My birthday celebrations began early this year and to make this a memorable one, I organised a party on the airport runway under the light of the stars and some torches. Ha ha. It was a dark, starry night. We ended up having quite a mix of people – my work colleagues and other i-Kiribati friends, the Taiwanese, the Japanese, NZers, Aussies, a fellow Indian-Aucklander (this is a story on its own but in short, we were born in the same city in India and then lived in the same city in New Zealand and only now – met in Kiribati!). So we ended up with a mix of diverse, interesting people all sharing the experience of Kiribati and at that moment sitting on the runway of an International airport playing games, singing and dancing under the spotlight of flashing torches! My work colleagues brought a heart shaped cake with pink and blue writing that I cut numerous times while happy birthday was being sung in 4 different languages :). 2.5 hours later, the party had only just begun! There was entertainment, loud music, chitter-chatter, giggles, flashing of cameras trying to take picture in the darkness, people hiding from the bicycle dance (awesome ice-breaker!), spectators siting around watching us just make the most of this concrete open space which was our playground for the night.
We then abandoned our cool party spot and moved off to a local ‘night-club’ and continued dancing to Kiribati, African, English, Latin, Japanese and Indian music! Hours of dancing, mixing and mingling, honoured with a lava-lava on my waist and a garland on my head by my local friends; I felt pretty special and tired! Ha ha ha. Tired-Shifani. Happy-Shifani. Saying our goodbyes, we convoyed out of the night-club and headed home, one car behind another dodging potholes, people, dogs and coconuts on the road making for a lively journey back.
Sunday I spent having lunch with a friend which passed right through me but no harm done :). That evening, a friend and I went to a secret (if there is such a thing) spot to take photos of the setting sun. What a spectacle! The night sky in Kiribati is the most spectacular and the sunsets ever changing and mesmerising.
The following weekend (ANZAC weekend), I made a surprise visit to NZ. What happened here and is happening is for another blog 🙂
An image from the ‘Runway’ party. Don’t be fooled by the light. It was pitch dark and we were all holding torches 🙂