Less than 1000 nm to our destination! We are being visited by the variety of seabirds that never fly too far from land. According to our chart we will sail to the south of the Marquesas Archipelago during the next three days. We should be visited by more White-tailed Tropicbirds, Frigates and Boobies. Fishing has not been up to expectations, but wait until Sunday!
Invariably it always begins with a fleeting thought about a certain food or beverage you might be missing from home. Much to your surprise you discover that other crew members have also been "dreaming" about a certain food from a particular shop or restaurant. Before you know it you're articulating your thoughts to others. It's not long before small groups are playing mind games about food and drinks. The craving for a special treat has gone viral and the crew is reminiscing about favourite gastronomies from home OR they're planning on what they will order once they arrive at the next port!
This train of thought makes for some interesting conversation as participants elaborate on when and where they've had the cuisine or how it was cooked and served. Some crew start to play the "what if" game."What if you were given three wishes, what would you bring on board in unlimited quantities?" The answers aren't something a psychiatrist might use for analysis, but it's fun to allow yourself that self-indulgent luxury in fantasy land!
The crew of the Uto ni Yalo has reached that point after three weeks out and Ben's valiant, almost heroic, attempts at "pleasing everybody" of keeping a full stomach and a smile on their collective faces. By virtue of its design and intent, the drua has no refrigeration, coolers or huge storage spaces. In fact each crew member has the responsibility to store certain food items under her/his bunk. There was a conscious effort on LeeAnn's part [our shopper cum caterer] to match the type of item with the personality of the crew member! Therefore some of the younger men didn't get snacks or chocolate only tinned vegies or condiments! I was given the task of looking after dried fruits and smoked oysters! What does that tell me?!?
Some interesting similarities have arisen from letting one's appetite rule one's thoughts. Rourou....yes Rourou, was an almost unanimous favourite. The cooked leaves of the taro plant either with or without coconut cream [lolo] and containing anything from bacon pieces Butcher, to pork bones, to tinned fish was tops on the "wanted to eat" list. Not alone however as most included dalo, cassava or yams as their "kakana dina".
Jim, musing at 0200, concocted dry Maggi noodles in a bowl with Sun Bell tuna in oil poured over it to soften the noodles for us. His visualisation was enough to get him gazing off at the Southern Cross as images of home flashed through his noodle deprived memory!
Salome waxing with a whetted palate described the fresh, hot bread [long loaf] she would purchase from the "Top Shop" in Raiwai and smoother it in Rewa Dairy's salted butter.
Skipper insisted that Bubu's qisi rourou with bacon pieces from Wahleys butcher and dalo or tavioka with lemon and chili was without a doubt his first choice...and fresh sugar cane for desert.
Iva surprised us with her choice. As she reclined [not on watch] looking at the night sky which was so clear the stars made reflections on the surface of the sea said....."just one thing......MacDonald's French Fries with ketchup ....not tomato sauce!"
Kim begged to differ and added even when she's away from Fiji she longs for Fiji Tomato Sauce [not ketchup] and equally local Fiji Baked Beans! She did add a frosty cold Coke was an apparition she had seen while lying down on her bunk before Morpheus closed her Rotuman "mafa".
Mausio was just as poetic as he described a meal that would come close to sending him to a culinary paradise. He would take "poat kau" - tinned beef as only New Zealand can seem to make in all its cholesterolly [word?] grandeur and add thick coconut cream - not from a can, but the real stuff, grated, squeezed and drizzled over the warmed meat. As with most Rotumans, he added he needed a root crop and his case "papoi' the dense version of a type of taro[aan] sometimes called ironfood because of its consistency would do just fine.
Filo said she had been mentally tasting Rewa Dairy's Berry combo yogurt.
Ben confided that he wouldn't mind a nice cut of lamb to enhance some rourou.
Bob could "almost taste" teroro chicken. This fermented coconut dish makes eating chicken a gourmet delight. He especially likes the fermented coconut sauce that has a hint of chillie in it and is eaten with cassava or dalo. Although he wouldn't turn down uto or uvi.
Consensus foods included chocolate, ice cream and fresh fruit. Several unnamed gentlemen were unanimous in stating that once off the drua they simply would not//could not turn down Carlton Brewery's Sportsman's beer - an icy cold Fiji Bitter drank will recounting their voyage exploits and experiences!
Some of Suva's eateries were mentioned. Many enjoyed Jiojis, while others liked to eat at the kiosk near the market/bus stand where you can get a huge serve of ika vaka lolo or hot curry. MH's Food Court was mentioned for its variety. Hare Krishna's ice cream and vegetable curries with yogurt got a mention as did "the place that serves those delicious combination short soups"! Funny enough no one mentioned Suva's famous "Floating Restaurant". Maybe because we've been feasting on a great one since January 23!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
tabu soro Viti kei Rotuma.......it's not only an army that "runs' on it stomach!!!!!!!