Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sheeeeeeppers New Zealand.

Day 142: December 6, 2010

I absolutely love New Zealand. It was the most beautiful place I have ever been too, no joke. Here I see crystal blue water from the glaciers and mountains surrounding it with snow capped at the top. Here I see these absolutely gorgeous flowers that come in an array of purple, pink, yellow, and white. Here do I smell the pine trees and make peace signs out of the peace signs. Feels like home to me.

Some things here remind me of home quite a big, but then its about 10 times more beautiful to me.. a new kind of beautiful. I just love nature and that’s not because I’m a tree hugger.

What have I don’t since I got here??

Well I arrived December 4, 2010 at about 12:30 am.. I had no place to go so I slept in the airport in Christchurch then awoke, got a ride into town to catch a bus and finally found a bus that was heading to queenstown in just the nick of time. I get to queenstown.. do a nice stroll and end up in bed early, feeling a little sick, still and am just very tired from the drive (about 8 hours) and the bad night of sleep I had in the airport.

Next day I wanted to relax, so I did .. in way that I woke up late, about 11 am and felt good, healthy, recovered from this weird illness I have had for the past 3 weeks. I forgot what its like, to feel healthy again, it is really nice. I decided to do a hike up to Queenstown Hill. It was such a nice hike, very much so needed. The view at the top was very nice and the whole hike in general was soothing to my soul. I could have stayed on that mountain top for ages, but I soon headed down.

I decided that I should go to a place called Fergberger, because it always had lines out the door and was super crowded. I got a burger and it was a massive mother of meat. Not sure how to eat it and I have never questioned how to eat a burger. That was new for me, questioning how to eat a burger I mean. It was quite good though, its been so long since I have had a good berger. Oh mannn.

At the fergburger I ran into two girls, one from Canada and one from Alaska (USA). They were going up on the skyline to do the luge and asked if I wanted to go with, I decided, it was an okay thing to do. The view up there was soo nice, better thans Queenstown hill if you ask me. Only because I felt like you could see more. Anyways.. we did the luge, funnest luge I have ever done. I got myself up on two wheels a couple of times and that was intense. I could go as fast as I wanted too and passed one of the girls I was with cause I was going so fast. I had a need for speed and I am not kidding.

So what have I done

1. slept in the airport at Christchurch

2. taken a long bus ride to queenstown (about 8 hours)

3. stayed at YHA backpackers for 3 nights

4. gone hiking up to queenstown hill

5. slept in for the first time in a long time & felt good, healthy good for the first time in weeks.

6. Took the gondola up to the top of a mountain and done the luge up there as well.

7. Ate a massive burger at fergburger.

December 8, 2010

1. Went to bed early, or at least tried, but was up most of the night because the bar outside was soo loud. It felt like people were yelling right outside my window.. they probably were.

2. Woke up, feeling good, it was bungee jump day on December 6 and I was ready.

3. I did it, and survived. Yesss. I did the highest bungee jump in New Zealand and the highest swing in the world.. It’s kind of a big deal.

4. I ate another massive burger to celebrate with a girl I met at the bungee jump.

5. We also decided to celebrate by going to the ice bar. A bar that is made out of ice in queenstown. Sounds cool yeah? it was, I have picturessssss.

6. Had an early night to bed because the next day, I was heading to Franz Joseph.. I wanted to go to pancake rocks, but its not going to happen this trip.

7. Made it to Franz Joseph and hiked up to the glacier. It was sooo coool. I don’t think I have ever seen a glacier before so thank you mister Franz Joseph.

8. Stayed at a backpackers in the franz joseph town.. up in glacier territory.. pretty cool eh. I thought so, I felt in my element cause I was in the mountains and it was a wee bit cold.

9. Now I am on a bus again.. I swear about a third or maybe even half of my new Zealand trip is on a bus. That kind of sucks, but at least the drive is soo beautiful, so its okay. I wish I had an ATV to cruise around NZ on, that would be rad. That's saved for next time.

10. I’m heading to Christchurch yet again and hoping I can make my way up to Kaikora.. (I spelled that wrong) because I want to go whale watching ASAP.

11. I have to get to the north island.. ASAP I fly out of NZ in a week, so yeah. I sure do love the South Island, everything about it, except the expensive bus fares I keep paying.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

New Zealand.. and I'm in love with it.

I absolutely love New Zealand. So much to say and so little time at the moment.. But it is so beautiful.

I absolutely love New Zealand. So much to say and so little time at the moment.. But it is so beautiful.

Lets find the hippies... Brooke you are a hippie.. no I want to find real hippies.

Lighthouse at Byron Bay!
Nimbin Museum

Oh Australia- how I love you...

Day 139: December 3, 2010.

Wow, it’s so weird it has only been one day since I last blogged. I am currently on the plane From Sydney, Australia to Christchurch, New Zealand. It’s quite nice actually, I can see the sunset finally and it’s an array of pink, yellow, orange and blue colors. It’s very lovely and good news, I was feeling sick before I got on the plane, but then I bought a powerade and now I feel so much better. This might sound weird, but I think I needed electrolytes, yep.

I have done so much in just this past 24 hours, it’s a bit insane actually. At least I think it will sound a bit insane to you reading this. I had to dig into my New Zealand fund and use $250 US dollars that was ment for New Zealand here in Australia. I realized this when I was in Cairns and well, I was pretty upset about that. It lead me to the decision that I was going to go from Brisbane to Sydney by hitchhiking basically. I could have bought a greyhound ticket for around $100 straight from Brisbane to Sydney, but I really wanted to stop at Byron Bay, so I did (you probably read that earlier in my blog).

I have had very good luck with a side of bad luck. I have had good luck because I had some friends here in Australia that I met when they were on holiday in Fiji. Two of which drove me from Brisbane to Byron (Thank you Marty & Roscoe, Bill, I know you were there in spirit). These guys were such a good bunch, I met them out on qamea which is by Taveuni and they were there to surf. They had been surfing their whole lives it sounded like and they just loved to surf. They even let me go on a surfing trip with them one day, it was not a good idea (the wave kidnapped me and Roscoes surfboard and took us far far away), but overall, it was so fun. It was so nice of them to help me out in transportation, I am very very thankful to them for driving me and well, just being soo cool.

Next stop, Byron Bay, I met this kid, Daniel who was from Sydney and was just traveling around this lovely country he is from. Luckily, he was one of few social people at the backpackers I stayed at. We chitchatted awhile and then the next day I ran into him up at the lighthouse. I was saying how I did not have a plan as to where I need to stay cause I budgeted badly and he offered his car for me to sleep in. It was a joke at the time, I think, but well, I ended up taking up that offer. I searched around town that day as well to hopefully find someone, anyone who was heading either to Sydney or close to Sydney. After about 40-50 people I asked, I finally found one. He was working an event for the schoolies (high school students big party thing at byron bay for end of year). Luckily he was heading back the next day, which lead me to finding Daniel again and asking if I could really sleep in his car.

After walking the long trek to the Arts Factory Backpackers, I found him. Lucky I did too, or else, it mighta been a cold night, I did not have money for a backpackers and getting back to Sydney. I had about $50 dollars left and I was not going to dig into my New Zealand fund again unless it was a life or death situation, I’m stubborn like that I guess, but I really could not dig into it again.. I am pretty sure I will be going through something similar towards the end of New Zealands time as well. Pretty sure I will run out of money. Luckily I do have a place to stay free of charge in Auckland and couch surfers so I think I will make it safe and sound J.

Where was I, I started going off subject again, that happens a lot lately when I am telling stories. Oh yes, So I ran into my new amigo Daniel and then he said I could stay in his car. We went and got my luggage, he checked into the backpackers resort, because he was staying there because it’s a super super cool backpackers, no joke, its soo awesome and then well, we thought we should go to nimdin, so we did.

Probably the best idea ever, It was such a nice town, hippies, ganja, and the most interesting and unique shops you will ever find. I just love that town it was so nice and probably the most I have ever laughed. If you go to the museum and sit and watch the enchanted movie, you will probably get some kind of level of high, no joke. Pretty crazy how that happened, I have never smoked or anything, but I know enough about to know that I was not feeling any sort of normal. I was in a funk, I was hungry, I was happy, I was sleepy, and for a couple moments, my belly was not aching. Now that is what I call, one crazy funkkkkk, dude.

Anywaysssss… I’m still trying to get to what has happened in the past 24 hours, I guess I just feel like writing things in paragraph form instead of numbering like I usually do. Anyways…. So I slept in Daniel’s car and it rained. Lucky I had shelter ehh. Next day, I pick up all my stuff, since for the night the car was my home and headed to meet my next new friend.. Stacey was his name-o.

Lucky for me, he was headed towards Sydney. Lucky for me again, I did not have to pay for fuel and neither did he, because his work was. That is two luckies in less that a second. Also lucky, that he was not a creep.. but the luckiest thing was that he had a ukulele and during the car drive I played my tambourine with my foot and the ukulele with my hands. I want to be musical.. high school musical.. haha psyche.

So maybe it was a bit dodgy to get in a car with a total stranger for about a ten hour drive to mainland, which was just before New Castle, but for me, it was a good idea because I could not dig into my NZ fund because it is already too low as is. Fact is, I am safe now right. I’m on the plane going to my Dream land New Zealand. It may not be snowing here, but hey, they have glaciers and you know that glaciers were snow at one point, just snow that turned hard, you know, into ice and stuff aka a glacier.

Anyways, there I go off subject again. So after I got dropped off in Mainland at the train station. I got on a train to Hamilton (about an hour ride), then I got on another train to Sydney (about a three hour ride). I did not get to the station until about 9 at night and I ended up getting to Sydney just before 1 AM today. That’s when the next lucky comes around.

My beachhouse surfer bum friend, Chris (it’s a good thing to be called that Chris) was nice enough to stay up and pick me up late at the Central train station in Sydney. Then we drove over to Manly (which is also part of Sydney, the part that is connected to the harbour bridge) to his home. Lucky again, so I asked him about 2 months ago if I could stay on his floor, he made me a bed, with a mattress, nicest bed I have had in sooo long. I’m sooooooo glad that I have met all these people whether I met them while I was in Fiji or just here in Australia. They are all sooooo nice and .. they think I’m funny.. sometimes. Okay so I made that up, kind of, but I think deep down, it’s true.

I took the ferry ride to the train station to get a train to the airport. The ferry ride was soo nice. It gave such a good view of the Opera house and the Harbour Bridge. It was really nice. I also went and chilled out at a beach this morning in Manly. It was soo nice.. reminded me of Kauai, just a stronger current. It was absolutely beautiful and well, it felt really good to relax for a change because I have been sick and on the go go go mode for a while now. It gets a bit exhausting. It’s fun, but so exhausting.

Basically to sum this all up, I have gone all the way from Cairns to Sydney in 9 days. That is covering a lot of ground there just to let you know.. If you drove it, it would take about 45-50 hours of driving. So yeah, you get the jist of it right, it’s a long distance. I went scuba diving on the great barrier reef, I went to the Daintree, I went to Byron Bay, and I went to Nimdin. Those were the main things I wanted to accomplish while here in Australia and I did it, I did everything I came here to do and I will come back here in the future to do more. It has been absolutely amazing and a bit of a roller coaster. I have been sick basically the whole time, but as I sit here now, I see that I did not give up even though I felt sick, I kept on moving, basically cause I had too and I did not curl up in a ball feeling sick and go home early, I kept on going and now, here I am, feeling good thanks to my $4 powerade and maybe other things, and on a plane to New Zealand. The place I really wanted to end up in. My ultimate destination, a country with mountains and ocean within a close range, a place where they call people kewis (who are from there), a place that I have dreamt about for the past 3 years, a place where I will feel cold again. I need that bitter frost on my nose right about now.

If numbering makes it easier to read here is what I did in number form.

1. Hitchhiked from Byron bay to Mainland with this guy named Stacey.

2. Took two trains to get to Sydney and finally arrived at one in the morning.

3. My friend Chris picked me up and I went to his house and slept on his floor in the living room. Which was actually a nice bed that he made for me, but I had every intention of sleeping on the floor cause that is what I asked him when I met him in Fiji.

4. Got a little sleep on the train, then more once I got to Chris’s house.

5. Then went surfing, well, I wanted to, but I did not feel well enough, so chris went surfing and I went and chilled on the beach and played a little in the water. Just a bit of a relaxing day at the beach for me, I need a chill pill, because I have been on the move for the past two weeks.

6. I attempted to pack my stuff for the flight tonight, it worked out eventually.

7. Then we tried to hurry to the ferry, I even ran to it with my backpack and stuff, but I missed it. Yes Chris I missed it! my fault though, I was on fiji time when I was packing. The ferry was still there, but they would not let me get on.

8. I got on the next ferry, enjoyed the ride then rushed to the train so I could get one to the airport.

9. Made it to the airport on time, got checked in, no baggage issues! The only thing was that they threw away my scissors, sad day.

10. Here I am on the plane, it’s dark now and I’m tired.

11. Pretty sure I will be sleeping the Christchurch airport once I get to NZ at 12 am.. I have no place to go at that time of night and no way am I paying for a taxi, I hate taxis.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I love nature. underwater & up

Diving the Great Barrier Reef

In the Daintree

From Cairns to Byron Bay...Hitchhiking??

Day 134: November 28, 2010

1. Well, my birthday was pretty good. I went and did 3 scuba dives on the great barrier reef. I told the guy who worked there and took pictures that it was my birthday and if there was a discount when it was someone’s birthday on board. He said maybe, when I left, he gave me two pictures of me that he took which was.. soo nice……….. I was only have serious when I asked.

2. When I got back from diving, I tried to go to the woolshed to eat because I knew it was a good idea to try to eat even though I have not really had an appetite. I got the spaghetti, then took two bites, and left, I just cant eat lately, I feel so sick all the time.

3. Since I could not force myself to eat spaghetti, I thought It could be nice to get some ice cream, so I went to a gelatti place and got two scoops of ice cream and it was soo good. A good substitute for birthday cake.. very good and I had no issues with eating it either.

4. I went to bed, about 8 pm the night of my birthday on the actual date (nov. 27)

5. Diving the great barrier reef was really good, but not as good as beqa lagoon in fiji. Beqa lagoon was amazing, kinda surreal.

6. Now on my birthday back home, but nov. 28 here, I decided to relax. My original plan was to leave that day on a train or greyhound, but they were too expensive. So I ended up buying a plane ticket because it was cheaper.

7. Australia is sooooo freaking expensive, it’s killing me. No joke.

8. I hung out by the pool all day today over at gilligans backpackers (it’s the flashy place in cairns). There was a mini zip line set up, so I played on that for a bit, went swimming, drank water –its free here, and healthy-er than fiji.

9. Met some locals at the pool and they invited me to go to the bar that night called bellavista.

10. I went to bella vista that night with the two german girls who were in my dorm and hung out there for a bit.

11. Stayed up til like 11:30 pm.. that is super late for me in Australia.. I been going to sleep by about 10 pm.. its crazy. Time change, blah no bueno. I go to bed early and wake up early.

Day 136: November 30, 2010

1. 1.Yesterday I went hiking in the daintree, the tour guide was very annoying and the tour was a bit rushed, but the daintree was absolutely amazing.

2. I had a bit of an obsession of taking pictures with mushrooms when we were hiking around, they were so cool looking.

3. Also we went to the daintree zoo, but I did not like it to much, the staff was a bit rude to me and they threw away my sandwhich (that was absolutely disgusting) while I was at the toilet and my stuff was still by it too. It was a bit retarded.

4. The cairns tropical zoo was so much better than the daintree on my opinion.

5. I just love the daintree, I wish I could have hung out there longer!!

6. I got to see crocodiles in the daintree river! That was pretty awesome as well. Kinda creepy that you cant swim in water around here because of crocodiles.

7. In fact you cant swim in any water around here because there is either crocodiles or stingers (box jelly fish) and they will kill you. Tis the season for box jelly fish (summer in cairns).

8. I had an early flight today, got up at 4 am and got the bus to the airport at 4:30. Checked in and all that jazz, got on the plane and left by six.

9. I felt sooo sick, probably the worst I have felt in the two weeks of bacterial belly disease! But, I had to get on the plane, it sucks, cause all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and die or roll home to Utah. Its no fun being sick while traveling.

10. Worst plane ride of my life, I got sooo sick. Spent a good amount of time in the toilet and the back of the plane trying to sip water and then I spent the other time curled up in a ball in my seat. It was absolutely miserable. I decided I should probably go to the doctor.

11. Once I got to the airport, I met some guys from Canada and they were renting a car. They were nice enough to save me $20 for transportation from the airport to Brisbane city and let me hitch a ride with them. I appreciate that, because I am extremely low on funds and im not kidding!!

12. Go into Brisbane city and call my mamma with skype, she encouraged me to go to the doctor.. So I go to one, two, three offices and none of the accept my insurance.. FML. More reason for me to hate ISEP who made me buy the stupid insurance when I left. I had not used it until that moment when I really needed it.

13. It cost $70 just for a consultation. After crying for a while, and re-calling my mom, I ended up going to the doctor. I go and I tell him my symptoms and what I think I have and he says he wants to run tests. I figured that was included in the 70 I paid to him, but boy was I wrong. I go to the lab and the technician tells me it will be about another $300 dollars to run tests for parasites, blah bleah and blahhhh. I started cryingggggg yet again.. Helllll No, I will not pay that much money for tests, that is so stupid especially when I was not informed of the cost.

14. Luckily I met a nice doctor who saw that I was crying and re asked me my symptoms and she seemed to think I had the disease that I thought I had (geardia) –I spelled it wrong im sure-. She gave me medicine and well, I really hope it works.

15. After the mortifying doctors appointment, I met up with my friend Marty and later Roscoe and they drove me to Byron Bay.

16. Which is where I am now thanks to my friends driving me here, thanksssss marty and roscoe for helping me out!!!

17. Unfortionately the hostel I’m at, YHA byron bay is a bit lame, mostly because the staff was super rude when I got there and rude staff = bad hostel. It was the most expensive hostel I have been too as well, but most of the hostels here are booked full because the schoolies are here. (schoolies = high school students who have recently graduated and come to byron bay.

18. I will for sure not be able to afford staying here another night. I don’t have that much money left.. Less than $100 and I still need to get to Sydney (another 10 hour drive, 800 k)

Day 138: December 2, 2010

1. Woke up yesterday and decided to go to the lighthouse, just left my luggage in the bin at YHA and took a bike to the lighthouse. I got a little lost, or a lot, but it was a lovely walk, just about 5 times longer than it should have been. I parked my bike once I got to a trail and then just started walking.

2. The lighthouse was very cool, and you could see dolphins jumping by the side. It was just sooo nice up there.

3. On my way down I ran into the one person at the hostel who actually talked to me and did not just sit there when I tried to talk to them. (people at the hostel were not that social, luckily one person actually talked, like a normal human being you know).

4. Anyways so I ran into him and he helped me find my bike and then he said if I could not find anywhere to stay I could stay in his car. He was going to be staying at the Arts Village if I wanted to find him.

5. Meanwhile I was also asking random people if they were going to Sydney because I found out that the greyhound bus cost 90 dollars and well, I only had about 90 dollars left and I need to eat, so that is a problem.

6. After asking about 40-50 people and getting the strangest looks, I found some people who were putting on activities for the schoolies and I basically begged with my begger face. I really cant afford greyhound, and luckily one of them is heading close to Sydney and then I can take a train to Sydney from there. He said I could catch a ride. Thank goodness!!!!! Only he was not leaving till the next day.

7. This led me to walking to Arts Village and trying to find this guy Daniel and see if his car was still open for me to sleep in it for the night. Luckily I found him and luckily he let me sleep in it.

8. Neither of us had plans and I mentioned about going to Nimdin (a very hippy town, literally.. So we decided to drive there. (its about an hour away).

9. After getting a little lost and following a very windy road, we found it.

10. We walked through all the shops and observed the stuff that was there. It was the most unique stores I have ever been too, definitely my style!!

11. We got offered weed a lot, people were smoking it together on the streets and people were smoking it in their shops, kinda crazy, you just don’t see that anywhere really, but you see it here.

12. The kids were crazy, dancing in the streets. Pretty sure they were trying to sell us weed as well.

13. I had one of my favorite conversations there with a lady at a store called happy herbs. I asked if I could take anything home on the plane and she asked me domestic or international … I said international and she said, I cant guarantee, but you should be able too. Everything is legal, but it may look like its not. I think it was funnier to hear it, reading it just does not give the vibe that was there during this conversation, but it was soo good, so funny to me.

14. We went to the museum there and sat in a room where a movie was playing. After about 3-5 minutes we looked at eachother and asked if one another felt weird.. We both did, not sure what it was, but something in there made us feel, very high, which was very weird because no we were not smoking anything, it just kinda happened.

15. As we drove away, we came to the conclusion that we had gotten some kind of high in the museum.. pretty strange.

16. On the way home we stopped at Minyon falls, it was such a nice waterfall. We had to run there and run back though because we were on a creepy road and it was already a bit dark, getting darker.. and scarier.

17. Eventually we made it back to byron bay and came to the arts village. I fell asleep in the car just like planned and it’s a good thing I had that plan because if I was homeless, I would have been in the rain all night.

18. I am still feeling a little bit sick, supposedly the medicine takes time, so hopefully it is working. I don’t want to feel sick, I want to feel healthy.

19. I still don’t have that much of an appetite, but no worries, I’m making myself eat sometimes.

20. Now I am just sitting here at the arts village typing this blog that needed to be updated so desperately and awaiting my friend to wake up and bring me to town to meet my other new friend who will drive me to Sydney, ish.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Kangaroo lovin.

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

Thee Best Diving 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.