Jean Michele Cousteau Resort, Vanua Levu, Fiji Islands
Therse's a story about Polynesians. This sort of illustrates how it is with islanders.
The story goes like this:
A Mexican and a Polynesian are talking about thier countries, about The differences.
"Bruddah, you know how in Mexico, you say, when people ask about when things will happen, you say, "Manana, Manana?"
"Si, we say this"
"On my island, we don't have this sense of urgency."
The other funny thing about the Fijians is that they have an issue with sun glasses. They want to see the eyes. Now, I'm a california kind of guy. This means I wear my sunglasses pretty much ALL the time. From dawn 'til after dusk. When I'm eating. In the pool. Ok, part of this is that I wear glasses anyway and my shades are prescription, but I did this before I needed glasses. My and my teenage schoolmates all wore mirrored aviators and we never took them off. BUt in any case, this is hard for me when I'm talking to the locals, because I have to remember that they get tense if they can't see my eyes. So I wind up switching from shades to eyeglasses a million times a day.
So far though, to a one, the Fijians are just incredibly friendly. So helpful and eager to please. ANd they laugh constantly. I've never met such happy people.
So to start with arrival -- we deplaned from the puddle-jumper to have this conversation:
ME (To the kids): "Look! There's the airport!"
OLIVIA (Shocked disbelife): "That's it? That there?"
RUBY: "Where? Where? Where? Is it behind the shack?"
ME: "No honey, it is the shack!
We were greeted with typical Fijian hospitality and loaded into a van with our gear and another couple (who turned out to be fellow Silicon Valley-ites, he working for EBay and she a school teacher. She was a full-figured blond with a pierced nose, so of course I fell in love with her a little right off the bat.
We were driving through idylic jungle mixed with weird bananna-republic towns (Or was it town?); there's really almost nothing here in the way of town, a one-road burg of a few odd stores mixing tourist trade with general-store. After the town (Savu-Savu), we went from roughly paved road to un-paved road for what seemed miles (though wasn't really); it was perhaps 20 minutes from airport to resort but given the road it seemed much longer.
And then -- the resort. Jean-Michel Cousteau's Fiji Resort.
Now, this is difficult to explain. If you've been to Kona Village, you get this, but I don't know anywhere else like that.
Imagine the most exclusive sort of luxury resort. The sort of place that defines "beck and call". The kind of place where this seem to have researched you in advance to find out how you take your coffee and what you drink.
Now cross this over with Gilligan's Island. Thatched tiki huts. No phones no clocks no locks on the doors. That only halfway gets it.
We were greeted by a hang of staff and musicians playing and singing and chanting, and then all shouting in unison "BULA!" They handed us tropical drinks and sat us down to register while whisking our gear off to our "bure" (bungalow).
Wow, is all I can say about this place. Wow. Truly, truly beautiful.