Wednesday, June 16, 2010
:It means “no worries, be happy” in Fijian.
Bula (hello, cheers, you’re welcome...like aloha in Hawaii) everyone!
Friday, June 4th Emma, Lindsey, and I made the journey across the south pacific to FIJI. We arrived in Nadi in the afternoon and checked into our hostel, the “Drift in”. It was a Fijian lady, Donna’s home and she took wonderful care of us, paying for our taxis and feeding us breakfast and dinner all for just $25 FJD which is about $14 USD! In the evening we walked about the country roads down to the beach then went out with a guy named Andy from England and Oriol from Barcelona.
We took the bus into downtown Nadi, for only 70 cents...a big change from Sydney transportation! For being one of the countries biggest cities, it wasn’t that big. We walked down to the markets and experienced our first Kava ceremony. Kava is an herbal drink that is made from the root of a kava plant. Fijian people perform the sacred ceremony as a way to welcome people. They dish it out in little bowls and before you drink it you say Bula clap once, and then after you say Motha and clap three times. It kind of tastes like muddy water and makes your tongue go numb for a few seconds. In the afternoon we were picked up for our transfer to Robinson Crusoe Island, where we would be spending the remainder of the week.
We took a bus to the jetty and then a small boat out to the island. On the boat and seemingly every night that followed we were serenaded by acoustic guitars, Fijian music, Oasis, Jack Johnson, and all other chill music. The first night on the island was a fire dance show (like a Hawaiian luau). The only thing on the island was our resort. I would give you a day by day play out of what we did each day but, it would get to be a bit redundant because each day was so chill. So here are the highlights and pretty much our daily routine:
Kayaking, snorkelling, laying in hammocks, sun bathing on the beach, swimming in the ocean and pool, night bon fires, night games, eating and drinking coconuts, star gazing, listening to people play the guitar and singing along (I even busted out Stew ball was a race horse at one point by Emma’s request: the only song I know how to play on the guitar that my dad taught me) playing rugby in the sand, dancing, watching the sunset, kava ceremonies, and going on walks. One of the girls we met caught at baby turtle that would eventually grow to be a giant sea turtle. We named it Tittles and eventually set it free by the end of the week.
The first night we met 2 girls from Dublin, 4 guys from London, a couple from England, and 2 guys from Boston that we hung out with for the remainder of the week.
The whole week felt like the best summer camp ever! I literally did not wear shoes once all week. The only time that we worried about the time of day was at 8, 1, and 7 when meals were served. Other then that we were on “Fiji time”, which means nothing is never when they say it will be and there is no need worrying about it. The meals were delicious, all fresh fruit, vegetables, and sea food served buffet style. The island worked off of a generator that shut off at midnight each night. So the beginning of the night was spent under the pavilion lights playing games, dancing, and chatting, and when the lights went out we would move down to the bon fire. We all fell in love with an island song with the only words being: “Have you ever tried soup tavioca?” that had a catchy tune and we would all go crazy when it came on and danced. So they played it over and over. Our cabin had 14 bunks in it, all with mosquito nets to pull down at night. Since there was no running water, we showered using buckets. It was a beautiful 85 degrees and sunny every day. Technically it is their winter...I can’t imagine how hot it gets in the summer! The beaches were beautiful and the water was warm! Included with our stay was a complimentary 15 min massage and all of our activities! The best part about all of this is that... we got a bargain and only paid for 3 nights and got the second 3 nights free.
Since coming to Australia, one of my goals was to learn how to surf. Emma and I had told Donna (from our first hostel) about this and she set up for her cousin, a surf instructor and Nadi, Fiji’s first pro surfer to pick us up the Robinson Crusoe jetty for a personal surf lesson. The Fijian people are so willing to help you out and so happy to do it. We met up with Ian Muler (The surf instructor) and he took us to Notadola beach. Emma and I used a beginner long foam board. After some quick instruction in the sand, we hit the water. We both stood up on our first try, and every time after. Ian would tell us when to start paddling and to stand, but other then that we did it all on our own. It was awesome and addicting. After each wave I would paddle as quickly as I could back out to do it again. Paddling out was probably the hardest and most tiring part of it all. By the end of the day we were both trimming (turning into) the waves. I was upset because I forgot my underwater camera...oh well just another reason to go again some day!The beach that we surfed was beautiful and there were people riding horses all down it.
Everyone that we met was leaving on Friday, like we were. By the end of the week, I felt like I knew everyone on the island, guests and workers. For Emma, Lindsey, and I this trip would be the last big one before heading home home and for our new friends it was their last trip as well (most of them have been travelling for several months from Asia, to Australia, and NZ). As our boat pulled away the island workers sang Jet Plane, by John Denver (a song we sang a lot around the campfire) and we were all sad to not only see our Fiji trips come to an end but our big trips. After that it was off to the airport to catch our 5 hour flight back to Sydney. We had the taxi driver drop us off at Janet Pies for dinner...I’m trying to eat all the meat pies I can before I have to leave ha ha.
These past few days have been spent walking around the city and getting everything ready for when my parents come. I went for a run at the botanical gardens the other morning, revisited Manly Beach, and watched a show down at the Rocks with Michelle. Right now they are having a Fifa Fan Fest down at Darling Harbour for the world cup. They broadcast all of the games live on a floating big screen and have live bands and activities every evening. Emma, Michelle and I went to watch the Australia vs. Germany game at 4:30 am on Monday. The place was packed with Socceroo fans. They lost 4-0 L. After the game we went down to the Rocks for pancakes and to warm up! My parents come tomorrow...Whoa I can’t believe it! I hope all is well with everyone at home! Be seeing and talking to you all soon!
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Thursday, June 3, 2010
I just read over my last post and realized how sloppily written it was...sorry!
With more time on my hands now that Uni work is over, I have been finding random activities to fill my days. Most people still have papers and exams, so I have been pestering them to entertain me during their study breaks. To keep myself busy I have started running more again, going on walks, helping my family plan their trip, planning my Fiji trip, and visiting cafes. I spent one afternoon making a facebook photo album “storybook” of my friend Emma’s fake engagement to Andy (The guy from Melbourne who drove us around and pretended to propose to her at the 12 Apostles). All of their friends got a huge kick out of it. I don’t think Andy will ever live it down! Success! And I’m pretty sure all of my friends were annoyed that while they were studying, I had way too much time on my hands to be making up fairy tales.
Yesterday, Emma and I took the ferry over to Manly Beach and then a bus to North Head where we would begin the Manly Scenic walk. From the North Head is located at the tip of the peninsula, in one direction we could see across to The Gap, Reserve Lighthouse, and the Harbour, and in the other was the Pacific Ocean. We had trouble finding the trail head, so we stopped and asked an elderly couple for directions. They explained directions to us, but apparently we didn’t listen very well, because 20 min. later they drove past and saw that we had missed the trail. They were so nice and ended up driving us to the start of the walk. Finally on the right track, we hiked through the woods, spotted a Bandicoot (an endangered animal that looks like a rat), ducked through an old stone wall, and walked along the coastal cliffs. It was a beautiful 65 and sunny day. Today marked the first day of Australia’s winter...I could definitely get used to a place that calls this winter weather!
After skyping with my family today...the next time I see them will be in person! I can’t believe how fast time flies! I hope you all have a wonderful week! Talk to you soon!