Friday, August 12, 2005

Fijian Wedding

This is cut and pasted from the "shopping list" post. I realized I'd slipped into a narrative. But I don't have time to describe the wedding properly.

I called Laisa. The wedding was at 3, so I walked back from town to the hotel (about a half hour sinc I was wearing shoes) and then I just jumped in the pool, which is a nice little saltwater pool surrounded by ugly britishers sunburning.

While drip drying, I read my book "Wild Life among the Pacific Islanders" and realized that my experience wasn't that different from a stranded sea captain in the 1800s.

I only had a half hour so I couldn't burn like the brits. I caught the hotel shuttle (which is supposed to be free, but usually overcharges, more than a taxi.) to the village turnoff, but he wouldn't take me any further. So I had to catch another minibus to the village and got there right at three.

The girls were still doing (straightening) their hair, so I sat and did nothing for a while until I won Vika over (this is the one Kelsey should be jealous of. She's younger than Eden, but cuter.) So we ended up playing tag, etc. for about an hour until the wedding finally started.

There was a massive crew preparing the lovo. Boys scraping coconuts, women fixing all kinds of stuff, wood fires to heat the rocks and cook the stuff that wasn't going into the lovo. A guy painting the walls inside the house.

It was a methodist church. Fairly humble, but they'd decorated the yard very nicely with a pole pavilion and tin roofs over the tables which had tablecloths with masi designs. Masi is the traditional bark cloth with brown and white patterns stamped in it. The wedding clothes are made of masi and I have some pictures.

Not to be confused with Masi, who kept ushering me around from one place to another, saying, "Come, my Aarrrron" (trilled r) anytime I was more than two steps behind.

To Vika I was AlAl -- to Moses I was Annann.

So I sat through a blessing of the groom by his mother (I think) and an old preacher lady with grey hair and a quite respectable white beard who was dressed all in white. She was reading from the bible at times, so I didn't have to fear being added to the lovo.

I met Laisa's friends and family, but lost track. Suzie was the one getting married. And her best friend was the tall skinny one. Their mom had red hair. She's Masi's elder sister. I'm not sure who the dad was, but the grooms dad is dumb -- a mute.

So they lathered up the boys (groom and best man) with johnson's baby oil and put on the masi. Eventually the cerimony started with speaches by the (male) preacher (i think) and justice of the peace (I think) -- he wore what looked like a navy uniform. Maybe Assemblies of God dressses like that.

It was a Methodist church, but I think Laisa said they were something else, like maybe AoG.

So right before the vows, my phone rang. It was the yacht captain apologising for being late. (I told him I was still in Nadi for a wedding, and sent an email in the morning, but I guess he didn't get the message.) We rescheduled to meet Monday.

After the ceremony was the giving of the Tabua (tambua, or whale's tooth) from the bride's family to the groom's father. Essentially they are giving her to them as her adopted family and forgiving them for their son stealing her daughter. I might not have that quite right.

Oh yeah, Fijians go through the same long handshaking ritual that everyone else seems to.

Then there was the dinner. So good. I exercised my Lovo muscle quite well. It's getting bigger.
Dalo tastes soooo much better when it's got woodsmoke flavor.

There was a fish salad or something that was great too.

All the girls (who weren't married that day) wanted to go dancing at the nightclub, they dragged me, and then finally everyone changed their mind and didn't go. I was back in bed before midnight.

I had an ice cream cone at McDonalds.


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