Friday, November 26, 2010

I love Kangaroos! Dreams do come true...

Where's Waldo?? Where's Brooke?
I just think this is such a cute photo.

Destination: Australia

November 25, 2010
I’m sitting here at the airport in Fiji awaiting my plane to Brisbane to load. I am a bit nervous to go there. Maybe I’m just frustrated with how the morning has gone and the fact I could not sleep well due to the mild meowing of a cat outside my dorm. I’m nervous to go, worried it is going to cost too much cause I am traveling on a budget.. for sure!! It has been such a hassle to get here at the airport, I had to wait in a huge line to print off my ticket then I get up to the front and find out I have to get on the internet and buy a visa so I can enter Australia. It was sooo stressful. I run to get on the internet and my computer is dead and no outlets are around. Then I go through the security and they threw away my sunscreen. It was even in a small container. I just want to break down and cry right now. This morning was so stressful and it took me so long to get to this spot waiting to load the plane, but hey, at least I finally made it.
I hope I don’t’ have baggage issues on my other flights. I need a bigger backpack too. I’m using a school sized backpack… great for a hike, school, or a day trip, but bad for nearly a month trip. I have shoes hanging off it, and other nice things, like my poncho, hammock, and sleeping bag. I just look like a true blue backpacker I guess.
November 26, 2010
I arrived in Australia yesterday at approximately 9 A.M. then I made my way from Brisbane to Cairns. After a lot of waiting and a chicken & cheese pesto sandwich, I made it to the city of cairns. Some people told me that Cairns was more like a town because it was so small and not so much a city. Well, I beg to differ, I would say that Cairns is a city. It’s like a park city that’s targeted towards the summer activities all year instead of the winter. I absolutely love it here! I can’t swim in the ocean here because there is sometimes the salties (salt water crocodiles) that swim out and about the beach area, but that is okay, I have had plenty of beach time in Fiji. At least the reason I cannot swim in the ocean is not because of the pollution, that makes me feel soo better!! Seriously, I hate pollution.
Just in case you were wondering, Australia recycles and I appreciate that. I’m staying at Corona backpackers resort here and its rather nice. Its in a great location in town and it has everything I need, a bed, shelter, a kitchen, toilet, shower, yep. It’s nice and cozy, glad I chose it.
I must add that it feels so good to be able to walk down the streets and feel safe again. I feel at peace and relaxed when I walk down the streets here, people are not staring, pointing, creeping, or harassing me repeatedly. I’m just able to be “normal” and fit in and it really feels good. I’m able to walk into a store and not be followed constantly, I’m just able to feel more free again. I did not realize how I felt about safety issues, etc so much until I left. Of course I am only feeling this way because I was raised somewhere else than Fiji. Fiji was great, I had a blast overall and I learned a lot through my travels there. I also learned a lot through all the staring, pointing, creeping, and harassing I got. It makes me thankful. That’s cute, eh, that I feel thankful I mean considering it is thanksgiving back home. I am thankful to feel at peace again and to feel safe. I am thankful for all my family and friends. And I am thankful for good food, I just wish it would settle in my stomach and not make my bacterial belly explode.
Adjusting from American Food (preservative full) to Fiji food (organic and maybe a little more bacteria too) was really rough to my body system. Now going from Fiji to Australian food is very hard too. It’s basically the opposite now because Australian food is not much different than American food on my opinion. I need my bacterial belly to heal and fast please. I cannot stand having emergency toilet runs through town. Yes I said it, I think people here would phrase it as “pissing out my ass.” (Sorry for the overshare, but it happens and its not pleasant).
So what have I done since I have been here.
1. Got a taxi for 5 dollars with some random girls at the airport. I did not want to spend 12 for the bus since I was traveling alone, so I just started asking people if they were heading into town in a taxi and if I could tag along. A taxi is roughly $20 from the airport.
2. Realize, the Australian dollar is the American dollar. There is maybe .2 cent different so yeah. That’s nothing.
3. After getting to town I had no plan as to where I was going to go. I knew of two hostels and I knew one was one of the cheapest I saw. So I asked how I could get to that hostel and started walking, back pack and all.
4. I finally found it, Corona backpackers and at $15 for a night stay. Sounds good to me. (other hostels are around 20-30, maybe 18 if your lucky). It includes a dinner voucher as well that is at the woodshed or something like that.. it’s a bar that’s just 3 minute walk.
5. The rain followed me to Cairns, I’m mad.
6. I really wanted to go to the daintree, but I did not want to book a tour because they were a bit much, I am already paying a lot for my dives so yeah, I have to try to budget. I woke up early, found out the bus leaves at 7 am and 1 pm if I took the 1 pm I would have to turn around as soon as I got there so I had a ride back on the bus. So I scratched the daintree idea, I’m bummed a little, but its okay.
7. I decided since I could not make it to the daintree I would go to the Cairns tropical zoo. At least if I went there I could get a good look at the animals of Australia.
8. When I took the bus to go to the zoo, I went to Palm beach first and just stayed on the bus, you can’t swim there because you can die from either a crocodile or a jellyfish. Crazy right.?
9. It was a good choice, I loved the zoo and I fed Kangaroos. I think I almost cried when I saw them I was so excited. I was excited to see kangaroos like a little girl is excited to see a Disney princess. Now that is magical stuff there.
10. I ate subway today, it was a mouthgasm to the max. So good, best subway I have ever had because it has been far to long. Unfortionately, my bacterial belly did not like the mouthgasm food that much because I got sick soon after.
11. I just love the zoo and touching animals.
12. An Australian told me a funny thing about Utah. He said why is it the Utah Jazz, Utah does not have Jazz. Then he continued saying that New Orleans should probably have a jazz team because they really have jazz (as in music in case you didn’t get it). I thought it was clever.
13. I was talking to a late 30’s Norwegion guy thee other day and he asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I just looked at him and was like, this is good, as in Australia. He thought I sounded very mature and grown up for my age because I said I did not want anything, I had enough because I was here in Australia and that makes me happy. Just saying, some people think I’m mature and that is nice. Cause I am….father.
14. I kinda sorta need to figure out how I am going to get to Sydney in 5 days. Cairns is up north, Sydney is down south basically, well almost. If you were to drive it would take about 40-44 hours of driving. And well, I am thinking I should do that if its cheaper. This will be interesting.
15. I am diving the Great Barriar Reef tomorrow with Tusa Dive. Should be exciting. I must mention that it is time for the coral reef to spawn. You know what that means. Biggest sexual thing in the world is about to happen and I may just get to watch it. I may get to watch all the corals have sex, crazy right. It’s not porn, its natural and its under the sea so that just means its going to be amazing. I love the ocean. Tomorrow, November 27, 2010, aka my birthday. I become a mermaid to hopefully witness corals spawning time!! Keeping my fingers crossed.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

One more thing...

I already miss my roomie Cindy!!!
It's very weird to see christmas trees up in Fiji.. these kind of trees don't even grow here..
I'll be home for Christmas...... !!!
I have always wanted to say that, but have never been anywhere without anyone and been able to say that... it makes me feel kinda cool.
I am traveling with my tambourine around the world.. just to let you know.

Goodbye Fiji.. Hello Australia.. in one day.

Day 120: November 14, 2010
First off, I started reading my journal the other day and realized that my grammar is extremely terrible in my journals. I knew it was pretty bad, because I am just writing my thoughts down and not thinking about grammar, (my brain does not think grammatically). So I just wanted to apologize for my incredibly bad punctuation skills.
About Suva:
When I came to Fiji to study abroad, my program ISEP told me that I would be living close to a beach, five minutes walk to be exact. What they did not bother to tell me was that all the waste of Suva goes out into the waters surrounding this city I was going to live in, including the bacterial fungi beach.
The fact that there was a beach close enough to walk too was a one of the reasons I decided I would come study here, so when I found out that there was not a beach that you could swim in, I fell into a bit of a depression. I had nowhere close that I could go too, I’m talking about a nice natural nature setting with no cars, people, or pollution. There was not one that existed close enough for me to walk too, the marine campus bure was the closest thing I got to having a slightly quiet place next to the part of the ocean I was told not to swim in.
The “beach” area I was living closest too is called Suva Point. It is pretty disgusting water, nice brown gooey looking water. It’s also dead coral reef here, so you find broken bits of coral and shells along the beach without sand. The people at USP even say not to swim in the water and well it’s very easy to see why. Considering that half of the people of Fiji live in Suva, which is around 400,000 people living here, it’s no wonder why it’s so dirty.
Here I am four months later and I’m still depressed about the fact that there is not a beach I can swim at here in Suva. It’s not okay to tell someone that there is a beach five minutes walk if you cannot swim in it. Basically what it comes down to is that a person or company (ISEP & my study abroad advisor) should not say that there is going to be something when your moving there if it is not there or you cannot utilize it. You would think that a program and coordinator would have done the research for it and not falsely advertise something like that. I’m not a person who has that high of living standards I would say, but finding out there was not a beach five minutes walk really was damaging to my soul.
On another note, Suva is definitely a city, just like any other. It’s a bit dirty, but it has gotten cleaner in the past four months. I really don’t like Suva at all, I would rather live in a smaller town, it’s too chaotic, loud, and too busy for me. I have described Suva at “the Shii-hole of Fiji,” this is because of it’s filth, the exhaust that’s always in the air, and the litter that’s in most of the streets.
It’s also quite interesting to just walk around here in the streets. Being a younger white female you can’t walk down the street without getting stared at, a whistle, sexy yell, car honk, taxi cab pulling over or honking to get your attention, or people coming up to you and begging you for money when your walking around. Some of the people that live here assume that we have lots of money and are tourists because we are white. It gets to be quite annoying because we, as in the international students studying here at USP are just trying to go to school, study, and see what Fiji is all about. We just want to live, we don’t want to be hassled and ripped off all the time because of the way we appear to look, which is not Fijian…
Suva, or the eastern side of Viti Levu is quite rainy. I believe we have had about 5 weeks of rain every day here. The sun may start to shine, but then before you know it, it’s raining. You can only sing and dance in the rain so long. It comes to a stopping point when you just want to relax in the sunshine. Not to mention when your living on an island in the middle of the Pacific, you would think of at least a little sunshine, right? No, the sun hates Suva, but the rain loves Suva.
My edumacation at USP:
Well, I think that most the things I have learned here in Fiji were not in class. I will say that my GE201 and MS306 classes were very good. The names of the classes were biogeography and coral reef ecology and management. No, neither of those fit in my major, but they both looked interesting and I thought it could be a good idea to study some other things instead of just tourism. I learned so much in both of those classes and the professors both knew their stuff and wanted us to learn it. There is a huge difference between professors who just teach cause it’s there job, and the professors who teach because they love it and they want their students to learn.
I also took a Tourism class, international tourism to be exact. My grade may show that I did not do that well in this class, but in reality I did very well in this class. I was disappointed in the students in Tourism. If your studying tourism you should be outspoken and participate in class on my opinion, several of the students did not do this. In fact they all sit in the back of the classroom during class, it’s like they aren’t even there, they don’t say anything, they don’t participate. I feel like most the stuff I learned in this class were things that I could have learned on my own. I was just a bit disappointed in it because it’s the class that is going towards my major and I don’t feel like it helped me at all.
I did join a club though, TAHLSA, it’s the tourism organization. I learned that a couple, maybe 20 of the tourism students from the islands to talk sometimes and are interested in what they are learning. It was good for me to join this club and learn that because it does not seem like any students care about tourism in the classroom.
In my Integrated Arts class I had a Fijian professor. I took it, because it was the only class offered at USP that had something to do with fine arts. I attended the lectures every week and learned absolutely nothing. It was just a big waste of time. We had a two-hour lab where we would work on our art projects and the assistant teacher showed up late half the time. The professor did not show up for two or three of the lectures as well and only mentioned once that he would not be at one of the lectures. This is when I say Fiji time is just an excuse and it’s funny how only my Fijian teacher was the teacher who did not show up to class when all the students in the class did show up.
Transportation in Fiji:
Fiji gets all the cars and busses that other countries don’t want. Of course there are nicer cars that exist for the wealthier people that can afford them, but overall, the vehicles here are old models of cars from the 80’s and 90’s and the buses are basically from the 60’s to the 80’s. A cloud of exhaust hangs over the city of Suva, maybe that is one of the reasons it is raining so much, because mother earth gets the exhaust in her atmosphere and starts crying. It’s a thought?
The transportation system here is quite impressive. I say it’s impressive because almost everyone here uses it in some shape or form. That’s saying a lot considering Suva has around 400,000 people living in it. The buses are normally pretty full and the taxi’s always seem to be getting business. It’s an interesting outlook to see it going pretty well considering that back home, some people use the frontrunner or a bus, but it takes a while and you have to add about an extra hour to your transportation travel time.
On just about any day, except Diwali or a very rainy day when you really need a taxi, you can get a taxi fairly easily. The meter starts at about $1.50 and increases .10 cents about every 20-30 seconds. You can get a taxi from USP to Suva for around $3-4 or you could get a bus. Buses are cheaper and they drive by, fairly frequently. If you get on a bus it cost you .70 cents to get around Suva each time you get on.
Coca Cola in Fiji:
Back in the states, I am a hardcore Mountain Dew Drinker. Okay, so maybe I’m lying, but if I am going to have a soft drink, it will most likely be mountain dew. Here in Fiji, the coca cola is soo good. It’s addicting, they have real sugar in it and it just taste so good. I did not drink it for about a month, but now that I have I just love it. So thank you coca cola for making a drink with real sugar and not that crap fructose syrup.
Overall Outlook of Fiji:
Overall, Fiji has been great, no thank to ISEP though. I was a bit depressed in the first month here because I absolutely hated the fact that I lived in a city and that there was not beach. Having expected a beach because people told me there was one and then finding out there was none was super damaging to my soul. After I started escaping the city and seeing the real beauty of Fiji I just began to love it out here.
I have traveled to a total of 26 islands and climbed the highest mountain in the country. It may not sound like a big deal, but to me, it is, I secretly would say I am kind of a badass (jk). I have been doing some scuba diving and loving it. Diving in the ocean is so much better than diving in a lake with no visibility when it is snowing outside! The things I have seen in the ocean, the marine life, the coral reefs, there soooo beautiful. It feels so magical down there. I’m talking better than Disneyland magical. It’s surreal, I have seen so many things from sharks, big sharks, to manta rays, to sea turtles, to a million gazillion different types of fish, to the most amazing and colorful corals, to eels, to sea horses, to stingrays, to lionfish, to dolphins etc. It has been simply amazing and super exciting.
I decided to get my advanced open water diver certification last week. That was awesome considering the dives I did were the most amazing ever. I did two soft coral dives, two shark dives, and a wreck dive to get my certification in the popular Beqa Lagoon. It was so much fun, so incredible. One of my favorite moments was on the shark dive in the interval between dives, were all sitting on the boat then one of the workers says the tiger shark is here come look. So half the people get there snorkels and jump in the water to see a (roughly) 15 feet/4-meter long tiger shark just 20 feet below us swimming. It was soooo intense when it swam right underneath me, so surreal. It’s the real world, yo.
I am really going to miss the beachhouse which is on the coral coast about two hour bus ride from Suva. It was my secret getaway. I went there every weekend for a month, then brought my friends who came to visit from the states there and spent a couple more days, then brought my roommate there after going to the mummanuca islands and next week I am going again and then returning to it when I get back here for my last two days in Fiji after austrailia and new Zealand. I just love it, it’s soo nice, the staff are nice, the dogs are mine, I secretly adopted all of them and renamed them too. The banana pancakes are sooo good and so is the hot fudge brownie. The swing on the beach is magical and soothes my soul and the water is so clear and pretty. It’s my home away from home here in Fiji.
I would have to say my top three favorite places are the beach house, Maqai Eco Resort (Qamea Island), and Blue Lagoon Resort (Nacula). I like them all equal, they all are soo different, but so good.
The Beach house is a nice getaway resort. I think that it is the hidden secret for backpackers that is affordable and on the mainland close to pacific harbour and sigatoka. It’s a good location considering there is a lot to do in both pacific harbour and sigatoka. The beds are soo comfy too, maybe it was just me, I don’t know, but I just felt so comfy in them when I slept. It’s a pretty quiet place and they have a pool too. The staff is nice, location is great, food is good, beach is good, swing is just an extra plus, and they have internet sometimes, sometimes they have internet, but who needs internet if your just traveling right. It’s such a nice place just relax in a hammock or on the beach.
Maqai Eco Resort is located on Qamea Island which is just off of Taveuni. It is so nice and so secluded from anything. It’s peaceful and quiet and the staff is the best staff ever. They have a swing, which was a huge highlight for me cause I love swings and they offer a variety of activities including an amazing island trip to Nanuku. Nanuku is my favorite island in Fiji because it is abandoned and simply beautiful, minus the killer birds. I say killer birds because I accidently took an egg from one and it charged me in the air, it was quite frightening. Anyways, Maqai Eco resort was just soo nice, great location, great staff, nice beach, great swing, and the bures were super nice, right on the beach, wake up to the ocean in front of you and best of all, no roosters.
Blue Lagoon Resort is out in the Yasawas on Nacula, one of the furthest islands from the mainland. It was out here that I saw my first sea turtle in the ocean which was the highlight of my life. The dormitory was sooo nice, best I have seen actually, they give you a beach towel and a shower towel and put flowers on your bed. Not to mention they gave you a fruity welcome drink when you arrived to the island. The resort was just so nice, but expensive because it was in the Yasawas. Worth it to go there though, it ended up being one of my favorite places. I must also say the hike there was the most amazing hike I have done here in Fiji, It was sooooo beautiful, you could see all the islands and different shades of blue on the ocean. It was breathtaking. Also, one more thing, the food there, was soooo good, oh geez, best food I have ate out here in Fiji, besides my own cooking of course.
To be continued…..
Day 129: November 23, 2010
1. Time has been moving so slow this past week. I have been stuck in Suva.
2. Study week consisted of me… not studying.
3. I go to the movies a lot, kinda.
4. I saw Harry Potter 7 part 1 and it was so good. I saw it on a Thursday here, November 18, but hey that is Wednesday for all you back home…and I checked, it does not come out for you till November 19. I must be a huge fan… since I traveled all the way to fiji to see it before you all.
5. I got a massage at Pure Fiji.. Beqa hot stone massage.. yes.., it was very nice because my massuse.. was not a guy who barely spoke english and said “your beautiful” in the middle of the massage.. like my first one after the worst bus ride of my life.. about a month ago.
6. I had a early birthday party at mi casa… it was nice, just a few of my close friends here, cake, salad, and barbecue yesss.
7. Went to the clubs here… for the last time.. got some of my dance moves out of course… and checked out the new club—shananigans in Suva.
8. I went swimming……I love swimming.
9. Hey.. its still raining.
10. No wait….sunshine for two days… something is wrong.
11. Nope back to rain.
12. I am now completely done with exams and school at USP.--during my last exam there was a crab running around my feet... it was awesome.
13. I said goodbye to my best roomie friend here in Fiji, miss Cindy C… she came to town ran to get my glasses fixed for me while I watched my luggage on the bus in Suva. While she was gone I got her a coke cause it was a hot day, we were done with exams, and coke is just so good. Well when she got back, she gave me chocolate bread from Gloria jeans (my fav coffee place here) and I gave her the coke. It was cute, we both got yummy stuff for eachother before we said ‘’goodbye.. in French.. or till me we meet again.. in French… I will missss that girl.
14. I hate goodbyes, they make me sad.
15. When I said goodbye to Suva, I never looked back..
16. I’m at beachhouse now.. home sweet home.
17. Burchu & Rasmus are here too J and puppy and fluffy…not sure where blacky is.. ??
18. I stubbed my toe.. and it really hurt, but I kept quiet cause there was someone ahead of me and I did not want to make a scene.. then the person slipped.. and I laughed and said.. no worries I stubbed my toe too. Now I feel betterthanks for that… it was dark out, might I mention..
19. When I got to the light… my toe was cracked a bit and bloody…bloody hell. It hurts. I see red.
20. I just love the puppy here at beachhouse..its feisty..
21. I lived on 6 dollars for 4 days..i had to save it for a taxi to town for my luggage.
22. I discovered that.. I have an obsession to pure fiji too.. just like Cindy.
23. I leave for Austrailia in one day.. goodbye Fiji.. I'll see you in about 3 and a half weeks.

There is not a lot i will miss in Suva.. but there are a couple things.. like
1. Govindas ice cream
2. My cat, Funky.
3. Pure Fiji
4. The Cinema that is $6.
5. Coca Cola
6. Open window.. or should I say no window buses.
7. The bure down on lower campus facing the ocean of pollution that I cant swim in.. (laucala bay-gets pollution from all of suva=not safe for swimming).
8. Geckos.
9. My pepper that was imported from South Africa.
10. My bujaros & other friends
11. Rain storms that create waterslides down the streets.
12. The bar at the germans.
13. My brochure tables at the flats.
14. Colo-i-suva
15. DVD’s.. Fiji style…

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sharkssss! Here Sharkie Sharkie. Best Dive Ever.

Day 119: November 13, 2010
1. I saw the tiger shark! Actually I saw two different Tiger sharks.. ahhh. They were so cool.
2. It was quite funny because we did our first shark dive saw some bull sharks, lemon sharks, nurse sharks, white tip/black tip sharks, and greyreef sharks, along with sooo many different kinds of fish.. It was sooo nice. I know I did the shark dive before in August, but, it almost did not feel real that time cause it was surreal. It was sooo cool to do it again.. I really enjoyed it more this time than I did the first.
3. Then we get in the boat for our 1 hour interval before doing our second dive and one of the staff who is in the water yells.. the Tiger shark is here. Come see. So I grab my snorkel and jump in the water and then.. boom boom boom. Here comes the tiger shark.. about 15-16 feet long.. maybe more.. and it was about 20 feet maybe.. belower me while I was snorkeling.. it was soooo big.. soo intense.. one of the most intense feelings was when it swam directly under me and I was like…….. oh shiiiii. It was sooo crazy.
4. You would think that if somebody yells tiger shark, that people would get out of the water… I thought it was quite funny how about half of the group ran and jumped in the water!! Ahah.
5. Tiger shark made my life.. I was soo bummed that I did not see one when I did my dive in August.
6. I got a photo with my camera.. its not the best.. but its better than nothing!!
7. The shark dive was soo neat when we went down for our second dive. Another tiger shark came around and then all the other sharks were there too. A white tip actually started going for one of the guys, swimming towards him.. and he punched it in the face.. intense right.. that white tip just wanted to get unusually close.
8. This shark dive has not had any bites or anything and have been operating for over ten years or something like that.
9. Basically.. the coral dive and the shark dive at beqa lagoon.. are the best diving I have done.. that’s out of.. about 16 dives, so not much, but still. It is seriously.. so incredible. I got to do a wreck dive as well and the reef that had developed on it was sooo beautiful.
10. Might I mention that beqa lagoon here in Fiji is the soft coral capital of the world.
11. I am now an advanced open water certified diver, my dive course was… sooooo good.
12. Now it’s Saturday.. and I really have to start studying..
13. I have been having issues with getting money out.. since I have no credit cards cause mine are in the ocean.. and… finally it has worked out……… finally.. no more losing my wallet, and I need to find a new wallet too.
14. I leave for Australia in 12 days………. Holy cow.
15. I saw a movie last night.. “unstoppable” it was pretty good. I felt a bit depressed and bought a popcorn and I just kept eating it and eating it… kinda like how some woman feel like they need chocolate sometimes..
16. I am popcorn deprived.
17. My stomach has been thinking about food in the states.. all the time.
18. It’s raining.. here in Suva.. big surprise right. No.
19. This is kind of old news..but I don’t know if I ever mentioned it.. I hitch hiked from beachhouse to suva once.. cause there was no bus coming.. and I cannot believe I made it back to suva.. on time for class… but I had to be to class because I had a presentation to do..
20. Happy birthday to Burcu & Rasmus.. and happy anniversary yesterday tooJ
21. I am getting a rash on my middle finger.. its really weird.. maybe its works, maybe its not.. I don’t know.. some kind of funky disease.. me no likey.
22. Did I ever mention.. I got my nose pierced? I don’t really like it though, but I’m going to see if it grows on me.. in the next month.. maybe I will end up liking it after all.?
23. I saw my first Harry Potter 7 commercials.. I almost cried. They are soooo good. I love harry potter!!!!!!!! Ahhh. Yes.. there is a midnight showing here.. and yes.. I will be seeing it one day before all of ya’ll back home……because.. althought fiji time drives me nuts… fiji time is about 1 day ahead of USA Time J sooooo I get to see harry potter first…….
24. This makes me very happy.
25. I really want to be home.. and be around everyone and feel the cold come in.. I need my winter… this summer is far far too long.

Getting over my lost wallet and realizing.. its not the end of the world.

Day 114 : November 8, 2010
1. Last week of classes happened and then finished.
2. I procrastinated so much on my homework for coral reef, but in the end I did finish it.
3. Got so into making Bula Mi Fiji 8.. it is sooo good.. all about climbing mount Victoria ☺
4. I went swimming… and then it started raining.
5. It has rained every freakin day for like the past month in Suva.
6. I went to uprising this past Tuesday and stayed the night because I was doing rivers fiji the next day.
7. Rivers Fiji was soooo nice, so cool, so rockin, it was an excellent rafting trip ☺
8. The bus tried to charge me an extra dollar and I fought it, I’m so sick of the fijians thinking they can just rip me off because I appear to look like a tourist. It gets really frustraten a bit.
9. It took me two hours to get to campus from pacific harbour, when it should only take an hour, it was not an express bus. My bad.
10. Last day of class was officially on Thursday and I finished my visual diary too ☺ woot.
11. For Diwali I went to Suva with Cindy, just to find that it was totally deserted with the occasional fijians. No indofijians at all. It was really hard to get a taxi or even a bus.
12. When night time rolled around I went to my bujaro’s house (Natasha) and hung out with her and salom and the rest of Natashas family. I ate the indian sweets and yes they are sweet.
13. Then we dressed up in Sari’s, and walked down the street to look at the lights.. Natasha lives in the neighborhood where the lights always win the Diwali light competition. People were super surprised to see that I (a white person, tourist looking person) was dressed in a Sari walking around with locals who were also in Saris. Anyways it was fun.
14. I lit fireworks in my Sari, and ate a nice dinner too.. with my hands.. it’s an accomplishment. People use just their hands to eat here, they don’t really use silverware .. ever.. so yeah it’s a little different than back home. My Fijian friends thought I was weird cause I wanted a fork to eat my food once so yeah.
15. Diwali was so good, I stayed the night at my bujaros house and we attempted to do some henna as well.
16. Next day I headed home (Saturday) and got ready to head out with Cindy to Nadi.
17. We left and when we got to Nadi we stayed at Bamboo.
18. We went on a nice sunset walk and took pictures.. and then.. got to the road and I realized my wallet was gone.
19. It fell out of my pocket and I am pretty sure it fell into the water cause we were walking in it slightly ☹ I was so mad.. sat there with a torch and walked up the beach that we had just covered (a little more than a quarter of a mile is where we walked). I could not find it, got some help, still no luck. Tide was high at this point.. so pretty sure it took my wallet which had my only two credit cards (that work abroad), my USP student ID (which I need to get into my exams so I can take them), my dive card (I don’t know my dive number), and my BSP ATM bank card oh and that’s not to mention the $500 dollars in cash that was in there too. All gone, I have 700 dollars left for fiji and 3 more weeks.. and now I have two hundred.. getting another loan from my gparents I’m hoping so I can survive. I have back up money in a sense, but that is so much money to lose and just be gone.. There is no way its on the beach and I’m pretty sure the ocean took it. I lost it late at night and stayed up all night and (woke up) early at 5:30 to check the beach when the sun rose, no luck.
20. It makes me sick.
21. Since I still do have money for NZ & OZ I am going to use that money to pay back my roommate who was luckily with me when this all happened.
22. We still decided to do our trip to Mana and the Castaway Island. It’s the last big thing on my list for Fiji that is affordable, so here I am right now on Mana Island about to go on my trip to the island where Castaway was filmed!!
23. I’m so mad about my wallet though, but I have tried to get more positive since it happened… tried…. The money I have left, the 200.. is in suva.. and soo. Im pretty helpless at this point.
24. Thank Goodness I have Cindy with me and I did not travel by myself this time!!
25. Happy Birthday Lacey & Carly!!!

Day 117: November 11, 2010
1. Went to Mana with Cindy and stayed at Mana Lagoon. It was okay, nice ish beach, but food, not good. Me no likey. Two things I refuse to eat (cause of my allergies of course) tuna and beans … are something that they happened to serve for two of my meals. … not bueno.
2. Mana had cute puppies, 3 of them.. bujaro (she was quite the bujaro too), gingee, and peppa. Me and Cindy kept playing with them all the time and feeding them food under the table because they were so skinny and not well fed. We also gave them water while we were there. I hope they are ok, I made the people who were still staying there to promise to take care of them cause they were adorable.
3. Did the trip to where “Castaway” was filmed and attempted to watch the movie the night before, but fell asleep cause I was so tired.
4. The island had such a very nice beach, not so good a reef though, but nice beach.. and surprisingly.. some decent sized waves. It was a bit of a bumpy ride to get there.
5. I really wanted to parasail while out here, but missed my chance at beachcomber because they said 8 am.. so I went then they said they were not going to do it until 3 pm so I said I was going to go back to sleep.. so I did. For two hours (long night before, needed a little bit more sleep) woke up two hours later and apparently they decided to go anyways.. I was soooo extremely frustrated. Then at Mana the guy in charge of it said we could do it, so we went on the castaway trip and said we would like to do it in the afternoon .. we get back and he says .. the company next door won’t do it for backpackers, only for the 4 star resort on the island.. so the boss lied cause he said we could do it and then we did not get to do it. ☹ I’m so bummed about it.
6. We did a dive while at Mana at “the supermarket.” It was quite nice. We saw two small white tip sharks.. and lots and lots of trigger fish.. I had a moment of stupidity.. or maybe a whole dive of stupidity.. I have the tendancy to want to swim closer to creatures that I should probably not swim closer too.
7. So Trigger Fish… They can get to be quite big, have teeth, a bit bigger than a human but in the same ish shape, and are quite territorial, especially right now considering its mating season. So I’m swimming just enjoying the scenery.. and then I maybe get.. about 6 feet away from a group of trigger fish and one turns a corner and we make eye contact.. and I think.. hmm. Im really close, this could be a bad idea… so I back away while still watching the trigger fish.. and then.. suddenly, the trigger fish I make eye contact with charges at me and im like holy shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii…So luckily my reaction was to put up my leg to karate kon-fu it (it was heading towards my face) or just kick it.. and I was sooo shocked when I realized I had actually really kicked it smack in the face cause it was really charging at me.
8. Moral of the story is.. don’t get to close to trigger fish, especially during mating season because they will charge.. and bite.
9. Apparently Cindy watched this and prior to the charging trigger fish saw a line of 2-3 of them from another group following me. Oops.
10. I think im like a trigger fish.. cause maybe im territorial? I don’t know?
11. We ended up leaving later that day back for the mainland and made our way back to the coral coast… to stay at…. The beachhouse………yes.
12. It was cindy’s first time going there.. and we saw fluffy and blacky…….and the newest member of the family puffy.. or I forgot its other name. anyways…fluffy is actually running now and she is a gramma… blacky is a daddy… and well the momma is a dog from the village that visits on occasion.. usually the evening.. we call her nipples.
13. Banana Pancakes and hot fudge brownie with ice cream.. this is something… everyone should eat once in their life.. preferably more.
14. Next stop after this was pacific harbour because we decided we were going to do a coral dive at beqa. We found a nice place right next to Aqua Trek (the dive company)
15. But then I decided I wanted to get my advanced, even though I’m totally low on money, but since I lost my wallet, I need a new way to prove im certified right.. sooooooo.. hello advanced.. and adventure diving certification.
16. Cindy decided to do it with me after all… I mean.. its not like we could have great diving with getting certified inland back home in the states or Canada.. right.
17. Last night was a bit rough sleeping.. we went to bed early.. and woke up.. too early.. like 2 or 3 am.. because of the stupid rooster.. it sat there and cock-a-doodle-dooed from 2-3 am until.. well, it never stopped, it was still doing it when we got back at 2 pm from diving.. I may kill it if it does it again tonight.
18. We did our coral dives today.. or actually it was our navigation, deep dive, and search and recovery dive… it was soo good.. we got the chance to see seven sisters and rainbow bridge diving sites too. They were both soooo lovely……… They were the best dives I have done here in Fiji next to the Shark dive of course.. which I do tomorrow to finish my advanced.. yep.. im doing the shark dive again……and I cannot wait… hoping for the tiger!!
19. I signed up for classes today as well.. spring 2011.. is going to be rough on my soul.
20. I got to skype with my brother Chase today.. who is in China..and he thinks I have an accent, just saying.. I hope he is right.. I have always wanted an accent.
21. I really need to study for my final exams.. but first.. my diving course. Yep.

ps. I found out the Utes lost against TCU.. I am very upset, I kept trying to watch the game while I was at a backpackers resort, but internet was not good enough.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Longest summer of my Life.

Day 107: November 1, 2010
1. I have been staying up so late and waking up late, I am fully adapted to fiji time.
2. I went to class, just like I always do.
3. I went to govindas twice in one day, there ice cream, its so heavenly.. I would have to say I think it’s the best ice cream in the world, that I have tried thus far.
4. I had to make a decision.. Halloween party or climb Mount Victoria (the highest mountain in Fiji? Here is why I wanted to go do each one…………
Halloween party at Uprising – Wisconsin group of friends was going, I could wear my mermaid Halloween costume that I made, and it was the last time I would get to spend a weekend with this group.
Mount Victoria – I had it on my Fiji Checklist, to climb the highest mountain in Fiji. I could not do it by myself safely, It would be cheaper to go with the group (consisted of French canadians, French, germans, and me), and it was arranged to stay in Lavai village at the foot of the mountain by one of our professors.
I was pretty sure this would be my only chance to go and do it, be safe, and check it off my Fiji list, so after comparing the two, I decided that I would do the climb for Mount Victoria over celebrating Halloween at the Uprising, however; I did bring my Halloween costume.. and when we got to the top of the mountain I put it on. Pretty sure I was the first mermaid ever to be on the top of the mountain!!
5. YESSS! I climbed the highest Mountain in the whole country of Fiji. It is 1,324 meters roughly, why may not be that high compared to all the other mountains in the world, but its huge for Fiji Mountains sooooooooo. I feel accomplishedJ
6. We stayed in Lavai Village from Saturday to Sunday and Halloween day we did the hike.
7. I have had a hard time with village stays, it’s the food that really kills me. I’m such a picky eater and I know it and I am too set in my ways and stubborn to overcome it. However, what I was getting at… is that this was the best village stay out of the three villages I have stayed at.
8. Here is a cool fact, in the village, we stayed in the house of the man who was in charge of the village land, he owned it and he owns MT. Victoria. It’s the house where our professor stays as well. It was very cool, this man was a good 94 years old and his wife was 87. They were both in such good shape for their age it was incredible!! I hope I am in shape like them when I get that old.
9. The village children, so cute, me and Cindy gave them cookies and candy.
10. We danced after and during our kava ceremony, we would drink kava then we would dance then we would sit back down and drink kava then we would dance. The chief asked me to dance the first dance and well, I was honored, other than I was unsure what dance moves I should do and shouldn’t do. Wanted to be as conservative as possible in my sulu and not make any sudden, vulgar, or fast movements. (slow steps, arms doing the waves, tropical like island dance is what I stuck too, with a nice clap every now and then).
11. When we were drinking kava the kids were all pointing and choosing which one of us they were going to dance with next. It was hilarious. They got shouted at every now and then by the elders of the village because they were giggling so much. It was soo funny, so cute.
12. Lavai Village and the hike to Mount Victoria was a such a great way to spend my weekend.
13. The bus ride back was so brutal from Tabua to Suva. It took about 5 hours, we got stuck in the mud (kings road is not fully developed) and it was very muddy because it had been raining that day and well it has been raining in Suva for everrrrrrrrrrrr.
14. All me and Cindy could think about was Mcdonalds the whole bus ride, we were so starved, we both had a hard time eating in the Village and just wanted a nice healthy Mcdonalds meal.
Luckily, the Mcdonalds in Suva is now open 24/7 soooo we went there upon our return, it was the best Mcdonalds meal I have ever had in my entire life. It’s healthier too, than back