Tuesday, November 1 (Day 62)
Mango Bay, Fiji
Fiji became independent from Britain in the year of my birth. Thus far I’ve found the people to be extremely chilled, genuinely genuine and I’ve seen no evidence to suggest that any of them really have a single bad bone in their bodies; which gets you thinking about the fact that not so long ago these people had an infamous reputation for their cannibalism. After battle they would dine on their enemies as an act of ultimate humiliation and, often, their victims weren’t dead when they began eating their various body parts. Missionaries managed to help stamp out this gruesome behaviour but some of the first Christian preachers who arrived here are said to have witnessed cannibalism at its most extreme with victims forced to eat their own body parts whilst still alive. Like I said though, lovely people the Fijians.
November, good God. November in Europe is an extremely unappealing thought. That goes for almost anywhere in Europe. I’ve run out of excuses for not leaving Mango Bay. Yeah, lovely place, amazing sunsets, good company, daily hangover, but I think most of all I just feel sort of happy. Happy is a big word when you’ve been suffering from depression. OK, I promise (!) I will definitely attempt to leave tomorrow. Five nights here isn’t exactly doing wonders for the blog or broadening my cultural experiences in Fiji. I’m going to enjoy one more day of chilling and then get my arse out of here finally.
One thing I forgot to mention yesterday is that for me the days around Halloween are a very important part of my year. Many people believe that Halloween was simply invented by some shrewd marketing honchos in the United States but the truth is that in Pagan traditions around the world the time around October 31 until November 2 was, and is still, considered to be the ‘new year’. The Irish pagans called it Samhain, if I’m not mistaken, a time when the harvesting is finished and the dead are remembered. The Christian church has All Saints Day; in some countries you have the Day of the Dead. For those that practice Wicca this is the time in the cycle of the year and the seasons when you should say goodbye to the old and welcome in the new in your life. If you think about it, it is much more natural to celebrate the New Year now, around the mid-way point between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice, rather than on the simple calendar date of December 31. And so, psychologically at least, I have chosen, as I have done in some previous years, to use these days as a personal celebration of the old and the good memories that come with that; to say goodbye to those people, places and things that are no longer in my life, and to move on. In many senses, my new year and a new annual cycle of life start today.
This first day of November has been one of the days when everything somehow seems and feels right. My Scottish mate, Neil, likes to shout Back of the Net, when things fall into place. In fact, he does it so often that those who don’t know him think he’s got a bad case of tarets syndrome. Anyway, Back of the Net is an apt way to describe this lovely Fijian day. I spend the afternoon talking through Sci-fi movie scripts with Ruby, who works in the industry, and also discuss ideas for the same genre of novels with a beautiful lady whose mother was once Miss France. She’s already had a novel published and the gorgeous November sun is inspiring the three of us to conceive plenty of decent, what we consider to be, original ideas.
Just before sunset we tune in to the Melbourne Cup and each of us places a bet on the winner of this popular horse race that now has a huge global following. After my victory in last night’s international crab race I’m feeling bullish about keeping my winning streak going. My horse, Tunow (the second favourite) leads from the front but ends up coming in seventh. The rest of the evening at Mango Bay couldn’t be much better. Another amazing sunset across the lagoon looking out to Frigate’s Passage, a superb dinner by the sea, a buzzing post-dinner party with some quality Trance and Euro Disco tunes adding to the euphoric vibe, a bonfire on the beach, and paddling in the swimming pool in our clothes with glasses of wine in hand. One of the tunes that sticks in my mind is Amazing by Inna. It’s been one of my favourite happy tunes of these past few months but when it becomes the soundtrack for the evening you just can’t help but grin and laugh and show off your new tan. Some would call it hedonism but I prefer my Scottish mate’s phrase:
Back of the net