouse, a hidden backpackers on the coral coast. The Suva to Nadi express bus dropped us off on the side of Queen’s Highway. We walked down a dirt road and were greeted by a tall skinny, surfer dude with white dread locks who directed us to the reception desk was. Once we got settled in and put our stuff down in the rooms, we grabbed some kayaks and snorkels and headed to the water. It was a beautiful day– the sky was cerulean blue and the ocean a glimmering mirror. Brandon and I jumped into the crystal clear water, careful to avoid the vast array of pink and white coral not realizing how deep the water actually was. It looked as if we were only a few feet away from the bottom but in reality it was meters. Matt and Phil joined us as we took turns diving down and relaxing on the kayaks. Looking back ashore, I was in disbelief– I was in Fiji! The view was glorious: white sand beach laden with swinging hammocks, Lucy and Diesel two fur balls running in the distance, and palms trees looking down from atop the hill.
The next day, there was a surf competition up the road at Singatoka. Semi– tall, ripped, and head full of dreads, invited us to drink with those idly taki-ing underneath a canopy. I remember feeling awkward because we hadn’t paid for the beers, but no one seemed to mind. After a few more rounds, people were going on a beer run, I collected money from the boys and Morgan and hopped on the back of a pickup truck and headed to Sigatoka town. A few cases were brought and we headed back, the cool wind alleviating the blazing tropical sun. I’m not sure if the boys ever understood the basis of taki as they never wanted to do it. They didn’t join the taki circle and so they sat exposed in the sun, burning to crisp sipping on their own long necks. Morgan and I takied and socialized with those around us.
On our way back to Beachouse, Morgan and I hopped on the bus with some surfers– every minute or so a taki was handed over. The 40 minute ride turned into a 2 hour journey. We stopped first to pick up corn form a Fijian lady in traditional mother Hubbard dress. Then we stopped in Singatoka town to pick up bread. Eating and drinking, we all got pretty drunk, props to the Fijian driver who kept smiling and joking with all of us. When we finally get back, we go to one of the surfer, Nick’s, room. This is where we met Wira. A gorgeous Polynesian who had a voice like honey, a smile that melted, and eyes that bared into your soul. There was something about him that just got me.
The next day Chris and I kayaked out to watch the “Expression Session.” Matt wanted to take part in it, but Andrew said the conditions were too rough for people had hadn’t really surfed before. While watching, Wira passed by on his paddle board and told us about the big party that was happening tonight. Back ashore, rumors surfaced that a tattoo artist was coming later that day. Morgan, Matt, and I decided to stay and that unforgettable night left us bonded for life.
A few of the surfer boys got tattoos: one guy got “Either way it doesn’t matter” tattooed on his thigh and another guy got a Marlin tattooed on his forearm. In between sessions Morgan and I discussed what we wanted. She knew what she wanted to get but didn’t know where to get it and I was the opposite: I knew where I wanted it, but didn’t know what to get. Morgan went first and got a turtle tattooed on her shoulder. She was a solider throughout the process though she almost broke my hand during the 2 hours. A South African guy kept us entertained as Wira played the Ukelele. When it was my turn, I told Sorby, the short and talented Fijian that I wanted a traditional Fijian tribal tattoo incorporating hope, traveling, and independence. It was a painful 3 hours but I had Morgan by my side and it was totally worth it. Matt got his tattoo next, a simple wave on his ankle. By the time all of the tattoos were finished, Sorby was no doubt exhausted but no less than $1000 richer.
Everyone was singing, dancing, and getting drunk at the bar. One thing I learned that night is Australians can drink, they can drink a lot, and they can continue drinking for a long time. Some people were running around doing crazy things while a few of us sat by the pool and listened to Wira, Semi, and Sasha jam out. The night was warm but a cool breeze kept us comfortable. The starts glistened in the night as good vibes and music filled the air. It was a truly magical experience.
The next day, Matt, Morgan, and I hopped on a mini bus heading back to Suva; an aura of Barabak all around.