So, I reckon enough time has passed for me to be able to fess up to this without getting into trouble. Plus, it happened at the opposite end of the world and I’m unlikely to be extradited for it.
To get up to speed as to why I was lucky enough to spend four months in Fiji, take a look at Paradise never found. Sounds ominous, I know, but make no mistake how tough the working conditions were when you consider that it was night shifts, long LONG hours, a six day week and monsoon weather for almost the entire time.
We prayed for time off to be able to escape work and get to see some of the rest of the islands which weren’t suffering from the same horrific weather that we were.
The odd day off we had here and there didn’t lend themselves to getting very far away from our base in The Warwick Fiji, Korolevu which, being a 5 Star resort, wasn’t too shabby a place to be stuck. But it is possible to get cabin fever even when surrounded by luxury – not words you’d normally hear from me given there were round-the-clock buffets and à la carte seafood on hand.
You do end up longing for variation of cuisine – first world problems, as ever.
The closest attractions didn’t offer much in the way of fascination. A local bat centre was one such place; I can’t BEAR bats – they stink, they flutter around your head and there’s a reason Dracula transforms into one so that can’t be right.
The sand dunes are another feature. Sadly, we went on one of the few hot, dry days and I pretty much gave myself third degree burns thinking it would be a wise idea to run up them barefoot. They were steep, high and once you commit to a fast climb you have a 50/50 decision as to keep going or abort. Either way, if you’ve opted to go barefoot, it’s going to hurt.
And it did.
On another day trip we took our car and headed back from the coast and drove further and further into the lush green inland regions.
Not desperately interesting if I’m honest and by no means enough to sate our appetite for adventure. It was slightly whetted on the drive home when the Australian colleague I’d handed the wheel across to discovered a blind spot which nearly cost us our lives. It was an unusual blind spot in that it was the front windscreen directly in front of him. For some reason he was totally unable to see the danger of overtaking on a narrow road and led us straight into the path of an oncoming juggernaut.
It was the first time I’d ever found myself in that scene from the movies where, as the front seat passenger, you end up shouting, screaming and eventually grabbing hold of the steering wheel to avert guaranteed death.
We lived to tell the tale but swore never to mention it again.
And so my quest for adventure continued. Didn’t care what kind it was so long as it didn’t involve dying at the end of it.
Finally, the promise of a long weekend was looming – three glorious days off from work, giving us plenty of time to get to somewhere further afield.
We settled on Denerau Island and booked suites in a fab luxury hotel. The pools were amazing, plenty of exciting activities (hello water parachuting!) and the rooms themselves were unbelievably perfect with stunning coastal views.
The only improvement there could have been was to have a full suite instead of the half ones that we’d plumped for. We had the individual bedroom / bathroom sides of full suites, separated by adjoining doors. I’d noticed what lay on the other side when heading out one morning, spotting the door to the other side of my room was wide open. I took a peek inside and was blown away.
It was the party side of the suite, the yin to my room’s yang. Mine was the calm, peaceful, sleeping and bathing side and on the other side it was all high-tec home entertainment, fully equipped kitchen and huge dining table for hosting great dinner parties.
I wanted it.
When I returned at the end of the day, I noticed that the front door to my neighbouring suite was still open.
I knocked and very cautiously entered for the second time.
It had been cleaned and no-one had checked into it.
‘Curiouser and curiouser,’ as Alice said when she was in Wonderland – which is precisely where I thought I’d ended up.
It seemed the maid must have forgotten to slam the door to and it would now remain open – and accessible – for the whole night until the following morning.
A thought crossed my mind …
Cut to a couple of hours later and I was hosting my very own spontaneous dinner party. I didn’t even have to cook as I placed an order from a local Indian curry restaurant, the delivery driver really not understanding the situation at all and struggling under the weight of the huge amount of food he’d been asked for.
We ate by candlelight (not wishing to draw attention to unexplained lighting), chatting and laughing in hushed tones (again to divert attention) and had the BEST covert night ever.
Once finished, we cleaned, tidied up, stuck the dish washer on and disappeared to our respective rooms – mine just feet away.
I got up early the next morning and slipped back in to empty the dish washer.
No trace of us remained and no-one would ever have known.
The perfect decadent adventure.