Saturday, 23 February 2013


AFTERNOON OF DAY FOUR: Yay! It's finally time to start to paint! Can't wait to see how my design will look in colour! I have a general idea of what it's going to be like, but I work intuitively, adding and blending colours as I go along, and I always end up being surprised at what evolves!

DAY FIVE:  Drinking yaqona (also known as kava - a drink made from the crushed roots of the Piper Methysticum plant) is an integral part of Fijian culture.  This 'muddy water', served in a coconut shell from a communal wooden 'tanoa' bowl, is our national drink, used in solemn ceremonies of welcome, burial, and the sealing of various alliances.  Kava-drinking has now evolved into a social past-time, with many of Fiji's multicultural population now unwinding around a tanoa after a long hot day at work...
In deference to this aspect of Fijian identity, a heart-shaped yaqona leaf is added to my painting!

The wonderful thing about painting here, just a few meters away from the beach, is being able to wade into the water and go snorkeling whenever I need a break or some new inspiration!
My temporary studio:  the porch of one of the lovely garden villas at Blue Lagoon Beach Resort
 The children have made friends with the kitchen staff who generously donate surplus bread for their fish-feeding escapades. We swim out to the edge of the coral, where schools of silvery green chromis, zebra and parrot fish swarm in around us... incredibly beautiful!
They get a mention in my painting as well - with a bit of poetic license thrown in as I can't resist a flash of bright red to offset the blues!

DAY SIX at Blue Lagoon Beach Resort:  We have to head back to the mainland today (sigh!) - but there's still time to hop onto a small boat, and head out to a reef a little to the south of this island. Donning flippers and masks, we make the ungainly plunge into the turquoise water - and enter a world of mesmerizing grace and beauty! This reef has lots of soft coral, and patches of anemones, inhabited by various versions of Nemo! But the highlight for me is watching a long black and white striped sea snake (dadakulaci) - by far the biggest I've ever seen, weaving it's way through the coral in a slow-motion underwater dance, seemingly oblivious of the onlookers hovering a few feet above!
Moce Mada - Sota Tale!  We will miss the tranquil beauty of this place!

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