Across the Magic Line: Growing Up in Fiji by Patricia Page

By Patricia Page

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You live in England now? In France? Pareese? Very very far! You sisters? ’ Others were twisting round and listening in. The windowseat passengers had rolled down the tarpaulins and held them still with elbows and hands to keep the rain out. Some were old and torn and let in the rain anyway. Nobody seemed to mind. Saris flapped in the wet wind. A little boy poked his head out and opened his mouth to catch the drops. The driver had turned the music up high. Maybe it was BULA FM. Suva 102 FM. Suva tomorrow.

Daddy took us for a lovely nine mile drive. Half way 44 Across the Magic Line we climbed a hill. From the top we could see a lovely view of the furtile valley below. ’ We also visited Korotogo, just past Sigatoka on the way to Suva and well-known for its spectacular reef. In my diary I make a long list of all the sea creatures I saw. I’d been there many times before, never tiring of exploring it and discovering the workings of its seething watery universe. At high tide it was an ordinary bay dotted with dugout canoes filled with men, women and children fishing, but when the tide went out it left a magic world.

According to the pamphlet, the creation of Pacific Harbour hadn’t been all plain sailing. The shark god Qaraniqio, who lived there, stopped the developers draining the swampy ground until his two spirit ladies had been appeased. ‘The spirit ladies must be mighty pleased with the result. ’ Utopia behind us, we crossed the Navua River — narrower and more mysterious than the Sigatoka, its steep banks rent with waterfalls. Gay suggested we come back there later for a whitewater rafting trip. ‘White-water rafting?

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