With unrelenting dreary weather we knew we’d have to create our own sunshine for my birthday. Jack made a reservation at the resort restaurant and we were glad the crew of Rehua joined us. It’s always fun to be around a family with young children because they inject a shot of energy into any gathering. Dinner was nice but the real surprise was afterwards, when the entire staff and the musicians paraded out with a birthday cake and sang a Fijian rendition of Happy Birthday. Thanks to my darling Jack for arranging it.
We were visited by a young couple who had come to Fiji for a “commitment ceremony” — I guess that’s a thing — and they also had a big cake, a piece of which they sent over to us. After we had our cake there was so much left over that we asked the waiter to divide it 1/3 -2/3, wrap the smaller piece for us and the larger piece for Rehua. The larger piece of cake never made it back to the table. When I asked about it, it turns out the waiter had misunderstood and sent it to the party with the commitment couple who already had a cake and must have wondered why we sent them ours. Oops. He slumped away and returned a few minutes later with a large piece of the commitment cake for Rehua to take home. So after a lot of cake swapping, we all got enough cake to take home for breakfast.
While all this was happening Ivan, the chef and owner of the resort, came over to wish me a happy birthday and bought us a round of drinks. He also shared his dietary tips: he doesn’t eat much but does enjoy about ten beers during the day. I guess it’s working for him.
It was still overcast the next day but at least the rain had stopped so we scrambled up the hill to a path we heard would lead to a tea house on the other side of the island. We passed the new solar array being installed, one of many we encountered throughout Fiji. Present weather notwithstanding Fiji enjoys intense sunlight and the government and business are investing heavily to bring cheap and reliable power to remote areas.
Our path led us through this man’s yard and we stopped to chat for a few minutes. Everyone we meet wants to know our names, where we come from, how long we’ve been in Fiji and how long we’re staying. They also remember us and we’re always greeted on subsequent meeting by name. We can’t remember a more welcoming place than Fiji.
We met Lo of tea house fame at the top of the hill but she told us she’d been ill and her niece would be taking care of us. We ordered tea and the recommended chocolate cake, which was moist and delicious and made, we were told, with coconut milk instead of butter and eggs. We passed on more shell jewelry and I had to talk Jack out of spending a large chunk of our dwindling cash on a huge trumpet shell but we did add something to the school donation box. This area, like everywhere in Fiji, was hard hit by cyclone Winston and they’re doing their best to rebuild.
Lo’s niece showed us a low-tide shortcut back to the resort but we opted to go overland the way we came. After all, we have to work off all that cake. The sun finally peeked out and we got a glimpse of what Brooke Shields’ Blue Lagoon looks like in better weather. Just another stunning Fiji location.