Nananu-I-Ra


We arrived on the little island of Nananu-I-Ra, finally landing on Lomonisne Bay, exiting the little boat which had taken us on the short journey from the mainland jetty to where we were staying at Safari Lodge on Mile Long Beach.

Our family tired, the two hour bus ride from Latouka to Rakiraki had really taken its toll on me, hot, humid, interesting and long – a devil of a journey when you have two kids to entertain.

In Rakiraki buying provisions for our stay on the little island, as our travel agent had arranged for us to go self catering to keep our costs down, the heat was taking its toll and all I wanted to do was lay down in a cool room.

Snapping at my Son, entering the main building, we were greeted by the owner and shown to our room, which was fine for the duration of the stay. Hunting out the kitchen, it was about the size of an outdoor toilet and not exclusive to us but shared by the staff serving up the meals for the other guests. The place was beginning to not look so great. The fridge for our provisions, lived outside, was old, didn’t work properly, everyday ants would troop through it.

We had been travelling now as a family for quite some time, having left England at the start of February – it was now September. In Fiji we had moved around quite a bit to see as much of Viti Levu and the Yassawas as we could, and were looking forward to Nananu-I-Ra as it seemed exotic and ideal (on paper) as one of our last stops, to rest and recuperate before moving on.

Our children enjoyed the fact that Safari Lodge had a tv and DVDs that they could sit and veg out to – just chillin, something definitely needed by them and for them on this sometimes arduous journey.

We hadn’t been told that the resort was really geared up for kite surfing and meal times were spent with this the main conversation – oh and the sneering by an ANZ airline childless pilot – whose views on us letting our children watch TV, were given to us freely. I tried to help with his understanding by sharing with him the journey our children had been on, not that I wanted too, just that I needed to, in an attempt to make our stay more pleasant whilst the judgments of this guy rained down on us. I began to feel miserable and this was only the second day.

Our host, from my point of view seemed to have taken a dislike to me, when my Husband and children were not around, did not even address me. The kids were happy and I desperately attempted to enjoy the island with a spot of kayaking and snorkelling in the marine preserve just a two minute walk to the other side of the island.

My misery deepened.

An English Couple arrived, stayed overnight, we talked after dinner.

“I don’t like it here.” The long haired young woman said.

“I can’t put my finger on it, but I feel safe with you here.” This said to me, a Woman she had never met before, I knew what she meant, my unhappiness that I was experiencing meant that now I was starting to stay in my room, rather than be outside. I felt safer, just being with me.

They left that morning; my Husband came in, expressed his concern about how I was feeling and made arrangements for us to leave the next morning.

“Maybe it’s because it’s like paradise,” Lance the kite surfing instructor said.

“No” I had seen paradise before in the Perhentians and paradise brought joy to my soul, not misery to my heart.

“It’s not that.”

I had the feeling that I was not welcome here – it pervaded the atmosphere, I was sensing it, each moment I was there.

At first I thought I was going mad – questioning myself, I made a pact internally, that if once we were off the island and back on the bus to Latouka the misery persisted, then I would get help.

One step onto the boat – relief started to wash over me.

A step onto the jetty of the mainland – the misery beginning to leave.

On the bus my happiness returning, freedom once again in my grasp as I realised that what could be a paradise for some, for others could be a prison.

J Stringer

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