Pigs and dark-skinned children ran beside the plane as it landed on the dirt runway on Kadavu, Fiji.
This bizarre scene set the mood for one of my favorite hair-brained acts. I had taken ten women on a retreat to get to know the four faces of the Goddess, but still couldn’t help the wild child from bursting the seams. After deplaning, we boarded a speed boat and hugged the coast until we reached Papageno Resort.
As we drew closer to shore the native Fijians stood in ankle deep water, wearing colorful sulus, singing for us. As we got out of the boats we received a flower necklace and a coconut that had the top lopped off and an ounce of rum poured in. Yum.
I remember the balmy breezes caressing my skin each night as I walked to the main bure for a dinner, dancing, singing, and the kava ceremony.
One rainy morning, we took a boat ride through the mangrove-lined harbor to the village to listen to the children sing. They were beautiful.
As we began to descend the slick mud trail from the village to the ocean, a guide took my elbow to prevent me from falling, but to his great surprise, I allowed myself to slip and fall on my bum, and pushed off, slipping and sliding a hundred feet down the hill, hooting and hollering the entire way. The Fijians, who poked their head out of their tin roof shacks, stared at me in wonder, then laughed themselves silly. By the time we got in our boat and back to the resort, everyone on the island had heard the story of the crazy American woman, through the coconut wire.