Saturday, May 19, 2007

Spear fishing, Kava session, church, lunch and photo shoot.

Greeted at 9:30 the next morning with calls of "Tevita, Tevita" for "David" in Fijian, Simione (SEE-MEE) and Kimee (KEE-MEE) paddled up to La Vie in a old plywood skiff. We were invited to go snorkeling as they spear fished. We took La Vie's dinghy just outside the bay and anchored in about twenty feet of water. The day was a cool eighty and it was funny to see these two big Fijian guys shiver in the ten knots of wind chill, one even had on a full wet suit. It's their winter so I can understand, but at the same time I'm sweating and looking forward to jumping in the eighty two degree water. We were rewarded with a spectacular array of table corals, interspersed with stag horn, lunar, honeycomb and mosaic corals to name a few. All were very healthy and supported a huge array of fish. Our Fijian friends speared about ten parrot fish and amazingly didn't attract any sharks in the process. They gave us a fish which we prepared for lunch in a tasty combination of coconut cream and curry. The curry and many other spices were purchased at the Suva market for a mere pittance and we are now carrying over a pound of curry powder! To accompany the many new spices we have a newly purchased Indian cookbook and look forward to extending our cooking repertoire.

The same young men asked if they could come out to the boat and drink Kava that evening. I agreed and decided to pick them up at seven thirty. They brought a few friends so we had four guests and a half kilo of freshly ground Kava root. We got out La Vie's biggest "Kava" bowl" a large salad bowl and they commenced to mix the first of four very large bowls of Kava. My prior experience was that Kava was nothing more than a social drink that made your lips or tongue tinge. I can definitely say I was wrong about this. For the first bowl I was the Kava server whom decided the pace of the drinking. Upon advice from the chiefs symbolic messenger you would be given the command of "ombo" or 'pour the Kava'. As the server you would then clap your hands five times to signal the Kava was about to be distributed then the first cup would hypothetically go to the chief or in lieu of the chief the symbolic "Messenger", then subsequently to the eldest persons first and the Kava server last. The Kava server would ask Low tide or High tide? The recipient would respond and then say "Bula" clap their hands once and down the Kava in one drink. The cup would be passed back and sometimes everyone claps three times, it wasn't always consistant. This continues until the Kava is gone and the second and third bowls are emptied as well. By the third bowl I was definitely feeling the effects. Pretty much just a happy feeling with big smiles and a general feeling of sedation. Kava being a mild narcotic I guess this is about right.

Around eleven thirty, well past my bed time they said "Tevita another bowl of Kava?", I politely declined and delivered them back to shore. The next morning I couldn't really wake up and felt pretty much sedated most of the day. So the Kava "hangover" was spent ashore. At ten thirty we attending church and enjoyed a cerimony in one hundred percent Fijian with some amazing singing and harmonization. After church, to a villagers home for a wonderful tasty lunch of fried fish, boiled cassava, taro leaves with coconut cream, deep fired cassava and some other unidentified vegetables. After lunch I was asked to take photos of the entire village. I proceeded to take two hundred and thirty six photographs. Each and every member of the village was photographed numerous times and I've promised to send a big package with the printed photographs sometime in June. It was a great treat as the Fijians are very modest and humble so the opportunity to create a win win photography session was awesome. I look forward to posting these pictures on the blog.

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