It is pretty much guaranteed that after the words bula (welcome) and vinaka (thankyou), the two words you will likely remember more than any others after a visit to Fiji are Isa Lei.
They are the title to the beautiful song of farewell that Fijians sing to departing visitors. Melodic and poignant, its sweet notes rise in layers of hymn-like stanzas, and their farewell song to you is certain to arouse emotion and without fail brings a tear to my eye.
Isa, isa, vulagi lasa dina
Nomu lako au na rarawa kina
Cava beka ko a mai cakava
Nomu lako au na sega ni lasa.
Isa lei, na noqu rarawa
Ni ko sana vodo e na mataka
Bau nanuma, na nodatou lasa
Mai Suva nanuma tiko ga.
|This tiny fellow was particularly fond of pineapple and maraschino cherries|
|Quilt patterns in tapa-cloth lined ceilings|
|Raymond Burr's Orchid Garden|
Alas, alas, most welcome guest,
Whatever the reason you came,
I feel bereft at your leaving.
Oh, such sadness!
I will feel so forlorn
When you sail away tomorrow.
Please remember how happy we were—
In Suva, you will always be remembered.
If you wwould like to listen to the song a lovely old recording from 1957 can be found here.
A little cheeriness awaiting our arrival home, a recent purchase...
Lots of lovely browns, purples, shirtings; some (perhaps 10 tumblers) have deteriorated and will need replacing.
A nice easy project for the 'to-do' pile.
Bula my friends,