The crossing

Noleen Billings Hazelman, Savusavu | Wednesday, January 3, 2018
It was the day after the first of 2018. If someone observant enough had seen the look of amusement on my face, I'm darn sure that he or she would have been tickled too. Watching Savusavu roll by is all that it takes to bring a smile to any face.

Parked by the famous unlit and unmanned zebra crossing in town and waiting on my husband to return from an errand, gave me an opportune time to sit back, relax and enjoy our characters as they passed by.

There was a father, relaxing on the verandah of the oldest wooden building in town, sending his sons to and fro to do his bidding. The kids didn't look happy and neither did they look sad. I think their being allowed to come into town far outweighed the burden of their tasks. It was actually dad that didn't look all that satisfied.

A nanna, likely from one of our coastal villages, was dressed all-mismatched country fashion in a skirt and top with a rather larger shirt that hung to her knees and was thrown over the top. Her grey hair was combed neatly. She was trying her best to keep up with the changing crossing speed of the pedestrian crossing.

More country folk stepped on to the crossing. This lot was different. Totally oblivious to time or to the dangers of the approaching impatient drivers. In an annoyingly over-casual manner they dragged themselves across like they had all the time in the world and like the drivers had to wait no matter what. This is what I usually term "the time within Fiji time". And what does that mean? Well, there's Fiji time which is slow enough, then there's Savusavu time, which is the time taken to complete a task in one's own time and no matter what, no one can affect a change for the better for it is a choice time.

And I carried on my observation.

A man, likely in his mid-thirties, stopped a two to three-year-old boy who was clinging to his mother's hand, threw a few friendly jabs in his surprised face, gave a big kaila and marched off towards the crossing.

Then there were a couple of slightly tanned young kids, obviously overseas dwellers, dressed in caps and sleeveless T-shirts. They walked with the pace as one would the city streets and they crossed with the same urgency. Oh, if only everyone could cross in the same manner.

I couldn't help but read the people's faces. Some were just plain glum, a few were serious. I noticed some renown Savusavu smiles. Then there were the classic only-in-Savusavu head-thrown-back, wide-mouthed roars! One surely couldn't mistake those.

It was thrilling indeed to just sit there and gaze at my people. They're certainly all awesome, every one of them, in their own country way.

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