I sympathise with my Samoan friends, who paid $100 for a piece of soap.
The party of four were in Suva to visit their sister T, who is a student at the University of the South Pacific, Laucala campus.
T is a good friend of mine so I promised her to shout them movie when they were here.
As people rushed for last minute Christmas shopping, these four took the Suva streets to buy some gifts to take back home.
Unfortunately they bumped into a wrong guy - a conman on the street, probably looking for new face to experience the so called illusion skills.
The guy showed them an expensive Nokia branded cell phone which captivated the eyes of the youngest in the crew the most.
They said $100, the conman said $150 and when the latter knew they were in the trap, he took the cash, hurriedly stuffed the packet in their bag and was out of sight.
I still remember their long faces when I met them opposite Village Six that Thursday. Gazing at the piece of the most expensive piece of soap they have ever bought, they were cursing themselves and the guy who walked away with their money.
T said it was a good lesson to them as despite her warning, they went ahead buying things off the street sellers.
I felt sorry for them but couldn't do much than buy the tickets, as promised, to the movie The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey.
Director Peter Jackson takes us back to the Middle-earth and this time with the assistance of 1937 novel, The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien.
The Hobbit (movie) is the prequel of Jackson's infamous The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The fantasy adventure thriller sees Hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) on his 111th birthday writing about his journey he took 60 years before for his nephew Frodo - who features in The Lord of the Rings franchise.
Bilbo begins with how the Dwarves lost their kingdom to the Smaugh the dragon, who drives them out of Erebor and takes all their treasures.
Dwarf Thror, king of Erebor, counted on his neighbours King Thranduil and his Wood-elves to come in their aid but they didn't.
Thror's grandson, Thorin (Richard Armitage), is dismayed and losses his trust in the Elves.
Some years later, Thorin plans to take his homeland back with his band of Dwarves but needs a burglar to steal the treasure back from Smaugh at the Lonely Mountains.
The wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen), who is part of Thorin's party, sees Bilbo as the best candidate.
Bilbo declines the offer at first but later joins the Dwarves army for what unfolds into an unexpected journey.
Thorin doubts in Bilbo's ability and thinks he is a burden on them.
During the journey, Bilbo and the Dwarves survive some torrid battle against the Trolls (large humanoids of great strength and poor intellect), Orcs on Wargs, Goblin and the Azog, an Orc war-chief who beheaded Thror and lost his forearm to Thorin in a battle.
Bilbo gets the root of all evil - the mysterious ring - when he meets up with Gollum in what turns out to be one of the funniest parts of the movie.
Bilbo later saves Thorin from Azog and wins his heart as they continue their journey to the godforsaken Lonely Mountains.
There is a part where grog is mentioned which I and probably many others in the cinema got thinking how they knew about our national drink.
I later found out grog is a British word which refers to a variety of alcoholic beverages and not necessarily our yaqona. In a nutshell, The Hobbit is about fighting for what truly belongs to you and showing courage and determination to overcome the obstacles that come your way during that battle.
Director Jackson may have failed in getting the Lord of the Rings fervor into this flick but he still has two more parts to work on, which will complete the prequel. There are instances in the movie where scenes are stretched a bit, mostly some boring conversation but Jackson smartly follows it with some breathtaking action scenes to get the focus back on track.
For the Lord of the Rings fans, The Hobbit is a must see movie and I would recommend those who are not, to check this one out.
There is something special about The Hobbit and I saw that reflecting on the face of my unlucky Samoan friends.
Happy New Year folks!