“Haaaay, come out, come and have a driiiiiinkk. “Haaay, come and have a party with us”
Who the bloody hell is rattling my tent and waking me up at this hour?
It was one of the young English tourists I’d seen upon arrival at the local hostel run by a very friendly and hospitable Fijian family.
I was in no mood to party and tried to ignore the invitation. I’d been out in the sun all day at the beach and around town in an attempt to savour my last moments in Fiji before flying out the next day.
I’d also eaten possibly the worst meal of my life a few hours earlier. I’d cooked a concoction of what remained in my backpack after a week of self-catering and, if my memory serves me correctly, it consisted of instant noodles, tinned tuna, zucchini and a cocktail of tomato sauce, mayonnaise and whatever else could be extracted from the sachets I had ‘acquired’ along the way.
Thus, I had no interest in joining the party. I’d actually booked this place knowing that I could camp in the backyard and thus save some money at the beginning of a six month journey, and because it was fairly close to the airport.
‘Just go away’, I pleaded silently.
I really don’t need this right now.
I also have no interest in partying with the kind of people who looked like they would watch, or perhaps even star in, reality TV shows like Geordie Shore, The Only Way is Essex or Big Brother.
Just leave me alone.
She eventually gave up, but the party raged on through the night and into the early morning, robbing me of a good night’s sleep.
The perpetrators were nowhere to be seen the next morning. The only evidence of the previous night’s exertions were the bottles of alcohol and rubbish strewn all over the backyard.
So I packed up my tent and was prepared to put this incident down to bad luck and the type of experience that one is prone to encountering when backpacking.
That is, until I spoke to one of the parents and owners of the house.
As she prepared a steady stream of reluctant kids for a day at school, she explained that the 4 young English tourists had actually run out of money during their journey and were staying and eating at the house for free, thanks only to the good graces of a humble Fijian family.
I don’t know how the English kids arrived at this predicament. I don’t know if arrangements were being made to reimburse the local family upon their eventual departure.
I do know that despite lacking the funds to pay for food and lodging, they still found enough money to buy and drink a copious amount of alcohol all night long.