We've mentioned in an earlier blog the fun we have trying to remember people's names in Fulaga. particularly as they seem to use two or even three different ones, depending who they are talking to. However we are always amazed at their ability to instantly remember the names of visiting yacht crews and this skill seems to be a Fiji-wide gift. We think that their aural skills are better honed than those of us westerners who are used to written and other visual prompts. They do struggle with a few foreign names – Damian was known as Dennis for a while but they've got him sorted now, they manage Graham ok but Dianne is usually Diana (often with a prefix of 'Lady'). We chatted to a lovely lady yesterday, Luci, about names and told her about our great-nieces Erin and Jessica; she said that there weren't Fijian equivalents of those names but that they sounded nice: "I'll tell my son to call his first daughter Diana Jessica" she said with a smile.
The nickname thing is pretty common here. Colin on Ithaka was fondly known as 'Topoi' whilst he was here, for reasons none of us could fathom; topoi is the word for a kind of bready dough wrapped in palm leaves and baked in a lovo earth oven. Mind you sailors seem to like nicknames, too, particularly on race boats. When we both did the Round Britain Challenge, several of the 72 ft yachts used nicknames over normal ones. On Di's boat, she was known as 'Glamour Puss' (purely because she combed her hair each day!) and one unfortunate chap became 'Sailbag' after the amount of time he spent curled up in the foetal position on deck, terribly seasick, and was accidentally stood on by another crew member thinking he was, you guessed it, a sailbag. Another boat decided that Porn Star names would be fun – if you aren't familiar with this concept, your Porn Star name is the name of your first pet, followed by your mother's maiden name. Those sufficiently quick witted would invent a cool-sounding pet like Tiger or Rocky but one chap unthinkingly admitted his first cat was called Tiddles and so Tiddles (or Tids for short) he became; the fact that he was pretty short of stature made it all the more perfect.
You may wonder what prompts these random ramblings but there's usually a catalyst to the thought process. In this case it's Graham's ongoing (but, thankfully, increasingly successful) battle with the gastric bug. A French doctor, Jean-Pierre, on Domino advised that after five days of letting nature take its course without much improvement, it was time to intervene and he recommend an antibiotic called Ciproxin to kill the evil e-coli. We didn't have any Cipro in our medical kit but another British yacht, Beez Neez (from Plymouth, just along our home coastline from Dartmouth), came to our aid with some and we discovered that the skipper is a retired GP. Called Bear.
Anyway, best wishes to all our readers from Glamour Puss and Johnny Fart-Pants. Do let us know your Porn Star names (and be honest!) and any other news from the outside world to maunie(at)mailasail(dot)com –replace the (at) and (dot) with @ and .