Adventures on Fiji, Part 2
Trip Start Mar 01, 2012
191Trip End Ongoing
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They invite me to lunch at the Chief's home and I'm honored by joining the men for lunch: fish cooked in coconut milk in the outdoor kitchen over burning coconuts, cassava and taro, rice and sausage stew, (Jeannie, if you're reading, skip this line...) and because it's guava season, there's also a special treat- bat! (tastes like dark meat chicken :) )
After lunch we go to the living room. It's covered in hand sewn quilts and beautiful woven floor mats from a special tree they cultivate- can't remember the name. I learn "devil" with Joanna and her 12-year old brother. In return, I teach them crazy 8's. Or trump 8's as they call it. They're good players!
The flattened SF penny and Red Cross pin I gift them seems paltry, but it's Sunday and no stores are open.
Later that afternoon, Liti and Lazaro arrange to drive me to the village where the woman has my iPhone. I'm told that I wouldn't have gotten it back had it not been password protected- lesson learned. We bring 2 dozen coconuts and a small cash reward. It's an hour drive back to Singatoka and 45 minutes up the mountain. It's raining and we have to wipe the windshield with Liti's handkerchief because there's no AC. They entertain my endless questions about the area- we pass beautiful groves of papaya and cassava, see cattle working in the fields and pass many small villages with schools and churches.
Finally we reach the woman's village and they return the phone. "Are you happy?" is what the group asks over and over. Yes.
The drive back is a bit rough, as many parts of the road are covered by the muddy, rushing river. Liti is nervously yelling at Lazaro in Fijian, "Slow down! Thank you driver. Vinaka." At one point, Lazaro has to get out of the car to check the water level, but he brings us safely home.
I spend the rest of the evening recovering on the hammocks, play a few games of pool and watch the sunset and the millions of stars... I think they're different than the sky at home. I don't remember ever seeing the Southern Cross or seeing the Milky Way so clearly. iPhone safely charging; pictures to come.