Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Fiji: Just Like the Corona Commercial

You know that beer commercial where all you can see is peoples’ bare feet as they stare out at the gently rippling waves? The one where the only sound you can hear is the ebb and flow of the ocean? Well people, this is Fiji. So if you’re a beach lover or you’re just trying to escape your annoying co-workers/family/crazy Aunt Edie then pack your suit and towel and get the hell out here already. Everything has been painted with unabashed strokes of vivid watery turquoise and golden sandy yellow, the blues of sea and sky blending indistinguishably into one another at the horizon line, little bits of cotton candy cloud puffs drifting languidly over the sea. The ocean is as calm and clear as a swimming pool, so much so that you can see tropical fish for what appears to be miles. Reggae music from the Cocktail soundtrack plays loudly in the afternoons, these happy island melodies spilling out of the remote, beach-side bars filled with tanned tourists drinking cheap, cold Fijian beers. Swimsuits and bare feet are happily encouraged at the bars packed with a combination of half-dressed co-eds and families, the waiters here claim that Fiji is a good place “to get lucky” if you’re single and handsome, shirtless men are dispensed to carry umbrellas and chairs down to the tourists lazing about on the beach. I feel as if I’ve stumbled into some sort of a preppy 80’s time warp – like an island party at a Princeton eating club, where UB40 is still popular and where men wear Docksiders without socks and madras blazers in a totally serious, un-ironic way. Perhaps it is because of this that I half-expect Huey Lewis to turn up at any moment, driving that golf cart from the “Happy to Be Stuck With You” video, showing up just in time to join Matt and I for a beer at “The Sand Bar” (oh yes, what a clever name) at any moment. Alas, Huey is nowhere to be seen and I give up waiting for him – but there are a few young men wearing Ray Bans and polo shirts (collars up, natch) who could pass for his sons, and the WASPY girl in the corner is wearing nothing but a bikini and pearls. Because honestly, the necklace just makes the outfit.
All in all, Fiji is a sun worshipper’s paradise. But a simple warning – this island is all about forced relaxation. If you’re one of the many (I know I am) who obsessively talks on the cell phone, likes late nights out and plenty of diversions in the cultural/shopping/adventure categories when traveling abroad then Fiji may not be for you. It is, well, isolated. It being a collection of tiny islands and all. So come here to read a book on the beach or to relax in a gorgeous place where there’s no cell phone service. But don’t come looking for South Beach – it isn’t here – just the sound of the waves gently lapping at your feet and cold, cold beer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Since this is the only place you guys are traveling to on this cruise that i've actually been to- i thought this was a good place to wish you a happy birthday! welcome to old age! Fiji is all that you describe and to me- absolute heaven. i'd go back in heart beat- if my checking account wouldn't actually beat me about the head and shoulders for it. I hope you guys are having a great time and talk to you both soon!