Thursday, December 11, 2003

More From Fiji (3 of lots)

After the ceremony, the village puts on a show -- we turn around on the mat and are facing an open square.  The villagers (maybe 30 of 'em -- all adults) come out with guitar and some rhythm instruments and sing and dance for us.  Some of their singing is pretty darned good -- they got some nice harmonies going.  The dancing is nothing difficult -- the women just take teeny little steps side to side -- although the men did some battle-type dancing which was interesting if not affirmatively entertaining.  At one point, they dragged us up to join them in the conga-line type dance.  One of the locals says, "Shake it; don't break it" and it cracks us all up.

The thing I couldn't get over were the costumes.  They all had matching sulus and the women were wearing bright pink or blue satin shirts -- at least, they looked satin.  They looked hideous and didn't really fit in with what we'd seen of Fijian attire.  But what got me was they were pristine.  These shirts were the cleanest thing we'd seen on the island -- certainly cleaner than any of the "clean" washing we'd seen drying in the sun on the lines.  I figured the cruise ship must have laundered the damn things and brought them in just for performances.  I mean, here's the cleanest thing these folks have to wear -- probably better than their Sunday best for church -- and its an ugly costume they wear when putting on a show for the tourists.

After the show, we stood up and they villagers all came by to shake our hands like a massive receiving line.  Once the line finished, we looked at the square and it had been magically taken over by the "shell market" -- about 15 women had set up sheets with hand-made wares for sale.  Mostly shell necklaces.  Nearly everyone bought something.  (I didn't--but had contributed to the collection box in the church.)

We got back on the longboat (I hit my knee AGAIN) and back on the ship, which we took back to our island.

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