Feeling lucky to be an Australian
The last couple of days in Tonga and Fiji have left me feeling a bit hazy and sad, and reminded me how blessed my cozy life in suburban Australia really is.
Tonga and Fiji are both places with very unstable political and social atmospheres. And they are beautiful, beautiful nations with gorgeous people, so it is hard to accept the reailty that their lives can be at the mercy of not just weather and the economy, but uprisings and riots and rebels.
*sigh* We had a good time in both places, with interesting stuff to see etc, but I just couldn't shake the overriding feeling that we were flaunting our luck and freedom in front of people who don't have much of either.
Noel and the girls and I have started to feel a little "shut in" while on the ship on sea days, so when we arrived at Tonga we were pretty keen to just spend the day outside. We found a nice area of shady trees near the beach and had a relaxing day absorbing the sand and water and trees and colours. Most of the others joined us around about lunchtime and somehow, in the midst of all the distracting gorgeousness of a south pacific beach, we had a really deep discussion about art and expression and social equality and such. A lot of the discussion flowed from a mention of last year's riots here in Tonga and all the issues they brought to the surface.
The discussion continued that night through dinner, though it merged into more of a discussion of various artforms and their ability to change the world... or something like that. I have to say I felt a lot less eloquent and knowledgable than the others, particularly Gemma, Amber and Connor who, my word, have good brains in their heads! It was great to have a good quality arty-farty conversation.
Our day in Suva was very nature-oriented too. We visisted a local market to stock up on food for lunch and then Clara and Amber-the-ultimate-nature-lover joined us for a visit to a Forest Park. It was beautiful of course and such a change of pace from the fakey/touristy/snobby/hectic mood aboard the ship. Quite a few times as we walked around the park I just closed my eyes and stopped to breathe in the forest.
After a picnic lunch we headed back into the city and had a bit of a wander around, checking out a couple of other markets and local ware stores. I loved the marketplaces; bustling and crowded but in a friendly and inclusive way.
I'm off now to get the kids settled and then Gemma, the lovely wonderful fabulous girl that she is, is going to stay with them so that Noel and I can have a nice night together. Mmmmm... dinner, uninterrupted...