Jean Michel Cousteau Resort, Vanua Levu, Fiji Islands
Um. I'm not sure what day this is anymore. Saturday, I think.
Fever gone. I was going to dive but was still faintly dizzy so opted to go into town with the family instead.
Savu-Savu. What you might call you basic third-world town, and a fairly nice one at that. No obvious signs of squalor and poverty, pretty clean, pretty well maintained. My gut tells me that if you come back here in ten years this will look like Poipu on Kauai. Resorts and houses are getting built here, and money will be following them into town, and soon there will be tourist boutiques and then starbucks will follow. Now, though, it's a mixture of Fijians and Indo-Fijians, and a the business are all a mixture of general store and tourist boutique.
We started at a very cool farmer's market; obviously market day, the ship had just come in with fresh stuff from off-island plus the local produce. Then we went shopping up and down the street, stopping for water and sundries.
My kids were deeply lost.
My kids, you must understand, are not sheltered, not ignorant. They've traveled a lot. But they're two very white girls who go to a very white school and live in a very white neighborhood. They go to school with a few Asian, Indian and black kids (and I mean in the whole school, not in each class). My older daughter's class looks like a Nordic school, mostly very tall blond girls.
So they did not know what to make of a hot, dusty shopping street populated entirely with coffee-brown Fijians and Indo-Fijians. They didn't know what to make of the stores full of packages they could not read; the dogs with no collars bothered them.
It was disturbing and educational for them. It tells me they need to be exposed to it more; we'll be making an effort to get this to happen.
The trip was a success for me though; I bought a Fijian Sulu, which is not the helmsman on the Enterprise, but is in this case, a MUG (Men's Unbifurcated Garment), i.e., a man-skirt. This is what the Fijians wear for fancy dress, and is also daily wear for many of them. It had thought it was just a sarong/pareau, but in fact, it's a tailored garment, usually plain fabric, with pockets and a belt and fastener. The plain color works very well with patterned tropical shirts. I found one in dark blue in my size and snapped it up, already planning to buy more to take home later.
My system sort of crashed when I got back; headache, fatigue. I actually go very depressed (And I think I wrote a couple of emails to people, but fortunately can't send them since I'm not on the network here, which is good since I sounded miserable). This was compounded by my reading short stories all day yesterday by Raymond Carver and Bukowski. May, reading the ramblings of a crazy drunk (Buk) and a depressed but brilliant writer tormented by alcohol;ism (Carver) is not the thing to do when you're already sick and in a bad mood. But it made me want to write.
The day improved when we got massages though; two wonderful Fijian women doing a traditional Fijian massage with nutty tropical oils. First professional massage I've ever had. I have to admit though, I've never been touched like that by someone who I wasn't having sex with, and it felt like something was missing. Where's my Happy Ending, ladies?
By dinner, I was starting to feel human; I dressed in my new Sulu and a purple aloha shirt and went to the bar, where we drank beer, listened to the wonderful Fijian band and played Hand and Foot (Link in the rules here). Still though, by 9pm I was sleeping.