Fun. blared over the restaurant stereo. Motivated surfers paddled out to the reef break to catch morning waves. Other backpackers yawned over their morning coffee, hiding their hangovers behind their sunglasses.
As for me, I was on a mission.
I’d finally said goodbye to my Fijian family and made my way down the Coral Coast. I set up camp at a beachfront hostel appropriately (but none too creatively) called The Beachouse.
Besides it stunning views and affordable prices, I chose The Beachouse because of the activities it offered. They offered surf lessons for under thirty bucks, snorkeling and scuba trips out on the reef, sunset boat rides, and hiking through the nearby jungles. It also boasted a bunch of free activities, which given my ever-dwindling budget, were of interest to me.
I’d spent all morning hunting down Napoleon. He was an employee of The Beachouse who lived in a nearby village. He was in charge of the free coconut jewelry making lessons.
I wanted mine. He was being elusive. Lucky for me, I’m a persistent little pain when I want something. After annoying the cooks in the kitchen, they directed me to the patio. I found him lounging in a hammock.
“Alright, Napoleon,” I chirped. “What time are you giving coconut jewelry lesson today? I’ve only got a few days left here and I need to monopolize my time. Let’s make some stuff!”
He stretched out his arms and legs. “Hmm… What time is it now?”
I looked at my watch. “Ten.”
He stood up and yawned. “Maybe eleven. Maybe twelve.” He started walking away. “Maybe tomorrow or next week, if I feel like it.”
I waited for him to laugh at his joke. This was a joke, right? “Wait, Napoleon. Where are you going?”
He turned and waved. “Back to my village for a nap. Senga na lenga!”
I stood there, mouth agape, staring after him. What the heck did he mean ‘no worries‘? I turned to one of the backpackers who had watched the interaction. “What happened here? There are supposed to be lessons everyday.”
The backpacker laughed and shrugged. “What can you do, Hil? We’re on Fiji Time!”