The New Year came around fast and we had lots of plans for the holiday. Catherine cooked us some lasagne, It's been ages since we've had Italian food. We headed over to the resort for a New Year's Eve party and met a few new people. At the same point everyone (except for us) was sitting down to dinner we got hit with a big rainstorm. Mike just managed to make it to our next destination (Neil and Hwe-Ying's party) without getting wet. I had to walk up in a downpour. We'd been thinking we might not make it to mid-night being jungle people but ended up staying until after 2am.
The holidays have been great and we've gotten to know a few of our neighbors better and gotten to know several people who have the same ideas about community as we have. It's nice knowing we have some friends here.
Luckily we managed to stay dry as the rain had stopped but the winds were gusting on our walk back home. It was whipping the trees back and forth overhead along the small forest road. We had to keep reminding ourselves to watch for falling branches rather than put our heads down into the wind. We surprised to come across a pretty purple crab (not under any potential widow-makers) Of course Samantha had to poke it.
The Village was having festivities, racing boats and horses for New Years Day and we didn't want to miss it. As we were getting ready a neighbor came by and warned us that we might be in for a big cyclone and told us what the emergency plan was. We hoped that our camp in the bush survived the storm, we'd hate to lose anything. We'd worry about that later as it was time to be off to the races.
We got a ride to Nabasovi for the festivities with Dan who was having an electrical problem and would only be able to get one start out of it so he didn't want to stop the car so just did a rolling stop in front of Catherine's place. Unfortunately she was 20 seconds down the hill and got left behind.
Many of the people were hanging out on the beach and swimming in the sea. Several people from Waisali were there too. The villagers had a great time, they played music with anything they can get their hands on old tin roofing, bottles...
It's appears that the local New Years custom is to drag friends and family into the sea and splash and dunk each other. Every few minutes you'd hear screaming and laughing as another person was dragged from out of their homes and into the water.
I had to drag Samantha in as well. And one of the locals and I danced together and we threw each other in. Always to cheers and jeers!
The horse races were fun with tons of people hanging out in the water and on the shore. We mingled with the horses and riders and guessed which would win.
I was betting on the horse we named “sleepy”. As we stood waiting he couldn't keep his eyes open. He trailed the others up until the point he decided he'd had enough and veered off into the trees.
After the races we went and had kava with Nathan who had organized the event and several others. As we passed the grog around the children outside were having a “blast” making a little cannon using bamboo and kerosene.