By ten o'clock the place was full and the music-from a bank of speakers on a small stage-loud. Standing drinkers crowded against the booths; I wondered if we were expected to share. The thought had scarcely left me when I felt a heavy hand on my shoulder. I composed a smile and looked up. A Fijian woman answered with an intense but poorly focussed grin and plumped herself down beside me.
"My Swiss boyfriend send me some cash today," she revealed. "It make me sad thinking 'bout him, but happy too. So I told myself, 'Rosi, you're going to have a good time tonight.'
"I've got it all right here in my bra."
"Now you don't think I'm a bad woman. Oh no. Ask my friend. She tell you. Sally! Sally! Come sit down here." After several yells ashy, embarrassed Sally sat down beside Derek. Rosi did all the talking. "We got money. We're not like these other girls here expec' you to buy us drinks. I got it all right here in my bra!" .
A large hand descended onto my knee and lingered there. She moved closer and pressed her bosom, presumably opulent in more than just the usual sense, against my arm. So this is what it's like to be sexually harassed, I thought. I didn't want to appear unfriendly, but the aspect of Rosi was alarming. Fijian women share the robust build of the men, and Rosi was heavier than most.
"I've been to Switzerland, yes I have," she continued. "Ask her!
I can speak German. Wo kommen Sie? feh bin von Fiji fnseln/" She brought her mouth to my ear and shouted, "Wo kommen Sie? See, I speak German."
This was followed by a wet and equally noisy kiss in the ear. The hand moved to my thigh:
"Come on, buy us some beer."
Photos: Courtesy Rob Kay
Historian, novelist, and essayist Ronald Wright is the award-winning author of
nine books of nonfiction and fiction published in 16 languages and more than 50 countries. Much of his work explores the relationships between past and present, peoples and power, other cultures and our own.
On Fiji Islands, was published in 1983 to critical acclaim. He has graciously allowed Fijiguide.com to serialize his work for your enjoyment. We welcome your comments.
(For more information visit http://www.randomhouse.ca/newface/wright.php)