Monday, December 26, 2011
And so this is Christmas
Our Christmas Day in Fiji was the first day we didn’t go into the village of Savusavu. We had been told that the town would pretty much be shut down for the day, and that most businesses would also be closed the following two days for an extended holiday. With that in mind, on Saturday, we loaded up on what we thought we would need and spent Sunday in and around our house. The kids had two Christmas cards that we brought with them from their aunt and their grandmother, and they opened those to get a taste of being home for the holidays. Marley put together a creative holiday outfit that gave us a good smile and we also got a feel for Yule in the South Pacific with some festively dressed kayakers.
I spent a good deal of the morning hitting “refresh” on Annie’s Blackberry while following the Bengals progress against the Cardinals, which was a bit maddening as a nice, relaxed 23-point lead dwindled away. With that victory finally safely secured, and visions of trying to follow the Bengals playoff march in New Zealand dancing in my head, I whipped up a grilled cheese lunch for the kids, while Annie coped with a bout of Vijay Singh’s revenge. (The surname Singh appears to be the most common one in Fiji, occupying more than six pages in the Fiji phone book and there are about two dozen Singh’s with the first name of Vijay.) While Annie recuperated thanks to some antibiotics we brought with us and a yuletide feast of grilled cheese and Pringles, Ben and Marley and I hit the water as some Fijian families took advantage of the low tide and enjoyed the holiday on the beach. The snorkeling on our side of the island isn’t as good as it is on the south side where Koro Sun Dive is located. The coral there is still alive and colorful compared to the brown coral where we are which is mostly dead thanks to some sort of killer starfish. There still are enough fish on our side to make it worth the time and effort it takes to swim around in the warm calm waters. An approaching afternoon storm, a daily occurrence so far, chased us back to the house, where the kids enjoyed some re-warmed spaghetti from a couple of nights ago and some of Dad’s homemade garlic bread. I grilled out a lamb shank, the closest thing I could find to roast beast in my best attempt to re-create the Whoville holiday feast. As we’ve done most evenings, we watched a movie. This time, it was one we bought a couple of days ago in the village, a pirated copy of The Tourist, with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. For the three dollars we spent at the video store, it was worth it and an enjoyable escape, even if it was the second time we watched it. Marley liked it primarily because of the location of the action, taking place in one of her favorite cities in the world, Venice. While we’ve been here, we have watched Caddyshack twice, The Rabbit Proof Fence (based on the true story of some Aborigine girls taken from their families in Australia in the 1920s), and also The Blind Side with Sandra Bullock. I was skeptical going into that one, fearing it was some sappy uplifting story (thirty years as a hardened radio newsman has made me a little skeptical about such tales) but it was actually pretty good. Besides catching up on some movies, we’ve also been voracious readers, mostly on Kindles or the Ipad, which have great compatibility in that when you buy something on the Kindle, you can download it for free on the Ipad. The kids are reading The Hunger Games Trilogy, while Annie has read The Art of Racing in the Rain, The Paris Wife, American on Purpose, Honeymoon with My Brother, Family Sabbatical, Golfing with God and Under the Overpass. In my best Bill Murray in Stripes mode, I’ve been pacing myself on my reading, having really enjoyed Honeymoon with My Brother, which is about a guy whose bride-to-be bails on their wedding at the last minute, and he decides to go ahead with the honeymoon, taking his brother to Costa Rica. That plants the seed that they should travel the world together, which they do for two years. Considering what we are in the beginnings of, that book really resonated with Annie and me. I’m also almost done with AWOL on the Appalachian Trail, about a computer programmer from Florida who, after 20 years of slaving away in a cubicle, decides to quit and hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail. His quest is slightly different than ours, but has enough similarities to make it appealing and it’s been a good read. We’re looking forward to that trend continuing over the next few weeks and months of our travels.