26 December 2013

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There were two celebrations this week – my birthday (huzzah!) and Christmas (hallelujah!).
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I wrote to friends, family and facebook about my terrific b’day – so the only thing I’ll say here is about the amazing bougainvillea at Raffles Hotel where I got to spend the night.
                              ** Off * The * Farm **
First a photo to demonstrate that it really is bougainvillea:
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And now a photo of the massive trunk of one of the older plants.
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Can you believe that bougainvillea can get THAT old and THAT big?   ….   Will I still be around and bearing flowers of the spirit when I am that old?
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And now to Christmas ….
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We had good intentions of celebrating Christmas in a really Fijian manner this year.  Monica decorated the living area with foliage and fresh flowers.  Here are hibiscus on coconut ribs.  They bloom for a day and close at sunset.
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And here is a sweet nativity scene that Monica did.   It is not traditional in Fiji – but I had the idea, and Monica has the artistic skills.   This is based on the technology for making masi designs (see the 21 November entry to read more about masi).    Nowadays, to make masi designs, the artist makes stencils from old x-ray films.
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This is the stencil Nica made.   She did this FREEHAND and in one shot.   I think she is some kind of genius.
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Anyway, as I was saying – we were planning to do a traditional Christmas which would have been decorating with fresh foliage, bringing out all the new china, new mats, etc.,  AND having a humongous dinner together and eating for hours.   We were planning to have a duck.   It is obvious from the way I am writing that that is not what we did.   Nope.
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Instead we did the traditional Fiji Christmas – Plan B.   We went to the BEACH.
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All the neighbors from our end of the road decided to go, and they invited us along.  Fun, fun, fun.    We went to a beach that our family had never been to before, near Vatukarasa village.   The photo at the top of the blog is from this beach.
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We’ve been noticing the interesting orange growth on the western side of coconut trees on the Coral Coast for years.  Today Austin got a really great photo of it.
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I was thrilled to find a hermit crab.
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Here is a close up.   Isn’t he adorable!
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And then I found a BIG one!   Sorry the photo is all blurry.
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Austin got all enthusiastic about pumice floating in the water.  He remembers using pumice like this for sharpening cane knives when we lived in Micronesia.  He collected all he could. Before our neighbors climbed back into their transport, he gave a hunk to each family –  “Ho Ho Ho – here’s a rock for you.”   He didn’t say that exactly, but he did tell them many uses of pumice – most of them had no idea what it was.
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Monica remembered we’d also brought some cake to share.   Everybody got a little something to like.
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So, bye for now!   See you next year!
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