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The hauntingly beautiful and ubiquitous Fijian Farewell Song written out for the 5 hole ocarina.
Along with a link to a website with vocals, and Fijian words.English translation has disappeared : (
Chart of the notes and solfeggio to accompany the 5 hole ocarina pendant instruments I left behind in Fiji in July 2011
I changed into my ProjectsAbroad t-shirt, Bula Fiji sulu and cheap sandals for the day's activities. Breakfast consisted of ham, fried eggs, toast and tea and cost $18 FJD at the hotel's restaurant. I then checked out of my room at 10 am and treated myself to a shampoo $20 FJD, Back massage and scrub $80 FJD, Mani Pedicure $40 FJD and read the old magazines at the hotel's spa.
I then boarded the tourist bus to pick up passengers from two other tourist areas. One was a solo traveler from Florida at a hostel and an Asian man and woman at the pricey Denarau island resort. We had informative visits the Namara Vegetable and Fish market, the Sleeping Giant Orchid Gardens of the late actor Raymond Burr (Ironside/Perry Mason), the Viseisei Village-where the Tanzanian's from Africa first landed in Fiji and then stopped to take pictures in front of the Hindu temple. We encountered real traffic jams because of the crowds traveling to the last day of the Bula Fiji Festival and charity fundraiser. After the tour I took the shuttle to the airport, made a final goodbye call to my host family and ate a meal of fish and chips and apple juice at a restaurant and listened to the airport musicians who tirelessly entertained us with a variety of Fijian songs. Our flight was delayed and one of the airport security people came over and struck up a conversation with me while I waited.
The return flight to Los Angeles was bumpy and long, but uneventful. I went through customs at LAX, retrieved my luggage and eventually was able to board a plane (It was temporarily in doubt) to Virginia. I caught a cab, retrieved my car from my church's parking lot and reached home at 2:30 am on Sunday, July 24th. I slept until 2:30 pm that afternoon.
It was ironic reading an article in the Saturday, July 23, 2011 edition of the Fiji Times which recounted how the Reverend Thomas Baker along with eight Fijian followers were killed and eaten in 1867 for insulting a chief by touching his hair. It recounted how, "yesterday hundreds of Methodists from Naitasiri marched seeking forgiveness from the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma." The were at fault for not being aware of and honoring the social norms of the Fijians. In any case, the friendly and hospitable people with whom I had stayed and interacted with these past 3 weeks no longer remind us of their past as cannibals. They are still respected warriors for the United Nation's Peacekeeping forces and are strong defenders of their culture and way of life. No apology was necessary for the actions of their ancestors. I learned much during my 3 weeks in Fiji:
We are in too much of a hurry. Slow down. Stop and smell the roses.
We have too many possessions.
We have too much packaging and garbage that cannot be recycled.
We need to grow and eat our own (organically grown) food in our own gardens.
We need to eat more leafy greens and less read meat and processed foods.
We make too much noise.
We need to walk, swim and hike more.
We need to talk and interact with our neighbors more. Sevu sevu kava anyone?
Aloha (til we meet again) and not ni sa moce Fiji.
Bula vinaka for the memories!
I had oatmeal and home made donuts sprinkled with coconut, eggs, bread, toast, fruit and cheese for breakfast. Afterwards I settled up my bill and bought a T-shirt and sweat shirt as souvenirs for my stay. I also cut my finger with an uncovered razor blade when packing up my luggage which was betadined and bandaged up by retired nurse/Papageno staff person, Lydia. Tamano carried my luggage to the boat. Zekariah tied a flower around my neck and the staff of Papageno turned out and sang the Isa Lei Fijian farewell song for me http:/
Here is another version of it found on YouTube: http:/
The boatride to the Kadavu airport was uneventful, but it turned out that my flight was delayed until 4:30 pm.
I then walked around the area nearby, ate lunch at a local restaurant, bought some more souvenirs and then visitied the Vunisea Secondary School up the hill until it was time to walk back to catch my flight to Nadi. When I landed at the airport , I bought a couple more sourvenirs and the airport gift shop, had a brief phone conversation with my ProjectsAbroad roommate Denise, who was at the Sonasoli Island resort in Nadi. I learned that ProjectAbroad volunteer and initial fellow traveler Olivia was also in Nadi. She was now staying with a Fijian family after spending her first 3 weeks with an Indofijian family. She now also had a much shorter commute to her assignment in Dilkusha. Unfortunately we three were not able to get together one more time.
I took the airport shuttle to the Tokatoka hotel resort across the street and settled in for the night. I called my ProjectsAbroad host family and learned that they now had a couple male medical students living with them. I then ate of meal of beef stirfry and a glass of gingerale for $22 FJD at the hotel's restaurant and visited the hotel's internet cafe $5 FJD for 30 minutes. Wifi was available for free. Next trip I MUST bring my laptop computer with me. I had hoped to finally watch some Fijian television but rain in New Zealand/Australia prevented the signal from coming through. I listened to some happy talk on Fijian radio and then went to bed. No visit to the Bula Fiji festival for me this time!
I learned that the wasps/hornets flying around the flowery entrances to our bures do not bite. I had the resort all to myself, because the other guests went to see the manta rays and dolphins and to go scuba diving. I took a tour of the resort with Lydia to see their gardens, farm animals, coconut presses, generators, solar panels and their largest bures and classrooms for the kindergarten students from the non-religious Anneliese private schools in Laguna, California which are owned by the owner of the Papageno resort. I learned that the crab holes are the source of the mosquitoes. The dogs are very good at burrowing and digging them up. Too bad they tore them up in the process, because I think they would be quite tasty. I was very surprised to see Chocolate Cheerios on the table, because everything on the island has to be brought in via boat. It is a 3 hour boat ride to Suva and a half hour boat ride to the small airport further down the coast on the same island.
After lunch of salami, bread, pickles, hard boiled egg, cheese and salad, I paid for a massage from Lavinia, who is also the wife of the Daku village's spokesperson, Epi. She did a great job massaging coconut oil into my thirsty skin. Later on I observed the other guests setting up a tripod to take pictures of themselves in front of their bure. Lydia took me outside and showed me me a parrot. I briefly saw it's brilliant red underside. That's the closest I got to one during my entire stay on the island. They, like the flocks of mynah birds, are quite wild.
Saloti served us a dinner of fish and chips (french fries), green beans, irish potatoes, and a dessert of fruit salad for me and mango sorbet for the family.
I finished reading the book, Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark and turned in for the night.
I finally found out what was on the motto beneath the crest on the Fijian flag. Loosely translated it means, 'Fear God and respect the King" Zekariah piloted the boat to take me to the Vunisei District school around 10 am. They had a dock so I did not have to get my feet wet this time, but I did have to climb up the hill to visit the school. There were separate classroom buildings for the younger and the older students and a dormitory for the students who boarded there and did not ride a boat to and from school every day. The children were at recess and played some games and posed for pictures. http:/
After lunch Zekariah and I hiked up to Papageno's waterfall. It was a challenging 3.7 Km hike mostly uphill. I found it hard to believe that people actually did this by themselves. http:/
The mother and daughter guest and I arranged to be taken to Daku village by Papageno staff person Sai. Her son and husband decided to stay behind at the resort to snorkel. The first boat's motor did not work, so we took another. We left around 1 pm and saw a flying fish. They eat those in Barbados. The village was quite small and had only 80 people. It is known for kava production. I was able to see various stages of kava production from the plants, to the drying beds to the pounding. I also saw a lady weaving a mat, roosters fighting each other, fishing nets, solar panels, their post office and frolicking children. We did sevu sevu (#4, but who's counting) with village spokesperson Epi and chose to stay and chat as opposed to going diving to see their 3 remaining giant clams. There used to be 25 but some creature has been attacking and eating them. Afterwards we returned to Papagenos and had teriyaki chicken, taro chips, Irish potatoes and chocolate pudding (I didn't have any because I am lactose intolerant and can't do milk). Instead, I had more fruit salad for dinner.
There was no lali drum summons to breakfast so I got there late and dined alone with the exclusive attention of waiter Civo-I wish I had taken a picture of him. I had German pancakes, papaya, pineapple, bananas, oatmeal with mulberry jam and SWEETENED orange juice. Afterwards I walked around the grounds and took many pictures of the flora. I attempted kayaking after a very brief lesson and after heading out to sea a few times and going around in circles, I decided to stay on dry ground. The water was surprisingly cold, but considering that it is winter for them, that makes sense. I swam for as long as I could tolerate the cold water and then sat near the beach in about a foot of water and watched the curious cambara fish that circled and nibbled on me. Maybe that's where the idea for fish pedicures was developed? The fish are tame because there is a marine life sanctuary nearby. Papageno also rescued parrots and some staff members rescue, treat and find homes for abused dogs and puppies.
We had cheese and Hawaiian pizza and salad for lunch.
Lydia, from Papagenos, met me and helped to bring my boat in. She upgraded me to a garden bure on the beach. Rum and coconut water awaited me. It was definitely a quiet vacation with no television or radio. If I had bought my computer then I would have access to wifi. Otherwise it would have cost me $2 FJD per MINUTE to access the internet. I chose not to. I did try sending text messages from under the tree at the far beach as instructed. I even went in the water during low tide, but had no luck. The cell phone indicated that messages were sent but I never received any text messages or phone call responses in return. Ah well. There was a family of 4 from Oregon sharing the resort with me. I met them at the main bure after responding to the lali drum calling us for meals. Lunch was spaghetti (wheat or white) with marinara or pesto sauce, garlic bread, unsweetened (very bitter) or sweetened lemon juice or water. I read through the material in my room and took a nap before a dinner. Dinner consisted of curry dhal soup, tuna fish (not the canned kind), rice, fried bananas with melted chocolate for dessert. The family graciously allowed me to check my email on their computer before I turned in for the night. It took a while to get used to the sound of surf so close. I dreamed of being flooded.
Papageno resort employees, Taito and Mele, met me at the airport and carried my luggage to the BOAT!!!! There are no roads on this side of the island and there is no dock. Maybe it was not such a great idea to travel in a sulu jaba? I just took off my sandals, hiked up my skirt, walked into the water and climbed into the motorboat. Ready for the next part of my adventure!