Published Oct 31, 2009

Fiji, obviously, was an incredible, happy, relaxing getaway. We both came away refreshed, and eight days of just enjoying ourselves in complete indulgence was the perfect conclusion to our honeymoon. But, I have to admit, it was a little odd quite how intimate I got with the staff at Lalati Resort. I mean, practically as intimate as I was with my brand new wife.

The Fijian word for “hello” is “bula,” pronounced boo-lah. An all-inclusive resort is a welcoming place, so all of the staff says “bula” to you all the time. Pass on a path? “Bula!” Standing on your veranda while they walk by? “Bula!” Sit down to get a drink? “Bula!” And so forth.

Right after we arrived — minutes after we walked into our bure — the resort staff set the pattern. Apparently somebody had left a form that needed to be filled out in the bure, so one of the staffers opened the door and came right in without knocking, with a great big “bula!” Followed moments later by a shy “sorry!” as she ran away. Look at it from our perspective though — they knew we were on our honeymoon, what did they expect to happen when they put us in a big, welcoming, tropical place with a king-sized bed?

Anyway, the point is that the staffer — whom I didn’t get a good look at, although I know she was wearing green — got a good view of me. Not so much of Mrs. DJ L’il Bit, since I was obscuring her from view. And not so much of my face or my head or even my upper back. No, all she got to see was the very intimate view.

What I said, right after she turned on her heel and disappeared out the door, was “well that was nice, now we can get packed and leave.” But we didn’t; we went and got massages. Now, if you’re a man and get massages, you know that keeping the junk stowed in an out-of-the-way place can be very important. It can also be difficult, since you tend to have to put it away again when you turn over, and by that time you’re well insensible to the world. At Lalati, instead of covering you with a sheet or towel like they do in the US, they cover you with a light, thin sarong, and then the massage therapists exert very little effort to keep you covered as the massage goes along. But, again, a Lalati staffer got a nice, solid view of me. I assume that it wasn’t a problem, as they didn’t show any more care for the next three massages. I guess it’s just a cultural thing, a higher level of comfort with nudity.

Not to say that we didn’t have a wonderful, relaxing remainder of our trip, but we did take extra special care to not get bula’d — surprised by someone’s friendly, happy entry — again. And, from our honeymoon forward, we will call any unexpected, embarrassing barging-in-upon “getting bula’d.” With the matching responsibility for the barger-in to call out a boisterous “bula!” themselves. We live in a one-bathroom house; we’re sure to have many chances to get bula’d just between the two of us.