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My Scholarship entry - Understanding a Culture through Food: Backpacking through the Yasawas

FIJI | Monday, 23 April 2012 | Views [397] | Scholarship Entry

On our last night on Naviti Island, Diana and I played Kings, a popular Aussie drinking game with Ben, Elle, and 2 Swiss-German girls at the teachers’ private Tiki hut. It was late. The bar was closed and the island’s generator had shut down. A torch in Elle’s hand revealed two loveseats, a coffee table, and a tall stretch of drywall supporting a palm thatched roof. As Diana and I shook the sand from our sandals, the Swiss girl with blonde hair offered up a bottle of vodka from the airport’s duty free.

Around the fourth turn, one of the Swiss girls picked a card which gave them the power to add any rule they wished to the game. After some hushed deliberation with her friend, they created the ingenious ‘YES’ rule. If you verbally affirm anything, you had to 'take a drink.' These girls were cheeky. They would tease the four of us with questions about our trip so we would unwittingly break the rule. Ben became a total mess as the night rolled on, always reassuring the girls that they pronounced Melbourne, magpies, and rugby correctly.

When we all grew fed up, half the group went out for a smoke while Diana and I sat on the porch looking out at the milky way hanging over the ocean. Without a lamp on for miles around, I realized how remote Naviti was… until Diana snatched away my moment in wonderland.

“Do ya think Aussie guys express their feelings well?”

she said, too tired to tame her drawl. Immediately thinking of my housemate’s pick-up artist shenanigans, I said “Sometimes”.

Suddenly, Elle jumped over us. She had snatched a basket Ben made with the natives that afternoon and stomped all over it. He picked it up and sarcastically proclaimed,

“You know, I wove a basket and put all these pretty flowers and @#$% in it! How much girlier can I be?? 

Girls don’t appreciate anything.”

He ripped it up in front of us before chasing Elle and the Swiss girls around the bungalow and out to the bonfire at the edge of the beach.

Now, when I look at my basket resting against the bedpost, I can’t help remembering my days backpacking through Fiji and giggling a bit.

Tags: backpacking, fiji, island retreats, strangers and friends, travel writing scholarship 2012


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