FIJI FLASHBACK #3: Golf as therapy?

6/9/2009

My dad was a pretty keen golfer… I am not sure if it was an activity he was able to enjoy much in Fiji, but I thought “HECK, I might as well have the best of both worlds”… He loved Fiji, and he loved golf, so why not play golf IN Fiji!? My accommodation came with a “FREE GOLF” clause so I headed the 5-minute walk along the beach to the Nadi Airport Golf Club (Where Vijay Singh learned his trade). I was greeted by a 10 year old boy who told me… “This is a good course Sir”… and then added even MORE helpful information such as… “This is a very good course TO HAVE A CADDIE ON Sir…” to which I politely declined with a small “don’t bug me anymore” donation. I then set off to tame the savage beast of a course. After playing to the wrong green on Hole number 3 and struggling to find the 4th tee (I was standing on the 4th Green which wasn’t helping things much)… I thought to myself – THIS WOULD BE A GREAT COURSE TO HAVE A CADDIE ON!!! I had a fantastic time playing Golf and loved chatting to a Scottish man and his Aussie wife who lived in Nadi… I gave their little boy the leftover balls from my game as I didn’t think I would be needing them on the next few legs of this journey!

Fiji_nadi-1Fiji_nadi-2Fiji_nadi-3

Today is Father’s Day both here, in Oz and in NZ. I miss my little Emily. She has started cuddling me and saying “MY Daddy”… who WOULDN’T miss that? If Dad were alive, I would have called him to say a resounding “BULA”, and talked about my round of golf, no doubt shaving a few shots off the score as the story progressed… He would have asked me to have a Fiji Premium for him, so tonight, I think I just might! I can’t really remember any Father’s Day times with Dad… I know we must have done something??? Many Fathers Days that I DO remember usually involved long distance phone calls and sending him cards… In the last years of his life, there seemed little point… it was really tricky trying to make an effort, because most of the time, he didn’t seem to even realise that he was a Dad. When I saw him, I was just “the boy”… Stinging at the time, but not so much now… Crap I hated Alzheimers.

Rain set in this afternoon… so not much activity to report. The hostel got rid of it’s daily load of revellers, only to replace them with a squeaky clean new batch as the next wave of planes landed, or boats arrived back from the party Islands… everyone a lot poorer and a little worse for wear!

I can totally understand why people fall in love with Fiji… you can definitely get the sense that the way the people treat you is not just a glossy veneer put on to get more dollars from the tourists… the ALWAYS have a smile for you and greet every “Thank You” with a gracious and courteous “Vanaka”. Tonight is a special night… I never dreamed of spending a Father’s Day night in a place where my Father was so ALIVE and kicking… I can imagine what this trip would be like if we had come here together… He would have been bursting at the seams to take me to the next place that he used to hang out… I can’t wait to find a few places for myself to be honest… I don’t really think I need to imagine what it would be like to have him here with me, because right now, it truly feels like he is… *gulp*

Off to Suva tomorrow… that is where things will really start to feel like I am walking in Dad’s shoes… Suva was where his Flying Boat landed… Where he saw Fiji for the first time! (I KNOW!!! I ALREADY FOUND OUT THIS ISN’T TRUE!!!) I just had a Dad flashback… I remember stopping in Nadi on the way to LA when I was 6… When I got back, there was the earth-shattering news that it wasn’t pronounced “NAHDEE” like I thought from how it is spelled… Dad had a way of educating me in these things… there was also the time when Dad told me that my Favourite Uncle Mike thought I was “Witty”… I burst into tears because that sounded far too much like a naughtier word that I wasn’t allowed to say… Dad kindly let me in on the fact that it was actually a compliment… Thanks Dad! Those were important lessons to learn and you helped me learn them well!

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