23 October 2014

2014-10-23  metallic bug   Cr

This was the real beauty from this week – a gorgeous metallic looking insect.  I think this bug is even on one of the Fiji postage stamps.

2014-10-23 Billy and sister  Cr

AN OLD FRIEND

I saw Billy the goat and his sister foraging in the drain beside the road, thought “how sweet” and stopped to take a photo.

2014-10-23 Billy  R

Billy recognized me and came up to say Hi!   I was so happy and surprised.   Billy’s owner told me that it’s good he stayed with us for a month, because he is not afraid of dogs any more.  If a dog comes near, Billy turns around and shows them his horns 🙂

2014-09-25 waka levu   R

KAVA STUFF

The proper way to drink yaqona (kava) the local mild intoxicant, is to pound the root, add water and squeeze.  The lazy way is to use powdered kava.  Anyway,  the dried roots are organized into a bundle called a waka.  I asked this man if I could take his picture because it is one of the biggest waka I ever saw.   Almost for sure he bought this to take to some ceremony (wedding, funeral, petition to a chief).

2014-10-23  kanikani R

And THIS is an example of kanikani, the “lizard skin” condition that happens to people who drink too much kava.   It results from Vitamin A depletion.    This is my friend’s foot.

2014-10-23  mangos 1  Cr

IT’S A MIRACLE

That long drought had one surprising side effect:  MANGOES !

2014-10-23  mangos 2  R

The tree is loaded.   We are shocked.

2014-10-23  land swans  Cr

LAND SWANS

Two ganders that always hang out in our yard have taken to chilling in the driveway.  I know they are ganders because they are pure white.  The female pilgrim geese have some gray on them.

CONFESSION TIME

My dear friend planted the tree in memory of her grandpa  (see 21 August ) …. and then I forgot about the tree!   We had that awful drought, and the tree on the top of the hill …. well, I was afraid it was dead.  Austin said it might survive and that I should just watch it.

2014-10-23  Vova survives   R

Finally!  It is putting out new leaves.   Isn’t this a delightful fleur-de-lis configuration!

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2014-10-23 bleeding heart  R

This is a flower I love that we have in Suva, a kind of ‘bleeding-heart.’

Happy Diwali.

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1 May 2014

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You might remember a couple of months ago I mentioned how PROUD I am of our good paved road.  I still am.  And there is even a clear kilometer marker at our road so I can tell guests exactly where our feeder road is.  We are at Km 19.2
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I just don’t know if it is REALLY 19.2, and if it will stay that way.  Here are a couple of other kilometer markers between Sigatoka and us.
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There should be a football field between these two markers.
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And a whole half-K between these two.   Oops!
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TANOA – THE GROG BOWL
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Drinking grog (yaqona) is an ancient sacred custom in Fiji – seen at the recent funeral.   After the kava (another name for yaqona) itself, the most important thing is the tanoa – the grog bowl.   Everybody sits around the grog bowl.  Traditionally there is a notch that points to the highest ranking person present – and there is a piece of coconut fiber rope (magimagi) with a cowrie shell (buli) which is attached and points to the chief.  If there is no one of high traditional rank, the magimagi and buli are removed.    Above is a photo of a very beautiful grog bowl – available for sale at the tourist shop.
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Here is a photo of a tanoa from a few weeks ago at the funeral.  You can see that it is wooden and large.  It also has pvc pipe reinforcing the broken legs.   Informally, friends will often drink kava from a plastic basin or a bucket.
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My personal favorite – and this was at a formal event, though not with a chiefly person present – was this tanoa made from a fishing float and a sawed off traffic cone.
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BREAKNECK GROWTH
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It occurs to me that all of you living in temperate zones probably cannot imagine the speed of the growth of trees here.  My photos are kind of shabby, but this is a shot of a royal palm Austin planted in 2005 – about 9 years ago.
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Here’s a shot of another one.   These are around our house in Suva.
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Here’s our house in 2005 – no trees in the yard at all.   The little royal palm in the front had grown to about 25 feet or more a couple of years ago and the Electric Company (FEA) cut it down.  (Yes, I know – I should have tried to get a current shot of our house from this angle.   Maybe next time I go to Suva…)
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Another example is this big tree –  I remembered there was a little news story when it got planted.   Here  –  http://news.bahai.org/story/366
The trees were a spontaneous activity – a brainstorm of Austin’s – and I’d forgotten that I was quoted in the article …. but anyway.   We know from this story that that tree is exactly 9 years old.  Of the 4 that were planted in April 2005.   two died, two are still living.   This one is towering over the coconut tree.
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KIDS!
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I’ve been seeing a lot of baby goats around – snapped these two cuties on the road right below our house.   I want some!
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MORE ABUNDANCE
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After the huge tamarind crop last year, I thought the tree was going to take a season off.   I was really surprised to see it full of fruit again already.   You’ll notice that the fruits are smaller – but WOW – plenty of them!
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