• BRINGING PACIFIC DANCE TO THE WORLD

If Only I was Made in China by Edwin Saladoka

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I was overwhelmed when I was told that I’d be one of the six going to China. Of course this was n’t my first trip out of the country, but it felt like it all over again. Flying over the beautiful gigantic city of Beijing was like flying over the stars. I must confess, it was one of my hugest ‘kaicolo’ moments because I had never seen so many lights in my life. This opened my eyes even more to the amazing things human beings can do.

After being greeted by our hosts Eroni and Lumia we wasted no time and headed straight to the five-star hotel called the “W Beijing Chang’an” which was also the performance venue. The rooms were amazing with the softest beds, bathrooms which were so fancy and a view of the city that was the epitome of modern beauty. After pinching myself several times and blinking hard and rubbing my eyes, I still found it difficult to convince myself I was no longer in our little Suva City. So that night I laid in my soft bed and observed the plush room, overjoyed (not even jet lagged) and prayed, silently thanking God for the opportunity he had given me; and then I fell off to sleep with the hugest smile on my face.

Performance Day

My excitement was far from over on the next day. After having a huge breakfast and sorting out costumes, we went to check the performance space which was two floors below in the hotel. The luxurious room was flooded with lights of such grandeur, an extremely soft carpet and extravagant décor which was yet to be put up. Of course I was pinching myself every now and then thinking it was all a dream.

Finally, we showcased what Fiji is all about – beautiful, small and friendly with our Fijian culture (which was super dooper amazing because it was a group effort) and Bula smiles. I thank the excitement of the trip for boosting our performance, singing our lungs out and dancing our hearts out… underground…in China.

It was such a great feeling seeing everyone in scintillating conversation over what they saw. Without hesitation we headed to our rooms and then hit the pool in the 25-storey hotel. Pinching myself again, I had never swum in a pool on the third floor with a view. I guess the girls preferred a night in, but I could n’t get over the fact that I was in China and there was still much adventuring to do.

That night after an amazing U.S. steak and a little exploring, I slept with an even bigger smile on my face resting so easily on the soft bed.

A Day of Exploration

The next day we were welcomed by Eroni in the lobby who introduced us to our tour guide Henry. He was to take us to the Great Wall of China. Unfortunately Eroni could n’t come with us but promised to take us to the night market.

The Great Wall of China is literally a wall of so much history. After spending almost 2 hours photographing 2 of our dancers dressed in Fijian attire on the wall, we laughed rambunctiously at each others humor. After realizing how lucky we were, we took the time to admire the green scenery over looking Mongolia. It was awesome awesome AWESOME !!!!

After a small lunch below China’s Great Wall it was straight to Bird’s Nest from there. Posing in front of the stadium where Usain Bolt broke records was a pleasure indeed. Then it was another 15 minute ride back to the hotel. Everyone was too tired to be amazed at this point so we all slept.

Fast forward 2 hours we were making our way to the silk market. Definitely need to up my bargaining skills because those shop owners will not give up without a fight. Soon after, our bargaining skills were enhanced, we were on our way to the Wangfujing Night Market. This place was life changing, amazing, beautiful, busy and whatever adjective you could use to describe this one street. We were surrounded by poisonous edibles – I may be over exaggerating but there were centipedes on a stick fried scorpions, deep fried horse legs and even boiled and fried crickets. Only two of us were brave enough to eat grass hoppers and locusts which tasted exquisite. It just needed a little salt, ota and miti. Of course with China’s huge population it was sad to see people sleeping in 24-hour restaurants looking for food and warmth.

After eating poisonous insects and reptiles, Eroni treated the team to a classic Big Mac meal at McDonalds. Everyone was literally smiling from ear to ear because we could finally eat comfortably without crooked faces. After the glorious meal we headed back to the hotel – still pinching myself and squinting my eyes; finally believing I was in China. I slept like a baby on my soft bed with an even bigger smile on my face.

The next morning was rushed and fast – making our way to the airport heading to Hong Kong then Fiji. As we boarded our FJ392 flight to Nadi International Airport I pinched and pinched so hard hoping that I’d get off in China. Sadly this was n’t the case. So we graced the Fiji airport with our luggage and gifts warmly welcomed by the sound of ‘sigidrigi’ and bula smiles. It was back to reality for me with the piled assignments, exams and dancing.

If only I was made in China.

Edwin Saladoka

October 2015

Edwin Saladoka is a dancer with VOU and believes that he can express himself through dance, that it helps him to take his mind off things and is a mental release. Whilst he was growing up he thought that music was his favourite artform and played the guitar for many years, but one day he was doing a tribal dance for VOU when he realised that something had changed and he now loved dance more than music.

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