The last lines of the first verse of traditional Fijian farewell song Isa Lei perfectly sum up the longing we have right now for tropical island holidays.
“As the roses will miss the sun at dawn / Every moment my heart from you is yearning.”
The song is Fiji’s version of a Tongan love song, charmingly used by a visiting Fijian sergeant in 1915 to court the then-Princess he was guarding at the time. I heard it everywhere I went on my last trip to Fiji, followed, just as ubiquitously, by the interchange of “bula”.
These small but vital consistent interactions gave a reassuring familiarity to my time in Fiji and fill my memories now, combined with thoughts of the nation’s effortless providence for fish, fruit and endless kava; natural beauty, infinite luxury and cultural vitality.
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