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I’m not the type of guy who can really relax in new surroundings. I like my life ordered and familiar. My measure of any new locale is not based upon the thread count of the sheets or the number of rocks I feel under my sleeping bag; rather, my measure is based upon the amount of time I am allowed at any one location to appraise and hopefully appreciate all a site has to offer. It is only with time that I can formulate order, turning the unfamiliar into the intimate and comfortable.

I began this trip to Nukubati not knowing a thing about the resort, other than it faces the north and the Great Sea Reef. On the first night out, I took pictures of the reef as the sun set. It was an odd juxtaposition that didn’t sit well. I have a sense of north, south, east, and west at all times and this sun setting in the north made me a little dizzy. I was obviously turned around but I couldn’t get my brain around it. Tonight, I’ve got it down. The resort is oriented west, the island’s mangroves are oriented north and if I needed to get to Labasa, I could.

Anyone who’s ever been to Fiji knows that Fijians are absolutely fantastic recalling names. It’s a gift and a talent I don’t possess. Names come to me like drinking water from a faucet: mostly they just pass right by. And they pass right on by the second day, and maybe the third. It is only with continuous repetition of the names with a face, that I actually reply to a “Bula” with a name. Within a week, I’m set for a quiz. I know a few names now, but not enough for me to respond with confidence.

Travelling to a new resort every 3.5 days means my adventure at Nukubati is now over. As I say, “Good bye” and “vinaka” (thank you) I realize, I’m only now, at the end, just entering my comfort zone. I finally know where all the bures are, I’m now familiar with the resort’s customs, and I’m getting to know the people and the food selections. Most important of all, my body’s finally adjusting to the heat and humidity. Coming from the cold northwest, the temperature change has been challenging.

So, what do I make of Nuubati? Well, this resort is all about absorbing the spectacular views from every vantage point possible: the restaurant, the bars, the patios and verandas, the hill look out, the beach chairs, the sand bar, and the hammocks. I absorbed the view a lot here – and I found myself falling into a relaxing, almost transcendent trance. If you have a stressful job, this place is a great respite. I leave needing more.

Will I return? Yes. The reefs are very special and the place is surreal in its relaxed and friendly approach to guests and structured activities. Sometimes a non-structured vacation is truly a golden ticket.

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