On one of our first nights out to O’Riley’s (the only bar one should go to besides traps), we all got pretty drunk. Pre-gaming consisted of chugging longnecks and stumbling to the bus stop before busses stopped running. Blurred lines, DJ Bobo’s Gotta Go, and the Lion King song– staples of O’s– induced us into a dancing coma. Matt and I would always try to get the DJ to play Benny Benassi’s “Cinema” which sometimes would get played but most of the times not. One night after we put in our request and snaked our way back to the group, this random Korean guy Tai handed me a glass of neon green liquid. Skeptical at first, I thought back to all the times everyone told me, “never take a drink from a stranger,” but I was in Fiji and I was with my friends so I drank it anyway. Radioactive goodness flowed through my lips; this overly sweet infusion of lime and vodka was none other than Tribe. What he did next confused me, he handed a glass a quarter filled to Matt. Then he did it to Chris, to Elise, to Dante. Why was he giving us shots from his pitcher of Tribe? This wouldn’t make sense to me until the next day. However, we weren’t complaining, some guy was giving us free drinks! That’s also why I don’t remember how I got back to the flats that night, why I woke up at one pm and why it wasn’t till late afternoon that I realized Morgan had not been with us.
I was freaking out. I texted her, called her… no response. I thought she had been stolen and it was all my fault. As I was trying to figure out what happened, I get a call from a number I didn’t know– it was Morgan!. Yes, she was okay. Not only was she okay, she met a guy last night! He was Fijian and had blue eyes. In my head I pictured a dark skinned man with blue eyes. Needless to say I was confused but so relieved and happy she was safe. She had met this Fijian dude Zane and went back to his friends house with a whole group of people. She got back to the flats a little after that and asked me if I wanted to go with her and Zane to Pacific Harbor. We quickly packed and left cause Zane was waiting for us outside.
Zane, a white boy, with huge sunglasses– the kind that are so dark you can’t see the eyes– was driving a pickup truck. We made formal introductions and were on our way. A few minutes into the drive, he gets a phone call, someone needs him to pick them up on the way; a couple waiting on the side of the road. We picked up Lee Barber, another international student, loud, drunk, and… loquacious. Morgan and I had met him at the international student orientation and he hadn’t exactly made the best first impression. Besides the point. We were now our way to Pac Harbor. The moment the truck’s tires left Suva, the clouds gave way exposing the dewy droplets of rain strewn across the grassy hills glistening under the sun. This was when I saw it: the most beautiful rainbow I’ve ever seen in my life. It actually had all the colors of a rainbow, well minus indigo, and it was huge. I reached my hand out the window hoping to grasp the beautiful array of colors even just slightly. No luck. I thought to myself, “I can’t believe I’m actually here in Fiji!!! WHAT!!??.”
We arrive at Tui’s house with all of Zane’s friends looking like they had no plans of leaving their perspective spots on the couch. Morgan and I sat sandwiching a teddy bearish Fijian wearing an Uprising pinny. The whole time he just kept repeating, “Oh you girls are so beautiful. Welcome to Fiji.” then he would go on and to saying, “OHH I am so so sorry.” We had no idea why he kept saying that but he succeeded in making us laugh. Then we started Taki-ing. This guy sat in the middle of the circle of couches and declared himself the Taki master. He passes around a glass with about a shot’s worth of Fiji Bitter to one person, then took it back, filled it and passed it to the next person and so on. So this is what Tai was doing last night– Taki. We talked, we laughed, we got a Taki– this went on from the moment we got there till the moment we all passed out. Keep in mind, Zane, Morgan, and the rest of the crew there had not gone to sleep yet from the night before. Drunker and drunker I got, still functioning but definitely drunk, I decided I really liked Taki. It’s a social way of drinking where everyone shares and nobody’s chugging anything, and most of all I wasn’t getting my usual Asian glow. Everything was so chill, the couches were outside under a little veranda, everyone was taki-ing, the people were nice. After a lot of Takis, the Fijian between Morgan and I finally told us why he was sorry; it has been his fault we were stuck out in the middle of the ocean rocking back and fourth after our snorkel trip at Uprising. What a small world!
Where am I, my face hurts, what happened? I had passed out on the couch outside and Zane and Morgan had brought me into the side house (Tui’s sister Leah’s room). It was adorned with beautiful paintings and random pieces of inexplicable art. As for my face and body, I had been mauled, eaten alive by mosquitoes. My face was so swollen, my eyes would not open fully. My arms, my back– covered in itchy red lumps. It was only 4 in the morning and all I could do was wait under the thick blanket, occasionally coming up for a breath of air only to hear thousands of mosquitos waiting patiently for a quick bite.
Finally, everyone woke up and we went to the beach where Morgan and I jumped in the water and my pains were soothed. The cold salt water felt like a bath of relief.