Friday, November 14, 2008

kuata lobe (kuata island)

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kuata island is inhabited by the namara, villagers who gather on the beach to sing you a welcome song as your tiny boat arrives on shore. ..i was one of 8 people staying on the island with the namara.
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.we got to know each other, and it became very apparent that the namara have a deep respect for military service personnel. ..many, many times, with a great deal of respect, the men would ask me “so, mister lenny, you were in service?”

i also got asked, several times, “what you think of obama?” (yes, ladies and germs, even on the remote island of kuata, out in the middle of the pacific ocean, inquiring minds want to know about this obama guy). ..even namara vunda fijians feel empowered by the most recent american vote.

small note: i have to say that almost every person that i’ve met has enthusiastically approved of america’s selection. ..people from other countries are also very likely to voice their opinion in regard to america’s outgoing administration, which is considered to be both arrogant and war-hungry. ..in a single day, people from all over this planet felt as if americans came through for them. ..the international opinion of america was transformed.
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what a difference a day makes.
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fijians, however, will not openly criticize the current u.s. administration, but their facial expressions speak volumes when they mention the names associated with current policy.
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some fijians ask very pointed, inquisitive questions, such as: “you like obama? you vote for a black man?
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i respond by side-stepping the race issue, stating: “obama is smart. ..i like him, and i hope that he will be good for america and for our planet.”

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there was an electric outlet in the dining area. ..whenever i plugged my laptop in, a crowd of namara would gather to look at the pictures. ..they also love it when you take their picture, and sincerely enjoy looking at each other, on the digital camera view screen.

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whenever i’d lay my sunglasses down, one of the men would put them on and look at me, smiling and awaiting my approval. ..i was hoping that no one was going to hand me some cava and say, in a slow voice: “good.....................trade?”

below: kuatu, and life with the namara

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.below: a couple of massage therapists. ..it is interesting to note that very little massage happens on these islands. ..most of the people who embark on these tours are backpackers who are watching every fijian dollar. .
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it's also rumored that the massage personnel are not professionally trained, so people aren't ready to spend the big bucks on a massage.

i've been asked to teach a few techniques to the namara massage therapists, and i have graciously agreed to do so (hopefully, i'll be able to show them something that they aren't already doing).
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on kuata, one of the new arrival backpackers asked a veteran backpacker "what is there to do here?" and received this direct quote: "i recommend the hammocks." that, in a word, could sum up kuata, except for the people, the food, the water, the views and the swimming with sharks (that's another story for another post).
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.below: the evenings consist of song and cava. more on cava, more on sharks, later.


















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