Home' LOTL : Aug 13 Contents 33
lotl.com • Lesbians On The Loose Magazine
By my first evening, I was relaxing on a balcony bar, drinking a
neon-blue martini with a heavyset, deep-voiced woman I’d just met.
She was knocking back French champagne and talking about the
recent legislation that decriminalised homosexuality in Fiji.
Here’s the good news: Homosexual conduct is legal under the
Crimes Decree of 2010. The bad news is that in May of 2012, a
planned “anti-homophobia” march in the city of Suva was cancelled by
police for “safety reasons.”
According to my new friend, finding a date on this island can be
tough. “ It’s BYOL,” she said. Bring your own lesbian. She and her
partner have many friends, both gay and straight, whom they
entertain often, but they know of no venue (besides their own
home) where lezzies routinely hang out.
But who would care about clubbing here? In the background were
a waterfall, the sweet, unfamiliar chirps of small green finches and
a Fijian singer in the Orchid Lounge. The air around us was soft,
everyone was a little late for everything and a frangipani tree was
blooming within smelling distance. People were lying around in the
late-evening sunlight, reading thick paperbacks, eating sushi, drinking
rainbow-coloured beverages and talking. Only a few were (horrors!)
working on laptops. No one seemed to miss the city. Meanwhile,
the woman across from me explained how she thought The L Word
could be improved (the characters should visit Australia, to shatter
stereotypes) and told me of her plans to invite gay revellers to the
island next year, before or after Mardi Gras in Sydney. Already, I
wanted to come back.
Whether you’re part of a family with kids, or you’re just plain
“family,” the Radisson Blu on Denarau is one of the best places to
start or finish a trip to these islands. Voted one of the Top 10 Family
Resorts in 2011 by Holidays with Kids, it offers all-day children’s
play programs, to the delight of couples wanting some private time.
And for those of us who are child-free, a separate pool, hot tubs and
dining areas are exclusively for grownups.
With room upgrades available most nights for just FJ $25 (about
$14 AUS), it’s worth splurging on the suites, which are large, with big
balconies, workable kitchens and even washers and dryers, making a
long stay seem oh-so-affordable. After all, you make up for the extra
cost in what you save on room service and laundry charges, right?
Am I right?
Rested and rehydrated by day two, I took my first adventure of the
trip with Adrenalin Fiji. No bloated cruising with fakey on-board
bands and all-you-can-eat seafood buffet here: Adrenalin took half
a dozen of us out in a small boat (way out, beyond the reef ), to
explore the soft-coral, kaleidoscopic landscape beneath the turquoise
surface. Of the dozens of boating and dive outfits vying for tourists’
time and hard currency, Adrenalin Fiji offers the best soft-adventure
quotient at the most reasonable prices. FJ $95 (about $50 AUS)
buys a morning’s snorkelling in primo dive spots; about $185 ($100
AUS) buys a one-tank dive for certified divers.
After a day or two on Denarau, most people are ready for the
boat trip or small-craft flight to another tropical island, one that is
not man-made, not expensive, and not, thank the Goddess, set up
primarily to make Westerners feel at home. There your real journey
starts. Get to know the locals who work at or own the place where
you’re staying. Visit a village, take supplies to a school, and hike
in the rainforest. You’ll meet some of the friendliest people in the
world—but don’t be offended if someone asks where your husband
is: Our kind of queer culture isn’t on rural Fiji’s radar.
When the schoolgirls asked me, “Gillian, you have husband?”
I just pointed to my partner and said, “She’s it!” They giggled, a
little confused, and then went on telling me their names, and telling
me all about their families as they braided my hair with flowers.
I relaxed, accepting their warmth and really returning their real
smiles. Maybe we have to bring our own dates, and maybe it takes
us a day or two to relax, but we truly are “welcome in Fiji.”
Travel | Lifestyle
Starfish, a speciality of the South Pacific;
Five-star luxury at the Radisson Blu Resort
Links Archive July 2013 Sep 13 Navigation Previous Page Next Page