I’m at the Uprising Beach Resort, about one hour out of Suva, on the Coral Coast, at the southern end of Viti Levu, the main island of Fiji. It’s paradise.
I’m sitting on a deserted beach under a palm tree looking out across the smooth blue lagoon to a bush covered island. On the horizon is the white line of the reef. The sun filters through a light cover of cloud. The air is warm. There’s not a soul in sight. There’s no sound but the soft swish of the waves on the sand, the occasional rattle of leaves, the snap of a branch, the thud of a falling coconut or a snatch of bird song. Beside me there’s a bottle of Fiji water and on my lap is a copy of a notorious best-selling novel.
When it gets too hot I can slip into the sea or walk ten paces over the sand, across the lawn and into my spacious, airy Fijian bure-style villa. I can take another ice-cold Fiji water, (or something stronger) from the refrigerator, and enjoy the view from the shady verandah, or through the wooden-shuttered doors of the bedroom or lounge. I can cool off in the indoor or in the outdoor shower where there’s generous supply of delicious coconut-scented soaps, shampoos and lotions. When the the sound of the ocean isn’t enough I can plug my ipod into the bedside dock and when the book is a bit much I can flick on the TV.
If I tire of the solitude, then just a short stroll through the gardens are the pool, the bar and restaurant. I can luxuriate in a deckchair either poolside or on the lawn, under a palm. If I absolutely must reach the outside world, I can access the internet in the bar. But I’d probably prefer to order an Uprising cocktail (the Mango Daqueiri, which looks like an ice-cream sundae and tastes like a fruit smoothie, is divine) Then, I can people-watch or strike up a conversation. There’s always someone to talk to – a fellow guest, a visiting local (always a good sign) or the Uprising staff, who are truly lovely and always up for a chat and a laugh. In the Uprising restaurant I can look out through the open walls, across the garden to the sea as, depending on the time of day, I breakfast, lunch or dine. At breakfast, I can have either cooked or continental, with tropical fruits and home-baked breads, buns and muffins. At lunch and dinner I can choose from burgers, parmas and steaks or curries, and pizzas and pastas. But I’ll probably opt for a delicious local dish, full of the flavours of the sea and the resort’s own gardens, like kokonda (raw fish) with cassava chips or fish salad.
If I feel like action, I can ride a jet-ski out across the lagoon to the island, or paddle across in a kayak. I jog up the beach or canter along it on horseback. I can snorkel, scuba-dive or take a fishing trip. I can bat a few balls over the net on the volleyball court or kick a few goals on the Ruby field at the front of the resort. And if I want to see some action, on certain evenings I can watch the Uprising Rugby team in training.
If I need rejuvenation after all this, I can enjoy an invigorating traditional Fijian massage, down beside the sea.
And then, at the end of the day, I can sit at the beachside bar, sip a long Vono beer and watch the sun sink below the little island at the western end of the lagoon.
It’s paradise – Fifty shades of paradise.