By Patricia Page
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Additional resources for Across the Magic Line: Growing Up in Fiji
This time I had no problem with my ears. The highest part of the road had been replaced by the New Queen’s Road, which avoided the old twists and curves and cut more cleanly through the mountains to the coast and its beaches. ‘Went to thoo thoo beach. ’ The illustration is of two big waves with curly tops and my bottom and baby legs poking out of one of them. 40 Across the Magic Line Today Cuvu Beach, a reef break prized by surfers, is the gateway to Shangri-la Fijian Resort on Yanuca Island, linked by a causeway to the mainland.
Once, in the post office, an Indian accidentally brushed her foot with his while she was waiting to be served. ’ My mother was almost as horrified as I was by this. When we got home she mimicked Mrs Willoughby Tottenham to my father. ’ They agreed that this was going much too far. The intermingling of Fijians and Indians was frowned upon by the Government and, while mission schools were being set up for the Fijians, very little was being done for the Indians. ’ Mistrust was official. By the Forties there was an Indian school in Suva but it was separate from the Fijian one.
Sunglasses were out; they were considered the height of rudeness, particularly when meeting somebody for the first time. A Fijian’s hair was considered sacred. Never touch it. If a village child or even adult asked you for your 38 Across the Magic Line shoes or jewellery, this was the custom of shared property or kerekere. If you didn’t feel like parting with these you shouldn’t show surprise or take offence but refuse gently. The traditional and unavoidable yaqona, or kava drinking ceremony, was hedged about with dos and don’ts that went on for at least a page.
Across the Magic Line: Growing Up in Fiji by Patricia Page