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Published: November 22nd 2015
It usually takes Mango and me about a week to really settle in to vacation mode. We do a couple of activities, drive around and explore beaches, partake in local cuisine, the usual. For some reason, and I've not thought too hard about this, we're ninety five percent of the way there already. I noticed when I conga line danced my way from our Bure to dinner tonight. It just felt right.
Our day started early. At an undisclosed time, the sun started to illuminate the silk curtains tied to the windows of our Bure. The silk, flapping from the ocean breeze, only appeared as an accent, like the flick of a fountain pen across a signature line. It was still too dark to make out the rest of our room. No matter. I wasn't about to get out of bed yet anyhow.
What was likely a few hours later, the sun fully made its cameo mark on our morning. The non-caffeinated energy was drawing us up out of bed, but it took the Resort's chef, Amei, to complete the transformation from weary world travelers to carefree, fresh fruit eating, loving the lack of structure-wearing adventurers. And with one last swig of coffee, off we went through the Resort's garden up a very steep incline to the top of a hill that overlooked Astrolabe Reef and an incredible set of islands and formations scattered across the horizon.
The view was epic, no doubt about that. It was also great to not have the feeling that another group of loud-mouthed, speaker wearing bros could be joining us soon at the top. Nope. It was just us, the view, and a few massive spiders who clearly got to the top before us and had been snacking on stuff long enough to put on some serious bulk. Not that we were worried. They were so big there was little chance their eight legs (twenty four between the three of them) would scurry them towards us to make their appetizers. Were they entrepreneurial enough to have casted a web, however, we'd still be up on that hill trying in vain to devise a way out.
Back at the Resort, we continued our unstructured fun: walking the beach at high tide, walking the beach at low tide, reading books, eating more delicious food (beef salad this time, Mango's favorite so far!), kayaking, or whatever we wanted. I walked across the catwalk in front of the Restaurant Bure and noticed Joe, the Resort's landowner, as I peeked through the glass window shutters. Joe was scarfing down some pancakes and sipping on some fresh lemon leaf tea, so I walked inside and grabbed a squishy lounge chair next to him.
oe, formerly in the electronics trade, had bought this land twenty years ago. While his sturdy house sat forty feet above the beach, Joe explained that he decided one day to start building structures on the beach, too. The first structure he constructed was Beach Bure 1, the place Mango and I were staying in. "I learned a lot from that first build," Joe told me. Geez, that's not very reassuring, is it? And when the local government noticed he was building without a permit, they asked him to stop altogether. Luckily, since those darker days, including the passing of a number of hefty cyclones, Joe decided to turn the property into a "low key" resort by building to his heart's content and then bring the local government back to show them what he created was worthy of being official. Joe explained this to me in dramatic fashion, highlighting that the officials would either grant him a license or ask him to tear everything down. It was bad news for the officials, as there was no reason they could find to deny him the permit. And the rest is history in the making.
And lucky for Mango and me, because despite being here for roughly a day - Fiji time only does days, not hours or minutes - we are feeling the chill vibes pretty hard.
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