Sleeping in every day was on my bucket list, but at 6:30 am I was wired. I decided to go for a run on the beach. Running on the beach has always sounded so dreamy to me. I bring my running shoes almost every single time we go on a beach vacation, but sleep, working on my tan or eating an entire bag of Doritos usually wins out. I laced up my shoes and knew this would be the perfect start to our day in paradise. My fantasy ended with me killed over feeling like I had the lungs of an 80 year old smoker. As my life flashed before my eyes I questioned how Baywatch makes it look so effortless. I felt like I was running on quicksand, I sunk a foot with each step. My shoes were soaked and filled with sand but there were too many broken shells and coral to run barefoot. So much for that. At least now I can sit and eat my Doritos guilt free. That morning's excursion was snorkeling at this beautiful sand cay and reef. I've only attempted snorkeling one other time and it was a less than stellar experience. We were on a cruise and I got the worst sunburn of my life. My face blistered then broke out in a rash that resembled a bad case of teen acne and then my whole face decided to peel off. The salt water felt like instant death. I was excited to actually enjoy the experience this time. The thing with salt water is that I didn't realize it makes you float. As I climbed in the water I had a moment of anxiety, we were out in the middle of the ocean and I couldn't figure out why I was the only one concerned about drowning. I clung to the ladder trying to decide if the embarrassment of asking for a floatation device outweighed the risk of certain death. I decided to just go for it and it was incredible. The water was crystal clear and the sun illuminated the most vivid world as we floated along above the set of Finding Nemo. I kid you not, between everyone in our group we spotted the entire cast, Mr. Ray, the octopus, the puffer fish, Dory, Scar, Crush, no great whites but there were reef sharks...and the crowning jewel were the two little clown fish hiding in the sea anemone. I considered asking for their autograph. The drop off was my favorite place (don't touch the butt!), the rainbow world on one side and the eerie deep blue unknown on the other. Just magical.
Then back to the island in time for lunch
I loved how they did meals here. Every day at 8:00, 1:00 and 7:00 on the dot they banged a wooden drum to call everyone to eat. We had read on trip advisor how everyone loves the intimate setting and the chance to get to know the other guests. I was all like pssshhh, we're here to make out on the hammock not to make small talk with strangers. So I was surprised at how much we enjoyed getting to know the other guests. I loved hearing their stories, although it made our lives sound a little dull since ya know, we don't take our 9 year old on a ten day bike tour of France, or have our kids enrolled in trapeze school with the circus, or Jason's office window doesn't have views of the Egyptian pyramids. But hey, my kid once played minecraft for 6 hours straight, that has to count for something, right? It was such a fun mix of people, Neil Patrick Harris' doppelganger, the couple that took us three days to determine if it was a mother/son or husband/wife relationship, the little Aussie boys that quite preferred sitting next to our beach chairs and discussing reef sharks while we tried to nap, and the other American Asian man that all the old folks kept calling Jason, you know cause all Asians look the same. Jason is such a people person and I love that about him. He can carry on a conversation with anyone...oh you like the Giants, have you heard the latest stats...these are my thoughts on the Green vs National party....here's the pros and cons of socialized medicine...I mean I never thought it would turn me on to hear him discuss the different currency exchange rates. But in an odd way it did. Which is most definitely a sign that I'm getting old, but it's kinda dead sexy how informed he is. Meanwhile I'm over here like, "hey, I love the color of your swim suit, would you consider that more of a salmon or coral?". Maybe I should expand my news source beyond People magazine.
We exerted so much energy eating those big meals that it became standard protocol to hit the lounge chairs after every meal, you know, to let the food settle. Eventually we would make our way out to do some kayaking, paddle boarding or volleyball.
Every afternoon like clock work the dark clouds would roll in. We only got rained on once, but I loved the look of a brooding sky.
They have so many coconuts on the island and we jumped at the offer to get some for us. I was secretly hoping to watch him shimmy up the tree in his bare feet, but he used a hook instead. I thought I've had a real coconut before but the look and taste of the "milk" wasn't at all familiar. It wasn't quite what I had expected, but I felt so glamorous sipping a coconut on the beach. My favorite was this "snowball" dessert where they roll scoops of homemade ice cream in freshly shaved coconut and drizzle it with chocolate sauce. Divine.
Not sure how I managed to see that beautiful sunset since my eyeballs are covered by my hat. I just want to reach in there and make a few adjustments, but whatever. It was beautiful.
The staff here were amazing, some of the kindest and friendliest people we've ever met. And they know everyone's name. And they can even tell the Asians apart. Every evening they would gather together and play vindi vindi, drink kava and sing traditional songs on guitars and ukuleles. I loved getting the true fijian experience and not just some contrite tourist gig. At least it felt that way to me. There was just a happy feeling in the air, and it wasn't just a result of the kava. We were living on island time and I loved every minute of it.