THE BLUE CONTINENT

Pasifika. Do you know where it is? Most people have no idea. Tell them about Tuvalu, Kiribati or Nauru and you’re likely to receive a blank or quizzical stare. Yes, it still happens. Sadly. This is why I thought I would start off with a quick geography lesson.

If you take a globe or a map and search for the Pacific Ocean, you will see a vast blue expanse dotted with thousands of islands. Some of them are easy to notice, others must be looked for with a magnifying glass. Tiny spots; splendidly isolated, marvelously remote. Have you found them? If yes, you have found a truly magical place.

What makes the South Seas so bewitching? I’m not sure. One may say those are the islands of pure beauty. Pristine lagoons encircled by coral reefs. Beaches with white sand. Beaches with black sand. Coconut palm trees gently swaying in the breeze. Alluring waterfalls hidden amongst tropical vegetation. Deserted shores and fragrant gardenia blossoms. Unadulterated loveliness.

One may say those are the islands of fascinating people. Graceful women and proud men; full of character, wisdom, charm. Always laughing, always joking, always having fun. Greeting others with a smile and sincere warmth. Generous. Unselfish. Respectful. Simply, easy to fall in love with.

One may say those are the islands of captivating cultures. Spectacular dances bursting with elegance and strength. Gentle sounds of ukuleles mixed with rhythms of drums. History written on tapa cloths. Stories inked on skin. Emotions expressed through flower garlands. Timeless, yet constantly evolving.

So yes, Pacific Islands are exquisite and utterly unique. As a matter of fact, I could use dozens of other adjectives to depict them. The question is, what for? Would my words be truthful? Would they portray Pasifika as it really is? No, they wouldn’t. No phrase and no expression can fully convey the beauty of the Blue Continent, because this place is simply indescribable. It has a distinctive ambience; a strange magnetism that cannot be explained. And once you feel the pull, you won’t be able to resist its force.

I know what some of you might think right now: Pasifika is no different from other spectacular locations. Well, call me biased, but I can assure you that it actually is. It is unlike any other region in the world. It’s unpretentious and authentic; filled to the brim with tranquil delights. Every green patch that breaks the shades of blue oozes with good vibrations. This is the corner of our globe where laughter is infectious and sorrows sink beneath the waves. I guess it could easily be termed ‘a private comfort zone’. You feel safe there. Safe and content. The islands give you this strange yet incredibly pleasurable feeling of belonging; a sense that this is the place where you are supposed to be. Only in the South Seas can this be felt.

Robert Louis Stevenson once wrote: ‘Few men who come to the islands leave them; they grow grey where they alighted; the palm shades and the trade-wind fans them till they die…. No part of the world exerts the same attractive power upon the visitor.’ In the 19th century, he already knew that. And so will you. Just let yourself discover the Blue Continent; get immersed in its charm and magic. Sooner or later you will fall under its spell. Exactly as I did.

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