The weather was lovely in Fiji last week. But much of the talk at the Fijian Tourism Expo in Denarau was of past storms.

Cyclone Winston (no relation) blazed through the islands in February, leaving 44 dead and badly affecting some parts of the tourism trade. That category-5 beast was followed six weeks later by the terrible floods of Cyclone Zena.

You wouldn't know it, sitting poolside right now in Denarau.

Fiji remains a stunning place. One evening last week, I was treated to a remarkable sunset. In the tropics, of course, the sunsets are often gorgeous. But this one had a little something else: deep smears of red and pink pastel warming the distant horizon. About 100m away, a woman walked up the beach toward me, the sun setting directly behind her. No idea who she was. As she walked, gentle wisps of sand kicked up behind her; with each step they grew into a light cloud.


Filtered through the smudge of the sand-cloud's lens, the sunset's pastels turned a richer, deeper hue. This glorious show - a happy coincidence of my location, her path and the timing of the sun's daily slumber - was for my eyes only and lasted just a minute or so.

I wish I'd had my camera or my smartphone with me. Hell, I wish I'd had Herald chief photographer Brett Phibbs with me.

The message at the tourism expo was clear: Fiji is open for business. More than ever, they'd love to see you there. The message from that sunset was clear too: Fiji remains full of moments that stop you in your tracks as you soak up the beauty of the place.