Tuesday, November 23, 2010

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…

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