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I once went to Fiji...

It's Saturday. I'm on my fourth day at a beach resort in Fiji. In the last three days, I've been working within the rows and columns of spreadsheets but swimming with the low and high tides of the sea at certain points. Today, I'm looking for something 'Fiji' to download and read as I contemplate life on a hammock hanging between two coconut trees.

I go to Internet Archive. I see an album titled 'I once went to Fiji' by a group called Quintessential Penguins. One wonders how such an album title and name of a band are expressed in the three items in the album. So I listen to Midnight Spin, Athena and Stars Over Sicily. Electronic music. Except for the distinctly clear starry nights that I looked up to in the past three nights, I couldn't connect the songs to Fiji.

Maybe that is how we remember places we've been. We only can say 'I once went to Fiji', the experience mixed into the grooves and funks of unique, personal lives.

I move on to a text titled 'A Princess of Fiji' by a William Churchill. Published in 1892, 18 years after the islands became a British colony. But author is no Brit, surely no discernible relation to Winston. In fact the author was an American who became a Polynesian ethnologist. With old text like this, I wanted to know more about the person who wrote it. Aha. Someone actually wrote something about him: William Churchill: A fractured life.  Interesting life but ended in sad, dire circumstances. Served in Samoa as American Consul but can't tell whether he visited or lived in Fiji. Maybe 'A princess of Fiji' sounds better than 'A princess of Samoa' as a title for a romantic novel.

Anyway, so we read this novel. Okay, the novel starts with an old man thinking back to his younger years, particularly about a sea trading journey to the South Pacific Islands. Uncouth white men trading with friendly natives. White man commits a treachery, natives feast on white flesh. Narrator of novel escapes. He was different from the rest of the white seamen and was loved by the children of the village particularly the pubescent daughter of the chief. The 'princess' saves him by making him her slave. And so the story continues...

My thought goes back to the author and to other authors who told stories in texts or music with references to places they've visited. I don't know what story I will tell beyond data in rows and columns of spreadsheets and beyond sensory experiences of sun, sea and sand. I once went to Fiji...

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