By Patricia Page
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Additional resources for Across the Magic Line: Growing Up in Fiji
In the Governor’s case it was topped with billowing ostrich plumes and had many possibilities: dark helmet with white plumes, or white helmet with dark plumes, or both white. His uniform matched his headdress. Sometimes he had a dark frockcoat with the tails turned back slightly to show a gold lining and dark trousers with gold strips down the sides. Other times he was all in white. Various harmonising regalia, such as gilt or silver buttons, epaulettes, toggles, medals and cufflinks, completed his outfits.
The illustration is of two big waves with curly tops and my bottom and baby legs poking out of one of them. 40 Across the Magic Line Today Cuvu Beach, a reef break prized by surfers, is the gateway to Shangri-la Fijian Resort on Yanuca Island, linked by a causeway to the mainland. We drove there to pick up passengers through acres of landscaped grounds, scattered with individual thatched accommodation, or mock Fijian ‘bures’, bearing luxury features traditional bures never had: balconies and verandas, panoramic window panes, flower-hung garden lamps.
As we passed she made a strange movement with her arm: a wave both frantic and feeble. With her other hand she held a red sari around her face. That is, I thought it was a red sari. Then I realised it wasn’t. The part around her face, across her breast and halfway down her skirt was red but the rest was pale yellow. My father braked so hard a cloud of dust cut the sight of the woman from my terrified eyes. I hoped I’d imagined her. Then the dust settled and she was still there, covered in blood.