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exumenius


170 Blog Entries
2 Trips
477 Photos

Trips:

Down Under trip Preparation
Kiwis and Kangaroos

Shorthand link:

http://www.blogabond.com/exumenius




Epilogue

Los Angeles, United States


Well this is it, the end of living out of a bag for nearly six months. It would be a kitschly little example of my lameness to detail the exact figures of how far I traveled, how many places I visited, much money I spent, and how many people I met because that sort of objectivity is the surest way to misrepresent the true essence of such a journey. Suffice it to say that I spent enough time on planes, trains, busses, boats, and automobiles to be a poster child for Dramamine. Nor would it be an exaggeration to say that I’ve been to more places in Australia and New Zealand than most of the people who live there. Through the past six months I’ve spent what could have been a down payment on a condo in Greenwood or a house in Appleton and I’ve met hundreds of people I’ll never remember and a few I’ll probably never forget. But none of these were the reason for this trip. No, my reasoning was the purest form of epicurean selfishness…I went for me.

I went because I was sick of sitting in an office staring out the window as my mid-twenties rolled by. I went because my incessant reading had given me a terminal case of wanderlust. I went because I was bored. I went because I had the time and the money. But most of all I went because I just had to know what it was like.

Prior to leaving my previous life experiences had taught me that expectations are often the surest way to ruin anything, so I tried to keep them to a minimum. I can’t possibly remember everything I thought last fall, but I’ll try to cover the major ones. Part of me expected all travelers to be interesting and congenial. This is not the case. Identical to the general populace, you have a decent mix of bigots, bitches, douche-bags, weirdos, and dumb asses along with a fair portion of down-right good people. I figured I would meet numerous other American traveling the Southern Hemisphere. This is also simply not true. The guys in my volunteer program notwithstanding, I can probably count the number of Americans I met on both hands. Apparently we don’t leave our country all that often. I expected the time to go really fast; however, it didn’t, although now I understand why this occurred. I thought that I would enjoy doing nothing, when in fact it nearly drove me nuts. I never thought I would miss having a cell phone, though I secretly did.

If you are reading now and thinking that my trip was a total failure, you couldn’t be more wrong. Many things met or exceeded my expectations. When I was preparing to leave, many people couldn’t believe that I was going to live for half of year on what I could fit in my backpack. I fully expected that it wouldn’t bother me in the least and it hasn’t. In fact I threw away more clothes than I purchased. My bag is now lighter than when I started. I expected to be sick, crabby, and lonely at times. And I was. I also expected to be joyously happy, strangely smitten and quixotically confused. And I was. I expected Australia, New Zealand and Fiji to be incredibly beautifully places. They were that and more. I expected to lose weight and come back with a killer tan. I have. I expected to have a lot of time to think. I had much more than I ever could have imagined. But mostly I expected to learn. Learn about the world, about people, and about myself. It is here that all my expectations were grossly exceeded.

I tried to document some of the superficial and some of the deeper, philosophical things I learned in my daily “What I Learned Todays” at the end of each entry, however, most of the true learning wasn’t accomplished in a day, or a week, or even a month for that matter. The following is a list that is by no means all encompassing of some of the things I learned, and now pray, that I do not forget.

• Be more observant but less judgmental. Recognize differences as neither better nor worse, but simply different.
• Value relationships above all else. Do not take friendships for granted.
• Retain a balance between hard work and idle wonderment. Too much of either is debilitating
• Anything great and worthwhile takes time to grow.
• Real change, at any level, personal or otherwise, is very, very difficult.
• The grass on the other side, though a different shade, is not always “greener”. But sometimes it is, and the only way to truly find out it to jump the fence.
• I need something to work on, something to do, something to expend mental and physical energy on. Idleness kills me.
• Perception is often more important than the actual experience
• Traveling amplifies your moods.
• At any given moment life is 30% to 80% chance. Learn to accept this. Play the odds if you must, but don’t be disappointed when chance falls not in your favor.
• Never underestimate the power of a stare.
• Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. If you don’t know which way your dreams direct you, just go confidently in any direction. Something will work out.
• Everyone is just as confused and neurotic as I am. Well, at least confused.
• The world is a huge place and incredibly small at the same time.
• Accept aging and enjoy it. Reminisce with a smile and not with longing.
• Too much order is boring, too little is schizophrenic. i.e. Random is good in small doses. Relish the uncertainty in your life.
• Damocles and his Sword possess ageless wisdom.
• You’ll never know if you don’t ask.
• Control over our own mind is the only form of control we should ever strive for. This in itself is a Herculean task. Desiring control over anything more is childish at best and despotic at worst.
• The rest of the world loves American culture, America’s founding ideals, and American opportunities, however, our political system, voter apathy, gun control laws, xenophobia, and lack of trains absolutely mystifies them.
• Most people, myself included, want neither to be #1 in a village in the Alps, nor #2 in Rome, but rather would just like to have a dynamic community of good friends.
• Industriousness (in a female) is an incredibly appealing trait.
• Live in the moment.

I fully acknowledge that many of these ‘learnings’ sound a bit Hallmark-ish, but I suppose such is the nature of certain inalienable truths. All of this bullet list, made-for-the-self-help-aisle summarization aside I must proudly proclaim that not all of my experience can, nor should be, encapsulated in cute little maxims and ill-adjusted haikus. Bear with me as I digress into what will likely be a rambling, semi-incoherent stream of consciousness:
“Location, location, location” says the ex-high school quarterback now touting a real estate broker’s license. Translation: No two places are the same, each is unique in its own way. By virtue of the physics of the two dimensional space occupying the face of the earth, this very statement is the epitome of an axiomatic truth. Each of Fiji’s 300 plus islands and each of Australia’s amazing coastal vistas and each of New Zealand’s fjords and mountains are themselves unique and different in a physical sense. As humans we experience all of this variety first through our sensory perception of it and secondly through our memory of it. Basically, though chemical reactions our eight pound ball of soft tissue internalizes everything this wonderful world has to offer. After awhile Fiji’s island become just another island, and Australia’s coastal vistas just another vistas and New Zealand’s…oh, you get the idea. But wait - A caveat: This isn’t to say these places become less enjoyable, they simply begin to run together in your mind, becoming more alike than their inherent uniqueness would warrant. (Note: some places cannot be marginalized as such…Uluru, Milford Sound, the Grand Canyon, etc). Try as we might, this process cannot be avoided. Thus, the physical realities of travel begin as a million special places and wind up being collections of types of places. It is factor analysis on a grand, geographic scale.

People on the other hand are experienced in the opposite taxonomic direction. Everyone we meet begins as simply male or female, then becomes old white female, young Fijian male on down the line. This process happens lightening quick. Traveling teaches you to almost immediately identify nationality based on a vast array of qualities. For example, without even hearing the language being spoken, you can almost guarantee than any group of more than four girls or guys traveling together are British or Irish, especially if they are being abnormally loud and/or complaining about something. German and Dutch girls are likely to be found in pairs and dressed much more conservatively than their Anglo neighbors. A very thin couple found smoking is bound to be French. Canadians, regardless of their number are dressed strange, but not as strange as the Aussie men who are also given away by their haircuts. Surprisingly, I don’t know how to spot an American over here, since I didn’t meet enough of them to develop telling points. I don’t say all of this to demonstrate some preternatural power of perception I’ve developed (believe me, I haven’t) but rather to explain what goes through my mind walking into a hostel bar or at a group introductory meeting. Plus, there are always exceptions to the rule.

However, it is not until you meet and talk to people that they begin to take on a unique dimension. Well most of them at least. (As I expressed earlier, some of them are simply your run of the mill British gap year pisshead or boring, chubby Irish girls, but most aren’t.) I couldn’t possibly summarize all the different people I talked with, but one correlation did seem to underlie it all. The more disgruntled people are about their ‘real life’ back home, the more completely they have thrown themselves into their travel experience. I am not so sure the opposite hold true. Nonetheless, through this observation I came to internalize the second most important realization of my trip: I have a great life back home. Talking to all these people I now know that I’ve done a better job chasing my dreams (as shifting and changing as they may be) and building a solid community of friends than I often give myself credit for. I came to realize that I went on this trip not to run away from a life I didn’t like, but simply to augment what has, so far, been an amazing twenty-seven years on this planet. Likewise, in no way does this eschatological ‘a-ha’ diminish my trip at all. Nor does it mean I will go back to being the same person I was before I left. Quite the opposite, as I feel it can only help me build and change for the better. It has also shown me that I can do this sort of thing again (and probably will), with the knowledge that I can treat it as a learning experience and not an exodus from regular life. It will not leave me content with what I have but it will remind me to cherish my life and ultimately provide me with the impetus to improve upon it with the zeal and endless energy necessary to change.

What then you may be asking is the single most important thing I’ve realized? Here it is: I am what I am. I like the things I do for a reason, a reason that is my own and that is what makes it a powerful reason. We all live in our own realities and I happen to like mine, regardless of the praise and or criticism the world may shower upon it. The same goes for other people’s realities. Once upon a time (not long ago) I thought that the life of a permanent traveler, that dreadlocked guy with a backpack and worn out shoes, to be the ultimate life. After observing these guys and girls in action, I know that it just isn’t for me. I simply cannot sit at a table, rolling my own cigarettes, drinking coffee and talking about past concerts for days on end, trying to squeeze every penny out the money I made working at the hostel’s front desk. I am not condemning this sort of life. Rather, I’ve accepted that, at this point in my life (a life based on my past experiences and social environment), I need something productive to work on…even if it just finishing a good non-fiction book. The world takes all kinds and as much as I try to be a polymath, there is a certain segment that I fit into. Everyone does to some degree. The problem arises when we fail to accept others who don’t fit into our small, minute pigeon hole. This understanding does not mean I’ll never change; in fact it has given me the courage to accept that someday I can be the yeoman farmer living off the land in Nova Scotia, or the condo-living writer in Seattle or the small business owner on the Mexican coast. But only if these life changes come to me through my experience-built realities and not through force.

I am well over 2,000 words and in danger of repeating myself and/or sounding existentially obtuse….so, in sum, it was a wild ride. One that I’ll never forgot. One that will change my life for the better. One that I’ll be able to look back upon with tender merriment. One that I can only hope each of you will get to experience sometime (maybe with me in a few years). And, finally, one that I am glad is over.



permalink written by  exumenius on March 14, 2008 from Los Angeles, United States
from the travel blog: Kiwis and Kangaroos
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Back to U.S. Soil -Night 155

Los Angeles, United States


Up to this point I haven’t spoken much about the weather in Fiji and that’s because it’s basically a non-issue. Now that we are past cyclone season, every day brings mid 80s, a bearable level of humidity, and clouds that build during the day and sometimes drop rain on the mainland. Today, my last day here, was different. Today, my last day, It proved to be noticeably cooler and windy to the point where it was uncomfortable to be topless. What a shame, I know. I checked out, packed my bags (in that order) and sat under the thatched roof huts enjoying the light rain and diligently worked on the conclusion to my travel journal. I was having one of those days where I could write. Words and ideas just appeared on the screen. I wish every day was like this. This sense of accomplishment sends all the right chemicals to my brain and, naturally, I basked in the afterglow.

Our taxi (two German girls from the Aquarius

were on the same flight) arrived at 6:30 and took us to the airport amidst another gorgeous sunset. The last three nights have been some of the top three sunsets I’ve ever witnessed. Check-in was a disaster as we arrived right after a large bus full of retired tourists from Minnesota. Laden with heavy bags and lacking any sort of travel wherewithal, their check-in procedure was painful slow and greatly delayed the entire airport. Feels like I am right at home already. I purchased the required souvenirs, had the best Chinese food of my trip and then spent the remainder of my Fiji cash on one last Fiji Bitter beer. (I’m glad I could end my last entry with the word ‘beer.’

What Learned Today: This is it, the last one…instead of a conclusion here, I’ve put it all together in the next entry entitled “Epilogue.” Read that and hopefully I’ll see you in the coming weeks and we can discuss further.


permalink written by  exumenius on March 13, 2008 from Los Angeles, United States
from the travel blog: Kiwis and Kangaroos
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Sailing the Mamanucas - Night 154

Suva, Fiji


I have a strange yearning for 7-Up. Seriously, this is what I thought when I woke up today. I had been fiending bacon as well, but the Bounty Island staff delivered in the form of an immense breakfast buffet. The only thing missing was the funny guy in a hat cooking made-to-order omelets. The two Dutch girls and I had a sailing trip planned for the today and our transfer catamaran arrived at 9:30 to take us to Mana Island for a transfer to the Seaspray, the supposedly legendary sailboat that no one outside of west Fiji has ever heard of.

The boat was too packed for comfort and the trip started off poorly as I sat on some wet paint and stained the back of my new swim trunks. Good thing they were just a $20 pair from Target. The paint proved to be oil-based and won’t wash out, but at least it sort of matches the color on the shorts, so perhaps only an astute observer will notice my blunder.

The adventure slowly improved. Our first stop

was at a little traditional Fijian village on some island who’s name I cannot pronounce nor remember. The guy chosen to be the chief of our group for the Kava welcome ceremony dropped the bowl of Kava, a very bad sign of gratitude. An impromptu market set up by the Fijian women plied numerous identical goods. The women in our group descended on the market like only women can; holding and examining trinkets, trying on bracelets, fingering the tapestries and in the end emptying their purses on such goods. The men, on the other hand, wallowed in the background occasionally swinging a war axe or eyeing one of the masks, though generally refraining from purchasing anything. I’m guessing they had already spent enough to get to this point…dating, marriage, houses, flights, hotels, boat trips….

We returned to the boat for a stunning lunch straight off the grill. Did I mention the free beer? Well, I guess it wasn’t free as we paid for the trip, I believe the word would be complimentary. After lunch the captain swung us over to the island from the movie Castaway. On one side was the perfect white sand beach and palm trees that kept Tom Hanks alive for all those weeks and on the other some of best snorkeling in the area. I

walked in Tom’s footsteps for a while and then donned the snorkel and fins and dove in the water. It doesn’t take all too long to become entirely proficient with snorkeling gear and in no time I saw my first squid, who I chased about for a bit. He seemed as interested in me as I in him. Once we returned to the boat the drinking began. The couple next to me turned out to be from Sydney and the girl was studying to be a city planner. Good to see we are invading the minds of the youth. It rained on the trip back to the mainland as vicious August-like thunderstorms drenched the hills of Viti Levu and then cleared long enough for an absolutely amazing sunset. I wouldn’t classify it as beautiful, but rather as eerie. The sky had become twisted and shredded into shades and configurations of red and yellow that are generally reserved for abstract art or crime scenes.

I spent the night back at the Aquarius resort. Most of the people from the boat were staying there upon my recommendation (I should have asked for a referral discount), so we dined and conversed by the pool until my energy gave out around 11pm.

What I Learned Today: Every girl thinks that they are an expert on how to pick-up all other girls.

permalink written by  exumenius on March 12, 2008 from Suva, Fiji
from the travel blog: Kiwis and Kangaroos
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Transfer to Bounty Island - Night 153

Suva, Fiji


I slept like a baby. Actually even better than that. After breakfast I took a kayaking trip to the nearest beach and built myself a gigantic sand castle that I can only imagine the sea has since reclaimed. Try as I might, I don’t think I’ll leave my mark on Fiji in any way. Temporary as my work will ultimately prove to be, there was a definite sense of atavistic joy found in heaping piles of sand together to form a faux-defense system complete with moat and bamboo-reinforced outer walls. Man is inherently industrious and creative.

In the afternoon the large yellow Yasawa flyer stopped by and whisked me away down to Bounty Island. Ken, the aforementioned Irishman had left the day before and now today the three Canadian girls would be headed another direction. If meeting new people is the yin of travel, then watching them depart a few days later is certainly the yang….and it doesn’t get much easier with practice. On Bounty Island I was reconnected with the two Dutch girls and the Spanish guy from the first night on the islands. Bounty is a tiny little place. After arrival and check-in I took a circumferential stroll around the island, total walking time: 20 minutes. And that included a stop to talk with one of the security guards and a few sunset photo opportunities. The evening meal was stellar; seafood pasta, fresh salad and dinner rolls and even dessert. Attempting to read in a hammock by the lapping sea while listening to the Fijian band play I drifted off to sleep in a state of complete and total relax.

What I Learned Today: Fiji has the world’s greatest cumulonimbus clouds.




permalink written by  exumenius on March 11, 2008 from Suva, Fiji
from the travel blog: Kiwis and Kangaroos
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Another Day on the Boat - Night 152

Suva, Fiji


I haven’t swum this much in years and boy are my arms tired. We snorkeled again in the morning and afternoon. In between I squeezed in two naps and a lunch. The boat moved to a new Harbor spot today and along the way three dolphins joined the boat and performed tricks and turns for us for almost an hour. As we slowed to anchor, our new friends bid us adieu. The crew noted, quite prophetically, that dolphins are unwelcomed visitor as they generally signal the approach of bad weather.

As I write this I am still three days behind on

my journal and my will to shower you with the details of my day has waned. It was an early night for all of us, exhausted from the drinking the night before and all the swimming during the day, we gathered round the TV lounge for a movie night. A storm moved in and made for a rolling night aboard the boat. More than one British girl lost her dinner overboard.

What I Learned Today: I am a whore for variety.


permalink written by  exumenius on March 10, 2008 from Suva, Fiji
from the travel blog: Kiwis and Kangaroos
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Boarding the Wanna Taki - Night 151

Suva, Fiji


I had to kill another morning at Sunrise Resort since our boat down south wasn’t due until 1pm. A bit of swimming and some volleyball with the Canadian girls and soon lunch was on. Thankfully it was our last meal at Sunrise. Though I have nothing to compare this place to, I have been unimpressed with the entire resort, the exceptions being the Blue Lagoon and the friendliness of the staff. Eighteen of us boarded the water taxis (the aluminum boats) for the long ride out to the Yasawa Flyer, the main transport boat.

My next stop would be the Wanna Taki, a live-on boat that calls home the water surrounding Naviti Island. Over half of the people from the Sunrise would be joining me aboard the Wanna Taki. Immediately we could see this was going to be much better than the Sunrise Resort. An air-conditioned sleeping room, toilets that work, a TV lounge, full bar, free kayaks and snorkeling trips and, most importantly, decent tasting and ample amounts of food. After settling in, most of us acquiesced to the initiation ritual of jumping off the top deck of the boat. It seems easy enough to do, but looking down the nearly 20 feet into the water will give you second thoughts. The best way to attack this, I thought, was a running start and a headlong dive. The jump is long enough for you to actually think about it on the way down. I over tucked and nearly landed flat on my back.

Dinner was an excellent meal of lamb green

curry. The workers played Fijian music while we drank and taught each other drinking games from our respective countries. The night ended with more Kava drinking. This time, I could feel my mouth go numb from its narcotic effects…it must have been mixed of proper strength.

What I Learned Today: Do not play ‘never have I ever’ with an Irishman. His stories will always trump yours.


permalink written by  exumenius on March 9, 2008 from Suva, Fiji
from the travel blog: Kiwis and Kangaroos
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Cave Diving - Night 150

Suva, Fiji


Heavy, tropical rain fell all through the night. In my infinite wisdom I left both my towels and my swimming trunks out on the line. Even with the rain and the nets that we slept underneath, the mosquitoes still had a field day on my feet and ankles.

Breakfast consisted primarily of Fijian sweet

bread and various fruits and melons. On the agenda for the morning was a trip out to some unnamed caves. The 45-minute ride, each way, was provided by Joe’s Water Taxi. Their name itself certainly offers up no illusions of grandeur, and nor should it. Joe’s Water Taxi was nothing more than a 16-foot aluminum boat powered by a 40-hp Evinrude. The driver and his assistant would also function as cave tour guides. I was expecting some small caves filled with sea water, instead what was awaiting us was large limestone caves filled with cold fresh water. In addition to the main cave there is a side cavern accessible only by diving underneath a large rock. The whole journey takes about 3 seconds, but that can seem like an eternity when you are underwater faced with trying to find an airhole amidst the rocks. One of the guides went first so that we would have a flashlight to aim for. The whole experienced sounds worse than it actually is. One of the first ones through, it was eerily being on the other side in a pitch dark cave, floating in cold water with the only sound coming from the faint echoes of the others back in the main cave.

We returned in time for a rather inadequate lunch. On our afternoon hike over to the Blue Lagoon we were caught in a brief, but torrential, downpour that turned the track into a mudslide. This time it was low tide so the snorkeling was even better as you narrowly floated above the coral with millions of fish hardly paying you any attention. I’m beginning to enjoy snorkeling as a calming activity. Rarely in our lives are we aware of our own breathing cycle, but when snorkeling it consumes you. Snorkeling is, no doubt, a highly Buddhist activity…a form of active meditation perhaps. If I were Robert Piesig, I would call my next book Zen and the Art of Snorkeling.

Dinner proved much heartier than lunch. Swimming all day creates quite the appetite. The night time entertainment was advertised as a fundraiser for the local Fijian school. We all expected school children and local music, instead we were subjected to a one-man dance show by Queen, the not entirely heterosexual head of the resort. Nonsensically dancing to some of the 1980s worst songs, his show was bearable only because we had been drinking Fiji Gold for some time.

Spurred on by the lameness of his presentation, Ken and I cracked open my bottle of Bounty Extra-Proof rum to numb the pain. The rest of the evening followed with lively discussion by all parties on topics ranging from travel to politics to religion. Ollie, the self-employed financier from Denmark, admitted that one of his life’s greatest moments was meeting Bill Clinton in Copenhagen ten years ago. Having travelled widely, he claims to have never met another soul with that much charisma.

What I Learned Today: Don’t try to work Muslim girls….


permalink written by  exumenius on March 8, 2008 from Suva, Fiji
from the travel blog: Kiwis and Kangaroos
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The Blue Lagoon - Night 149

Suva, Fiji


Promptly arriving at 7am, the shuttle bus was filled with passengers anxious to get off the mainland and out into the small islands west of Viti Levu. I had booked a six-day/five night package visiting two island sand offering two nights on a boat. The first five day would be spent in the Yasawa Islands with a day sailing adventure to the Mamanucas at the end of the trip.

For the first two nights I’m booked at the Sunrise Resort on Nanuya Lailai Island, the absolute last stop on the boat route. We departed at 8:30 and didn’t get to our stop until well after 1pm…though one can’t really complain about a five hour tour through calm tropical seas and amazing island scenery. The resort sent out two small aluminum fishing boats to collect the seventeen passengers and our luggage. We were a diverse group. Introductions revealed that we were made up of citizens of Ireland, Spain, England, the Netherlands, Canada, Israel, Turkey, and, of course, America.

After a weak lunch offering, the English, the Irish and I hiked over to the other side of the island to snorkel in the famous Blue Lagoon, apparently the setting for the movie of the same name. The walk was rough, especially in sandals, but was well worth the effort. The reef in the lagoon is absolutely amazing. Just a few feet below the surface lies acres and acres of coral all teeming with multitudes of strangely shaped and oddly colored fish. It is not hard to spend hours with your head in the water contemplating the wonders of nature. We returned in time for a large communal dinner cooked in an underground oven (the traditional Fijian way). Chicken, salad and three different types of Taro, a potato like tuber native the island. At night, we sat around drinking Fiji Gold and Kava (purportedly a slight narcotic made from crushed tree roots) with the village men.

What I Learned Today: Even the most confident of people have a slight fear of public speaking.


permalink written by  exumenius on March 7, 2008 from Suva, Fiji
from the travel blog: Kiwis and Kangaroos
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Bula, Bula - Night 148

Suva, Fiji


12:15 local time an Air Pacific Boeing 737-300 rumbles down the tarmac at Brisbane International Airport bound for Nadi, Fiji thus ending the passenger in seat 32A’s time in Land Down Under. As we lift through the clouds I look back at the verdant landscape of Moreton Island and wondered silently to myself if I will ever return to this place. The answer… I honestly don’t know. This uncertainty in life is both strangely upsetting and spiritually liberating at the same time.

Air Pacific is the way to go. Free beer and friendly service…the only two things I really need on a flight. We touched down in Nadi just prior to the six o’clock hour. The air is thick and warm, the atmosphere jovial. Customs is a breeze, the man didn’t even so much as look up at me. Quarantine was just as simple. The Aquarius resort sent a van to pick me and shuttle me off to their hostel for my one night stay prior to the Awesome Fiji Adventure Tour that I will be starting tomorrow. Rolling through the streets of Nadi, I am reminded of the poverty and squalor that grips Jamaica. To be honest, it isn’t half as bad as Jamaica, but the dichotomy of the glitzy Oceanside resorts and the rustic homes of the local people still exists.

The Aquarius Resort is a small, quiet, clean little place directly on the beach. Occupancy was well below 50% and after dark I had the pool to myself. The waitress kept my table well stocked with Fiji Bitter, a local beer that would pass for quality only in the Midwest. The sea itself is as warm as bathwater and laps softly at the white sand beach. Vicious mosquitoes attacked my feet as I lay in a hammock and stared up at the stars through the swaying palm trees. I packed up a bag to leave in the long term luggage storage and headed to bed early.

What I Learned Today: It appears that the Fijian people are as advertised…the friendliest in the world.


permalink written by  exumenius on March 6, 2008 from Suva, Fiji
from the travel blog: Kiwis and Kangaroos
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Closing Down Australia

Brisbane, Australia


My last full day in Australia. Hard to believe that it is all nearly over. Again, I didn’t do that much with the day. After breakfast and fighting with the free and consistently broken wireless internet at the City Backpackers I marched down to Fortitude Valley to find some decent souvenirs. I had no such luck. I did, however, find a nice, non-English speaking barber shop and got myself a $9 haircut, which despite our language barriers, actually turned out as I desired. I think the words “trim up” are surprisingly universal. On the walk back to downtown I did find a place to blow my remaining Australian currency on some trinkets and reminders of my time in OZ.

The rest of the day was completely uneventful, with the exception of India beating Australia in cricket. I’m really excited for baseball season to start.

What I Learned Today: I always seem to meet a good group of people on my last day in a place.


permalink written by  exumenius on March 5, 2008 from Brisbane, Australia
from the travel blog: Kiwis and Kangaroos
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