Auckland Airport – 09-03

KIM – Back again – the lounge here offers complimentary reflexology foot treatments – ohhh happy feet!
So back to Fiji! Barb and I had dinner with the captain and his wife on the first night, came in third in the hermit crab races the next night and had a traditional feast in a small village the night after. Now that was amazing! We took a gift of Cava root – more on that later – and went through a welcoming ceremony which was moving and fun at the same time. We chose our Rata (Chief) and his Bodyguard from our small group to stand surety for the rest of us. After much chanting/singing in Fijian followed by some rather stylised posturing and alot of cava drinking on everyones part we were considered acceptable and given the freedom of the village. Understand that this was in NO way a touristy show; they were very serious about ensuring that we understood the rules of good behaviour and good manners as defined by Fijian custom. Once done we shopped a little for hand made goods, watched the preparations for the feast and the Cava making and I sat with the village ladies and gossiped. They sure tried to get me remarried right then and there! They hauled over all the single men – young and old and laughing wickedly all the while paraded them for my inspection! We all had alot of fun with that including the guys! Novel approach to matchmaking!
Back to the ship and our own Cava drinking session. I discovered that Cedric – who is 70 if he is a day – is a hell of a good dancer – and my knee survived! Yay!!!
Our fellow passengers with very few exceptions turned out to be interesting and convivial souls and as sometimes happens strong bonds formed so that we were all quite weepy when it was time to part. Of course the Fiji farewell song “Isa Lei” tugs at my heart strings all on its own accord. All the crew turned out to say goodbye and lots of hugs were given and received. Perhaps that is part of why I fell in love – how can you possibly resist people who hug so whole-heartedly – men and women! I know I can’t but then I NEED to be thoroughly well hugged on a regular basis!
There will be lots of pictures soon everyone and thanks for being patient!

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