Day 12: The Dark Truth About Beach Volleyball

Day 12 was the best day ever. Hearts, records, bones, and rules were broken. Just kidding! Today was the first full day we spent at Matanivusi Resort. What does Matanivusi mean, you ask? The direct translation is unclear, so we’re just calling it boundless paradise on earth and sea.

Even though today was supposed to be devoted to relaxation after our service experience, we spent most of the day engaging in one physically demanding activity after another. Whoever didn’t leave for the 5-and-a-half-hour surfing expedition at 6:30 AM stayed behind and did yoga. The yoga studio was really nice. It’s located deeper in the jungle than the beach-side cabanas in which we sleep, and has open walls which allowed the little yogis to practice underneath towering trees which conveniently blocked them from scorching sunlight. Meanwhile, speaking of the sun, the surfers were being charred to crisps as they attempted to catch waves that were even larger than their egos.

Anyway, after yoga, the heavier sleepers who snoozed through all the morning activities joined the non-surfers for a 2-hour snorkeling session. They ventured out into some magical caves. Luis, a notoriously brave member of our group, caught a ride on the snorkeler’s boat to go deep-cave diving. So at this point pretty much everyone was out in the water, except for one of the Benards, who chose to stay back and relax at the poolside, reading a dense non-fiction book which he found lying around. All the snorkelers were excited to take pictures of the innumerable species of fish with the waterproof camera. Of the 200 photos taken, a whopping 3 were pictures of fish, while the remaining 197 were blurry shadows of some badly posed underwater silhouettes.

During the very long, very choppy boat ride back from snorkeling, Louis the Valiant gave the snorkelers a detailed account of his 2 shark sightings and the turtle he found. Luis, being incredibly brave, claimed that he is “not afraid of underwater creatures.” The snorkelers can’t say the same.

When we returned to the hotel we hot-tubbed, back-rubbed, and night-clubbed, or in other words, we went in a hot tub, scheduled massages with the on-site masseuse, and someone was blasting techno music on a portable speaker. Oh, and also—even though Fiji’s national sport is rugby—for some reason everyone’s gotten really into volleyball on this trip, so there was an intense two-hour-long session that started after lunch. We decided to investigate the volleyball obsession. Here are some quotes I’ve collected.

“My volley-partner is Rainier. Rainier and I are undefeated. Rainier and I are…we’re…we’re a dynamic duo. We’re unstoppable. And I’ve found a new passion. I’ve found volleyball. -Augie

“I had a nightmare about it last night so I don’t trust it anymore” -Alex L

“It’s pretty much the [second] most important thing in my life now”—Jonas

“I think it’s stupid. They all start out as friends and then they take it too seriously and then they get so angry for rest of the day. I think it’s stupid.” -Gabi

“It’s fine, but I’m mad because Hailey doesn’t let me play anything because of my coral infection”Gianluca

“I’m sorry that I care so much about Gianluca’s well-being, that I wanted him to cover his wound before playing”-Hailey                                                                      

That’s pretty much all I have to say about the day. On a more emotional note, I guess I should mention that everyone grows melancholy whenever someone brings up our looming departure. No one wants to leave so soon, but if we stayed any longer, we’d probably just decide not to come back. From the start Fiji has been extraordinarily hospitable, and we’ve all maintained the same amount of awe at Fiji’s beauty—the sky is beautiful, the people are beautiful, the ocean is beautiful, the colors are beautiful, the ceremonies are beautiful, and I’ve never become so comfortable somewhere so quickly. It’s fine to be leaving though because it has been a very long time since Manny has seen her pet cat. Life is beautiful NAMASTE VINAKA BULA. Peace out.

-Manny and Jonas

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