Published: February 15th 2008October 15th 1999
I was walking, in Fiji, in the South Pacific, on a sprawling beach, in slight half-circle. All around me, nature was slowly disappearing in the dusk. I was alone. For a moment, I felt as if I had been living here for ages, just like that its first inhabitants. I saw the place like an inseparable whole, as if it was the only one I would ever know, the beach, white line of the sand running along the shadowy vegetation, the outlines of the coconut trees, and the black sea, under the darkening blue sky. I would just be like a Polynesian, faced with the infinity of the world, several hundred years ago. Nothing had changed. He would, like I did, have listened to the wind, as if it was the breath of the world, the rumbling of the waves on the coral reef, as if it was the rhythm of the world.
I had landed just hours before.
I had arrived from this large airport, where my trip had begun on this pale and wet winter day, in this large agitated hall, under the white and serene light of the sky. All seemed to occur in a mechanical
way, luggage, papers, as if I was already detached from the place that I was going to leave. The corridor which lead to the embarkation areas was almost empty, with a long escalator moving on its own. The plane, a large inexpressive bird, was facing the passengers with its white nose. In two rectangular windows, pilots were getting agitated.
Fiji is a country where life begins very early in the morning, as if one should not ever miss the moment which does not last long enough, when the light appears, clear and humid, before the sunrays emerge that will burn so intensely the ground. I realised too late that I had forgotten my sunscreen... When the pink light of dawn had slowly appeared under the wing of the plane, the dark shapes of the clouds were like columns of steam going up in the sky, small islands still dark blue forms, far below the plane.
The plane, while descending, was going down towards the mountains of the island whose dark green was appearing more intensely under the rising light, appearing somehow threatening. The first person to land here must have seen the same green mountains advancing slowly towards
him. Now, the sun was now shining and a slim line of clouds was confined on the horizon, the sea made green by the vertical light.
From early morning, the island becomes motionless. Palm trees become forms without life under the relentless light. The sun now shines and clouds are confined on the horizon, on the sea, under the vertical light. After leaving the airport, I asked the taxi driver to stop me at a small banking branch to change money. It was a white building, at the top of a small hill, surrounded by dark green vegetation. The heat was a heavy air mass. In the bank office, a curious thing awaited me: behind the dark wooden counter, a woman looked at me attentively. She had dark eyes, a fine face. She made a slight smile. It was my first smile in Fiji. I had arrived.
Warm air is coming through the open window. Diffuse noises, dog barking, strange rhythm, loud radio, thick odor of curry, all like a small music, coming from very far, an enchantment from a low building and its polite and motionless inhabitants.
In the evening, when the dense rain dense pours
around my place, I hear through the open window the clear noise of the drops of water, quite close, as in me. The music I listen to appears seems to come from far away. I fall asleep filled with the world which surrounds me.
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