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Marooned With Hollywood

31 August 2009 One Million Watts 5,791 views 2 CommentsPrint This Post Print This Post Email This Post Email This Post

All that stood between all things Los Angeles and a remote Fijian island in the south Pacific were three modes of transportation. After a plane, car, and boat trip I would be away from the traffic, the Ed Hardy, the ex-reality TV stars, the constant invasion of your personal space bubble by other humans, and the poor air quality of the greater Los Angeles area. Or so I thought.

It started right as I hit the Fiji mainland and climbed into a taxi. “Did you know you are here on a good week?” the cab driver asked.

I was unaware.

“Paris Hilton is here,” said the cabbie. “With a yacht. Going around our islands.”

I was unsettled to discover that Paris Hilton’s name was a household one, even if that household is a farm in a Fijian village.

Later, in the office of a travel agency in downtown Nadi, I pointed to a picture of an island. My criteria were simple: Could you snorkel, could you walk around the whole island, and did they have cold beer? I wanted to snorkel, something you could not do in the LA River.

Next thing I knew, I was on a boat headed to an island in the Mamanuca group off the western coast of Viti Levu. Obscure. Far away. And untouched by the music of Lady Gaga.

At last, my feet stood in white sand — a much needed change from the gum-covered sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard – and I was listening to an unorganized orientation speech by Boone, a large Fijian in a “No Fear” shirt. Boone told us to avoid black coral while snorkeling, and explained that we would be essentially camping.

As he spoke, I gazed off into the distance. It was beautiful: turquoise water, luscious palm trees, and no billboards advertising the latest fragrance by Britney Spears.

Suddenly, my calm was interrupted — did I just hear someone say the name David Beckham? Doubtful. What could David Beckham possibly have to do with where I now stood?

“This island is the site of the show ‘Celebrity Love Island,’” Boone announced. Some of the British travelers in our group gasped with excitement. Had I really traveled across the Pacific Ocean to stay on the same island that was used for a British reality television series? Boone, don’t do this to me! Let’s hear a little less about how notable David Beckham’s soccer and modeling careers have been, and a little more about what to do in the event of a shark attack.

The bar was lined with photographs showing the taping and making of the reality show. Heard of Fran Cosgrave or maybe Rebecca Loos? Me neither. Even the aspects of pop culture of which I was previously unaware were following me. Fran Cosgrave is a famous Irish club owner and Rebecca Loos is famous for having an affair with David Beckham! I was learning more about British reality television stars than tropical fish, and it was depressing.

That was enough island orientation for me. As I turned to leave I heard Boone informing the other visitors that Paris Hilton’s yacht was nearby. My walk quickly turned into a jog, for fear of hearing the exact coordinates of her latitude and longitude. If Boone was going to announce this information, I needed to be out of hearing range.

By now, every grain of sand, palm frond, and starfish had received an email via their Blackberry about the presence of Paris Hilton in Fiji. It was time for me to return to Los Angeles, even though I was unsure if I had left it.

The flight was long and all I desired was a hot shower. By the time we landed I was completely obsessed with this overpowering thought, but standing between me and that hot shower was the baggage claim experience at LAX. And not surprisingly, baggage claim was swarming with paparazzi.

Let me extend a very warm welcome home to you, Lindsay Lohan. Please move your entourage as they are in my way, and I have a very important, very hot shower to get to. I just spent a week in Fiji, and I’m sure you know how exhausting its Hollywood scene can be.

Lily Pahlow


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  1. This was fun to read. But I wonder why people so involved in a lifestyle such as described continues to stay? I know people who complain of their chosen careers as being too stressful, having to deal with too many difficult people, etc, but will not make a career change. I assume the paycheck is worth it?

  2. Alas, someone who nailed my innermost feelings right on the head. My head is nodding up and down. I would say this “directionless” author may actually be heading the best way, or at least, a real way. -Scott P.

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