Fiji Day 10

Monday 18 June 2012

No boat diving today; some people did a shore dive.  I spent my time with the resort books on fishes, coral, trees, birds, people of Fiji.

Fijians were the last people to practice cannibalism.

On the Fijian islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, eating one’s enemies was a time-honoured tradition. Sufficient for the act was a declaration of war. Such declarations were often made in symbolic form, such as by insulting the chief of another tribe.  The last act of Fiji claimed the lives of an English missionary, the Reverend Thomas Baker of East Sussex, and his accompanying party of Methodist  Fijians.

There are a number of theories on the origins of political cannibalism: the policy’s value as a non-nuclear deterrent and the supposed assimilation of the enemy’s power by means of physical absorption have been proposed.

Another explanation could be proffered: Not eating one’s enemies would be an act of criminal waste in a slash-and-burn culture short on protein.

Must buy a copy of Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea by Randall, Allen, Steene.  Drop dead gorgeous photos of fish. Must paint some silk scarves to look like triggerfish!  (See Day 9 and this photo from the internet of a Picasso triggerfish.)

When at home, trying to find names of the fish in the photos, I was sure I had a laminated card on Fish of Fiji, but I couldn’t find it, only an ancient (1956) Golden Nature Guide, Fishes.  (It had been Dad’s as well as other Golden Guides, Reptiles and Amphibians, Spiders and their kin, Insects, Insect Pests, and Trees.)  The paintings of the fish in the book looked almost black and white, especially compared to Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea.  I was trying to be philosophical about it.  In the 50’s we had black and white televisions, today color.  And no one could take color photos underwater then.  Maybe they couldn’t take any photos underwater!

The lionfish (Day 9) is of the scorpion fishes family, with venomous fin spines.  “Wounds from the spines vary from bee sting intensity to unbelievable agony.”   No wonder they can “remain mostly stationary during daylight.”

“Morays begin mature life as males and change to females later in life.”  Wonder if the moray I saw (Day 5) was male or female.

I think the bright yellow fish I saw (starting to forget all of the colors I observed) was the goldsaddle goatfish.

I originally had the Moorish idol and the schooling bannerfish (Day 5) confused.  I think that the Moorish Idol (left) has a more sophisticated coloring than the bannerfish.  (Clarification photos from the Web.)  The fish we saw had been a Moorish idol.

A seasoned diver will tell you that the bannerfish does not boast the same long snout that its look-alike, the Moorish idol, does.

H had her eyelashes died at Gadabout, so she’d look good without makeup.  (She’s blond too.)  I rather like that idea.

The tree in front of our cottage with the heart-shaped leaves (photo from the internet) is the Bo tree, a kind of banyan tree (which is also a type of fig tree).  The large trees with the leathery leaves are almonds.  (Shown here in my photo.)  And lots of coconut palms.

Can’t remember which night we had the sunset cruise.  Drinks, hors d’oeuvres, photographs.

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Our last day here, and the sun finally came out!  We lounged around the resort, reading by the pool (but only six chaise lounges) or on couches and chairs by the bar.  I stayed in the shade by the pool.  The pool was colder than the ocean, but the jacuzzi was fixed yesterday.

We had to pay our bills, one at a time in the gift shop/office.  Standing around you end up buying something.  I bought a kids’ book on fishes (although too heavy on clown fishes).  Because I hadn’t bought enough cash to pay the entire bill, and paid by credit card, got charged an extra $28!

Exchanged my first book (A Thousand Acres) for Freakonomics, by Levitt and Dubneat, the resort exchange library.  Finished Silver Sparrow this morning.  Should have done a shore dive or two instead of reading, but it was so cold.

The resort had to borrow 28 air tanks to accommodate us, plus hire I2 and Z, the two dive masters.  They’ve never had this many divers before.  (I2’s going back to the UK today, Z to another island to work.)

R gets the Purple Snorkel award – he forgot to turn in the room key.  The resort called him twice as we were on the boat and he kept claiming he left it on the desk at checkout, but when the manager asked him to look through his pockets he found it, and sent it back by the boat.

Left for the airport at 3pm.  Half an hour boat ride, another half an hour transferring our luggage to the bus, while we got time for a drink.  Then a 3-hour  bus ride on badly maintained roads (yes – worse than Tucson’s) plus half an hour at a shop (not Jack’s as it was already closed – good thing I already bought my turtle – and this place stayed open just for us) to encourage us to drop more $.

The Southwest computers were down when we got to the Nadi airport, so check-ins had to be done by hand.  Two hours in line.  (My photos of the winding line inside, and the continuation of the line outside.)  I guess it’s a good thing that we were there early.  Dinner choices were a bit limited at the airport, but we had until ten at night, when the plane left.

C and I were chatting about Catalina Foothills School District, where my kids went to school, and C taught.  Mountain View teaches half a day in Spanish – math and science.  Next year Sunrise will teach half a day in Mandarin!  They have an exchange program with China for teachers, but the Chinese theory of education is way different – rote memory, no creative thinking.  Plus C is wondering what will happen when these kids hit junior high, with the same math class to be taught in English, Spanish, and Chinese!

As soon as we got on the SW plane going home they gave us a boxed dinner.  We only ate three hours previously, but I downed half of it.  Our group is upstairs in a 747 (C’s photo).  Low lockers under the windows so I couldn’t snuggle against a wall to sleep.  But I took a sleeping pill and slept through breakfast.  Back to the desert!

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3 Responses to “Fiji Day 10”

  1. Jim Says:

    I much enjoyed your photos and running diary. It gave me a good idea of having been there.
    Would like to have stayed longer and seen more? If you went again, what would you do differently?

  2. Jim Says:

    You might appreciate “Inifinite Tropics” by Alfred Wallace the co-founder of the Theory of Evolution; and “Predator Nation” by Ferguson.

  3. Ice Age Adventures Cheats Android Says:

    Appreciation to my father who shared with me about this blog, this website is truly

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