29 May 2014

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Me to C.  (dear guest):  You ever see horses transported like this in Austratla?
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C.:  No.
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Me:  Not in America either.
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A TRIP TO THE BEACH WITH AUSTIN
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C. and I accompanied Austin to the coast while he was on a hunt for leaves for making a local medicine.  This is the beach we call Ludi’s Beach.
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Aha!  the first plant Austin needs – beach morning glory – a VINE.   (Remember I decided to study vines?).
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Here it is in profusion.
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I was fascinated with these tree roots.   Austin said, “prop roots”  I asked him what tree it was.   “You know that tree,” he said, “look at the leaves”
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Pandanus.  Yes, I know the tree – the leaves are used for mats.  I just never noticed the roots. 
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Next thing Austin noticed  was the slide mark on this tall sand slope.   He said a dog had slid down rubbing its belly in the sand for the whole length of the hill.   “How do you know it was a dog, Austin?” I asked.
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“Because of the paw prints,”     (Cue Kim slapping forehead.)
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Austin and C. climbed to the top,  I went up about 1/3 of the way.  He took my camera:  I’m the orange speck below.
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Austin took a bunch of panorama shots from up there – here is one.
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Some local guys arrived.  One brought a horse to break.   I don’t know if breaking a horse is ever done in the water in the States – it is the standard method in Fiji.
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As we were walking back to the truck Austin found this piece of old lava (pumice) and was eager to show it off to C. and me.   See the thready parts in the inside – that shows how it was molten and pulled like glass.
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Last thing as we were leaving, Austin noticed this jaw piece in the sand.  C. had already picked it up and I said “Put it back!  I need a photo!”   They were debating Pig or Dog – and decided it is Dog.   Oh goody.
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At this point we were finished with Ludi’s beach, but not with our mission.   
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Next stop MANGROVES, trees that live in salt water on the coast.   Austin needed the aerial roots for the medicine.   (You forgot we were collecting herbs for medicine, didn’t you …. yeah – I did, too!)
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Near the mangroves, he found another tree he needed – “siri” – or something like that.  He couldn’t remember if he needed the bark or the leaves – so he got both.   By the way, this medicine is a tonic that Junia’s mother Palu used to make.   It had about a dozen different ingredients – Austin was going for the 5 he thought were the most important.  This medicine is good at reducing blood sugar and we were making it for a dear friend who was having a lot of trouble with her diabetes.    When Austin had the “siri” – he had 3 herbs of the 4 on the coast he was going for.
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Next stop – a beach in Cuvu – owned by Fiji Sugar Corporation.  We were kind of trespassing – but the security guard turned out to be an old friend of Austin’s and was happy to let us park there.  
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And here was the other vine he needed.  I have no idea what it is called.  It has a yellow flower.  It grows there.   
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The fifth herb is papaya leaves that we had back at the farm.   I was not around while Austin and Junia made the medicine, it did not take long.  By the next morning they sent a bottle of medicine for our friend.   She’s been taking it for nearly a week and her blood sugar readings are much improved.
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~~~  HAPPY HOLY DAY,  my fellow Baha’is. ~~~
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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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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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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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