“Candyman’s Cabana” (Tisa’s Barefoot Bar), Alega

“Candyman’s Cabana” (Tisa’s Barefoot Bar), Alega

Debra wanted to meet not at Lost Paradise but at another beach bar, this one on the eastern side of the island, a place called Candyman's Cabana. Candyman's humble establishment was perched atop pilings above a picturesque crescent-shaped beach

with saluting palm trees like ones you might see on South Seas travel posters or the cover of a travel magazine. There were no walls to the place, just an overhanging tin-and-thatch roof. Like most such places, its decor was flotsam and jetsam, what the ocean offered. The beach was long, clean, and pristine; but the reef here was one of the most treacherous on the island, with a murderous riptide that had sucked its share of delighted tourists and happy drunkards to sudden surprise endings. It was a beautiful spot, though.

Early afternoon on a weekday, there was no one seated in the bar. Apelu ordered and paid for a Steinlager, then walked down a set of steps to the beach. The tide was in and the surf was high. He walked at the broken-shell and coral-edge dance of the surf foam. Here every wave rewrote the truth of footprints and passages. The sea was the only significant thing. If, in some geographic experiment, he was to step off this beach and head straight south, he would hit nothing solid before stepping up on the edge of Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf five thousand miles away. At just about every compass point the Pacific expanded to such distances and more around this insignificant speck of green at the very peak of one of the world's higher--if mainly submerged--mountains. The ocean's message was always the same--your own total insignificance. It went beyond humbling; it reduced you to nothing.

(Pago Pago Tango, p. 123)

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Sunday, September 28, 2014 - 8:48am

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