Taveuni Wedding

Trip Start Aug 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 15, 2005

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Flag of Fiji  , Northern,
Friday, November 25, 2005

Friday morning, I came to the horror of realizing that I had enough money to stay only another night or two, and that the island contained no way of accessing any money in my bank account. After going over every alternative in my head for what to do, I was nearly resigned to having to leave my paradise after only two days (Boat only leaves Tuesday,Thursday,Saturday). Even though the people at the desk knew I was trying to find money to stay at the hotel longer, it was Laurie who mentioned that they accept credit cards. Like I said, not very good business people. Oh well, Now that I can put it all on the card, everything is saved. I can stay in paradise as long as I want, or at least until my flight!

I walk east along the only road towards Naqara and Somosomo, two villages about 3k north of my resort. The walk is rather quiet with only occasional taxis and cars whizzing past me. The village settlement is just a strip of small shops and a short building housing the only bank on the island. Somosomo has only a country store, but I manage to find some decent cookies there and some water. I hail a taxi to take me back west, past my resort, and to a mission built by the Catholic church back in the early 20th century. The church is made of stone, but is basically just a large empty barn. People sit on the floor for services. I follow the road to the side of the church for about half an hour and come to a very large crucifix built on a hill overlooking the sea. The heat is unbearable at times. When you get a breeze in the hill, its often from air that has been cooking on nearby ground, so the wind feels like you've opened an oven. After a few minutes, I head back to the resort.

I figure out that all of the cheap food is next door and grab some good tasting fish and chips for F$4. I read more of "Congo", while at the same time wondering what I'll do the rest of the day. That question is soon answered as I'm invited to attend a wedding on the island halfway across the straits. Around 2:30, we motorboat over to the island with the groom, a guy about 30 years old from New York. It soon occurs to me that this is probably the easiest planned wedding ever. Short of a thunderstorm or solar eclipse, really nothing could possibly go wrong. There is no wedding party, and only about 5 guests from the resort are in attendance along with about 10 staff. Half of the staff are dressed as traditional warriors and fill a role similar to that of a wedding party. The evening cantina band staff members provide the music. A local minster in partly traditional Fijian clothing is the MC. Both the bridge and groom are wearing Teva sandals. In an hour, its all over and we're all back within an hour.

In the evening, the staff performs a traditional Meki, or Fijian dance. Most of it looks like what you see on TV, traditional islander dances, I suppose. With the music and all, its a lot of fun. The Fijians love a drink called Kava, made by mixing ground up Kava root and tap water in a wooden bowl. It looks exactly like muddy water and tastes about the same. It's not alcoholic, but contains some sedative qualities like alcohol. After a drink or two of it, its rather easy to fall asleep, which I didn't bother fighting.
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