Up betimes, laundry and housework done by nine after which I cruised up to flagstaff to check out the legendary butcher. Indeed he has it all, including corned beef. The prices are not horrendous at all. I bought a kilo of corned rolled brisket for $11,, which should give me at least three good meals once the fat is extracted.
After returning my prize to the refrigerator and resetting the alarm system, it was time to repair to yon place of repast known as Guava. There a number of Chelsea’s friends and colleagues gathered to celebrate her birthday. Guava’s menu is extensive, but when I saw "smoked marlin scrambled eggs" I looked no further. When served I was very happy with my choice.
Afterwards, back to the house to pack a bag with togs, towel, mask and schnorkel, bottle of drink and camera. Slap on some SPF, and away. I stopped at Navua for a leg stretch and some photos, then on to the beacccccch. A real beach.
On parking the bike under a coconut tree (having checked for imminent potential falling coconut missiles) I was mobbed by a host of two young boys who seemed to be everywhere at once. They tried on my helmet, and gloves, lovingly fondled the bike, and asked a barrage of questions about what this was, and what that did. Neither had been close to a motorcycle before. They were in awe of the first they had seen out of a
movie. I noticed how they were careful to respect my more private property, so I asked them if they would keep an eye on the bike and my camera, watch and wallet while I while I swam. They were very happy to.
In the water, my wonder and love of the sea was reawakened. I wished I had an underwater camera again. At one end of the beach is a bed of eel grass.and a rocky reef where I found some very colourful little fish. Bright, bright electric blue demoiselles and striped blue wrasses, Fish in black and white and silver livery, pink and orange, Fishes of forms and colours I remember well but whose names I have forgotten. I don’t like the casual way that the word "awesome" has been devalued. It is used these days to describe the mundane, but I had an awesome time. I felt Good.
When I came ashore, my young friends reported that all was secure. While I had been in the water I noticed they never went near the bike or the gear, but patrolled around it. They took no liberties, and were doing a good vigilant job, waving assurance to me whenever I looked up from the waves. I shared my drink with them, and tipped them a dollar each before I left.
On the way back I stopped to take some shots of the agrarian burn off on the land adjacent to the road. The fire was so intense that I could feel the heat while parked on the verge. It was so hot that lush green grass was smoking for only a second or so as it dried, then burning fiercely. It seemed odd that no one was there to keep an eye on it.
Later, close to Suva, I stopped again to take photos of derelict boats and
wharves, and chatted with the Captain, an old guy from Seattle who has been building
a cabin cruiser. His third, he tells me. This one is for himself. He had just moved in to live on it last
week. He invited me on board and we talked for half an hour or so. The Captain is ancient mariner who has
been in Fiji for donks. He is a very interesting character, and most photogenic, but it was not until I was on my bike and away that I realised I had forgotten to take
a picture of him.
On my return to the house I was pretty hungry, and quite tired. I cooked the corned beef, while I cleaned and desalted the bike, made a corned beef and sauerkraut sandwich, and started processing the more interesting of the photos of the day.
I soon caught myself sleeping at the keyboard. So though it was only about 9, I fell into bed and crashed.
I was asleep instantly.