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Cathy on Castaway Island

Me on Castaway Island, 1986

We have been to Fiji a few times. The first time, however, was an eye opening experience for me. If you knew me, you would call me high energy, hyper, etc. I am always on the go, multi-tasking, thinking ahead, you name it. Let’s just say, I had no idea how to relax for a long period of time in one place, unless of course, I was lying in the sun.

In 1986, we found ourselves on the most beautiful Island in Fiji called Castaway Island. What a magical place. It was one small island with maybe 25 bures, one restaurant/common area and terrace surrounded by white sand, turquoise water with palm trees swaying in the breeze.

We arrived early afternoon by ferry. The kids were hungry and so were my husband and I. We decided to place our bags in our bure, a darling little bungalow with two rooms. The children hurried out the door running and my husband and I began walking to the restaurant, which wasn’t far at all. We came across an open aired patio as well as a terrace. We decided to sit outside. There were families everywhere, but we managed to find a table.

Upon sitting down, we assumed menus would be brought to us. We waited patiently. No menus. Hmmm, are we doing things correctly here? Finally, a tall, large Fijian woman came up and said, “Bulah” which sounded like Booooooolaaaaaaah.

We quickly read the menu, and if you can believe it, we ordered grilled cheese sandwiches and pop. Yes, I said, grilled cheese sandwiches in Fiji! What were we thinking?

The Fijian woman took our order and left, taking the menus with her. We sat, looking around at the beautiful tropical setting. Amazing! I wanted to pinch myself to make sure it was real.

Where was our lunch? Ten minutes, twenty minutes, looking at our watches, we wondered what was going on. We began discussing how long it was taking, while continually looking at our watches. Thirty minutes, fourty minutes. What was the problem? How difficult is it to make grilled cheese? Despite the wait, the children were being quite well behaved but were getting antsy and hungrier!

We felt like we were at a real disadvantage as there was only one restaurant. There was nothing we could do! I guess it was quite noticeable, constantly watching our watches, our facial expressions and our discussions, as a lady from the next table leaned towards us and said, “They call it Fiji time here. Nobody wears a watch here, so you may as well get used to it. Take your watches off, sit back and relax. Your food will come eventually.”

We took off our watches and continued to talk to this lady. We met her family and the kids started playing together. We continued to get to know these lovely people, who we are friends with to this day! Time passed and we never even noticed. We were having such a lovely time and so were the children. When it did arrive, we ate slowly and comfortably, all the while talking with these lovely people.

The rest of the time we spent there was relaxed, laid back and totally on Fiji Time.

Have you been to a place that laid back? Let me know about it in the comments! Here are the photos from that trip to Fiji in 1986:

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