Fiji Time

Fiji is a very calming place. It’s similar to Bali in many ways, though the beaches are nicer and it’s far less crowded—about 800,000 people. As in Bali, and Bora Bora (one of my top spots in the world), people live indoors and outdoors, and the resorts have amenities such as a second shower, outside, huge verandas, and so on.

But the really outstanding feature of Fiji is that income is quite low and people are quite happy. I was talking to Harvard’s Dan Gilbert about this a couple of weeks ago in Cambridge. There is not only an absence of direct correlation between high income and happiness, but there might be an inverse one. (I remember sitting in the ultra high-end Jon Barret salon atop Bergdorf Goodman in New York and watching scores of very wealthy, well-cared for women going through various beauty procedures—and all looking miserable.)

People here are genuinely nice. They do not posture for your attention or acceptance. There is zero tipping, and the resort insists on solely credit purchases, no cash. You are greeted by everyone with a “bula,” which is a general greeting at any time and is always spoken, often with a wave. No one diverts their eyes (except a very few Australians and Americans) and all are rather eager to greet you even if they see you five times a day!

You’re always on Fiji time here, which means there is no rush. The service is gracious and effective. The atmosphere is welcoming.

And it turns out I can easily live without Law and Order reruns.


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