The New Zealand Herald

Favourite Fiji memories


Wandering down to the water’s edge with my partner — now wife — Louise, we watched the sunset on the beautiful Dolphin Island. “Maybe we should get a gin and tonic,” I said. And, at that exact moment, as the sun faded into the Pacific and a colony of bats stirred from nearby trees to dance in the dim light, a staff member stepped out from behind a tree with two gin and tonics and a glorious smile. Well played, Fiji. I never really “got” Fiji. I knew it was a lovely place to go, but it was never high on my wish list. My mind was changed — and blown — in February, when I spent a week island-hopping in the Yasawa and Mamanuca chains. Oh! The white sand! The temperate sea! The friendly people! The sunsets! So many exclamatio­n marks, but each one well deserved. I came back tanned, relaxed, and a total convert. Book me in for my next visit ... Because I was there with three tiny, needy children, it’s hard for me to recall anything that happened during our time in Fiji that wasn’t about them or their needs. The thing that sticks out is when a cleaner spotted me carrying my 6-month-old son across the beach, she dropped her cleaning materials and ran 50m, calling his name, which she had learned the day before, taking him from me and cuddling him as if he belonged only to her. If I didn’t know better, I would have assumed he did. My favourite Fiji memory was meeting the Olympic gold-medal-winning Fiji Sevens team at the Uprising Beach Resort in Pacific Harbour not long after their great victory. As well as being a pretty sweet place to stay, it’s also got a rugby field — which just happens to be where the Fiji team trains — and hosts many travelling teams. Plus, the food is great — particular­ly on Lovo Night, when you can sample traditiona­l Fijian tucker. right) has been improving Alex Robertson (back row, Bangkok. LeeZ cooking school in his kitchen skills at the Chef His story appears on p16

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand