Leaving is so hard to do...
Sorry for the terrible long interlude. I was in Nananu-i-ra, and as i will explain later, i couldn't leave (it was TOO awsome) and I had no internet there....so here's what I've been doing.
here's me at the Beach at Beverlies just before Sunset.
Taveuni was just outstanding. I hiked in Bouma National Forest to two amazingly beautiful waterfalls. At their base were deep blue pools that begged a hot sweaty hiker to delve in, and delve in I did. You could swim right up to the thundering water and swim underneith. The suction wasn't too great (the locals were doing it) and then it would push you out the other side. The wind blew forociously my heart raced with excitement feeling the stinging water against my face, and being so close to a torrent of water that fell from almost 100 feet into the a most beautiful natural swiming hole. One could also climb up on the rocks behind the waterfall, and jump in: about a 15 foot drop. The water was deep: not sure how deep, but i never touched bottom.
I spent 4 of the days with Charlie and Helen, and I'll never forget all they're amazing stories of crewing on boats and sailing the world. They left a few days before me. I was sad to see them go!
helen and charlie
Here's me at the International Dateline.
I also built a MONUMENTAL SAND CASTLE, which I might have mentioned earlier: here are the photos
I was sad to leave Beverlies Campground in Taveuni. Bill, the owner, became like family, and Suk-my taxi driver, took such good care of me. The ferry from Taveuni to Suva was pretty rough.
The Sofe used to be an old Russion Cargo ship- its primary occupents were cockroaches, and it rolled back and forth incessently in the rough seas, and menuvering with a 35 pound pack on your back, isn't easy. I'll tell you. The indoor area might have been a nice place to chill, only the TV remained on all day playing loud and I mean LOUD jesus preach-festing programmes. I stayed on deck the entire time. and slept. Nearly all day. We stopped in Savu Savu on the way and i dashed to the Copra Shed hoping to see some of my friends there, but Leto, Lop to, Wyora, and Morning Light had all left already. Rebording the Ferry I had to find somewhere suitable to sleep. It got too chillly to sleep on deck, so I found a spot off to the side inside where the kung foo movie-volume still blasting- was now playing. I laid my sheet on the ground, and lay upon it, wrapping myself around my back like a huge body pillow, and slept: or tried to sleep. I mostly slept anyways, waking up periodically. But THEN THERE WAS LIGHT! AND LO! WE HAD FINALLY ARRIVED IN SUVA!
Suva was a city. The big Smoke. ew. I had no desire to linger. I deplaned (do you deplane off boats?) and walked to the bus station. I was 40 minutes early for the bus to Raki Raki, so i drank some tea, ate a scone (both delicious and both coming to a whopping 1.30-cheap!) and then did some shopping. I planned on staying in Nananu for 3 days. THREE days....just three days....yeah. right.
The bus ride to Ellington Wharf, outside Raki Raki was splendid. The scenery was dramatic, the land rising on either side of the bus into dramatic rock formations, mountains, splashing streams, and villages full of waving children and friendly smiling villagers. It was a 3 hour bus ride on the King's Road and most of the way was unpaved and pretty rough. but it didn't matter. It all added to the charm and adventure that IS fiji! I walked from the Bus stop to the wharf (forgoing a 2$ taxi ride) passing goats tied up to the side of the road chewing grass and saying "baa" at me as I passed.
At the wharf I summoned (via the phone there) a boat ride to Nananu-i-ra island. It was a 15 minute boat ride, which I enjoyed emmencely, feeling the wind in my face clipping across the choppy waters to the beautiful Island of Nananu.
I would soon fall in love with this place. But not for a few days exactly.
[/b]at low tide you can walk between Nananu-i-ra and Dolphan Island, which is what I'm doing here, the day before I left. Guido took the picture! THANKS GUIDZ!
McDonalds Cottages were really nice. Apparently lots of people had left that weekend and the place was mostly empty. My 6 bed dorm only had me and a nice guy named Thor, who was taking Kite-Surfing lessons on the other side of the island during the day. I enjoyed the quite vibe for a few days. I took a kyack out and paddled around a bit, read my book, and watched the sun set every night. I cooked my food and drank lots of water and tea.
Then on the last "planned" day, I was really in the mood for some society. I walked to the other side of the island (a long arduous 10 minutes) and meandered up to Safari Lodge.
Tim, Sake, Rebecca, Me, Guido, Ima, and Roger- I miss you!
THIS PLACE WAS AWSOME. It was full of amazing people from all over: Canadians, Aussies, Kiwis, Americans, Japanese, Argentians, Brits and more! They were all young and spunky. The bar was open all day and music played loudly and everyone gathered around the dinner table each evening and chatted and played games and watched movies. OH SAFARI LODGE! Where have you BEEN my whole life?!?
For a measly 4 dollars more, i was moved in. My dorm was way up at the top of the hill behind the lodge, and it was BEAUTIFUL! It was newly built, only opened a few months ago. The kitchen was lined with windows the entire wall faced the eastern sun and the ocean stetching into the distance. I kept telling myself I'd probably just stay one more day. But I was enjoying myself so much, i stayed, and stayed again, and then stayed until just the day before I flew out.
On my first day in Safari Lodge I splurged on my last fiji adventure and signed up for a day kyacking trip with 5 others. We were bused south and dropped with our kyacks into a river. We paddled the river into the mouth of Viti Levu Bay. The river was beautiful, as we paddled in dappled sunlight underneith a canopy of thick green foliage. Eitherside became a dense mangrove forest full of birdsong and the droning of insects. The brackish water gave way to the slightly wavey bay water, and soon we were paddling hard against the wind, large swells washing over the bows. (they were 2 man kyacks, i was in front). it was thrilling, and not -at-all scary. I just sang songs in my head and got a good rhythem going. Soon me and the old man (my paddling buddy) were far ahead of anyone else! WE ROCK!
[b]me and captain dick in Undine, our aptly named little boat...big boat actually: it weighed like a billion pounds.
Soon we turned the corner of the bay, the hard part behind us. Our guide, a local gal named Bola, led us towards her village. It was a bit scary traversing the coral, and one had to paddle in at just the right angle and time, so avoid hitting the coral wrong. But once we cleared it, it was smooth riding to the white sandy beach. A small bevy of children met us and squeeled with delight, looking with big eyes at our paddles and boats. We then picniced upon sandwhiches, somosas, pasta salad, chips, and oreos. We drank tang, and finished with coffee. It was stuffed!
Despite the protest in my arms, I was eager to keep going and soon we were paddling again, the wind mercyfully behind us. We were making really good time, skirting the coral reefs, seeing manta rays and fish gliding by beneith the water below us. The land was a dramatic mix of greens, terraced gardens, forests, grassy vallys, and scrub dotted peaks. Pecular knobs of rock jutted unexpected upwards from the already vaulted earth and nestled between these outcroppings and the auqa-marine water lay tiny villages full of thatched dwellings. The sun began its slow decent towards the west, and soon we could see Ellington Wharf in the distance. I wondered to myself if my fellow paddlers would be willing to kyack all the way to the island, as we were given the option to get out here. Luckily, everyone wanted to paddle on. So we pushed our burning shoulders and arms the last 6 kms out to Nananu.
We arrived feeling triumphant as well as utterly releived to have made it. We went for a nice swim and then I trekked, arms and shoulders screaming, up to my dorm and had my first hot shower in weeks and weeks. It felt amazing. that 4 extra bucks were worth it. I thought.
The next few days at Nananu were some of my best in Fiji. I will never forget th friends I made. Guido, Roger, Sole, Warren, Rebecca, Devin, and many others. I snorckled, and walked the entire way around the island. Once, I was really thirsty, and happened upon a mango tree, gathered the fallen fruit, and had the most satisfying snack of my life.
Speak of food. How did I do? The meal plan there was pretty pricey, as were the individual meals. So I went to a tiny store on the other side of the island and bought potatoes and pasta. I ate A LOT of potatos and pasta for a few days. Fried potatoes, boiled potatoes, backed Patatos, hashbrowns, etc etc. I had butter, salt, pepper, and olive oil to spruce things up. but it was boring: let me tell you. I also had some peanut butter and crackers, and there were enough papayas on the trees around the place for me to eat fruit each morning. I also drank a lot of tea. So i survived!
We had an awsome grog session Saturday night, our friend Sake coming from a village in the mainland, and bringing Kava with him. We all sat around the traditional Kava bowl and passed around the grog in coconut halves, clapping as we did so. A lovely feeling of numbness starts in your face and begins to spead as one drinks the grog. Later that night I would go out with some of the others for a midnight walk to the pier, where we sat on the boardwalk watching the vivid stars and the expansive milky way spead out above us and twinkling with the light of ages.
Soli clearly ENJOYING the Kava, with her poor bandaged stingray afflicted leg in bandages, and Warren, the charming and handsome Aussie owner of Safari Lodge.
I dreaded leaving. I really did. My last day i was up with the sunrise, its light flooding my dorm room-the sun was just this massive orange ball, its heat already apparent at 5:50 in the morning. I swam in the ocean for the last time. I relished the drones of the insects in the trees. I said goodbye to my new friends. but i'll tell you, i was looking forward emmensly to a delicious meaty curry in Nadi!!
Here's Guido and I having fun while watching my last Fiji Sunset! There are more pics of Guido creating "liquid fire" but its too much to post them all here-but they're all so amazing.
I was given a private (and free) ride back to nadi, since it was already going there to pick up some new arrivals bound for Safari Lodge that afternoon. I mailed back my tent, skyped with my mum and went to my dorm to read.
I opted for a 2 man dorm, 3$ more, but would garuntee a quieter nights sleep in this busy hostel. I finished reading "A Woman of Substance" which was hard since I cried hard during the last 50 pages. This 800 page behemoth of literary greatness brought me to tears again and again, and sometimes I just put the book down and cried hard. It was SOOO good, and I havn't read a book that engulfing in a long time.
So then, as i'm red eyed and still snotty, 3 pages from the end, there is a knock at my door.
Martyn introduces himself: he is dutch, and the receptionist told me i was bound for Auckland in the early morning. He asks if we might share a taxi ride. I agree readily, explain my pityful state to him, and also my need to finish out the last 3 pages, and then a few minutes later, book finished, join him and another solo traveller named Vinet downstairs. We drink hotchocolates and orange fantas and talk about travelling. Vinet is a really cool guy born in China but raised in Australia, whose claim to fame is killing Zena, warrior princess in the finale episode, which is pretty dam cool. He spent the last four months meditating and eating raw food in the Lao Group. As for Martyn, turns out we're on the same plane the next day.
We switch seats so we're next to eachother. And then take the bus together into the city and then stay in the same room. He has plans to meet 2 french boys who are renting a van and heading south to Rotorua and Lake Tompo (or something like that) and doing a long day hike. I think I'm going to join them.
Right now we have yet to meet up with them. We've left a note at their hostel up the road. The hiking down south will probably be outstanding, and I'm hoping to get an 8 hour hike in between 2 volcanos in a landscape that looks somthing like mars.
I might still go north as planned, but things are up in the air until I meet and approve of the French boys. I'll return early to Auckland this weekend (where I might see ROGER from Safari lodge again, if I"m lucky) and then I'll be taking my milaria medication and planning on going to bangkok next Tuesday! WOW
Auckland is beautiful. Its fresh, sunny, and 60 degrees, a glorious early spring day. Downtown is full , i mean, packed full of young people, backpackers, and college students. Everyone here is beautiful, trendy, hip, unique, etc it seems. Everyone's got somewhere to go, or nowhere, because here is awsome. I found a good place up the street (actually Martyn showed it to me, he was here 2 weeks ago) that serves up massive oriental dishes for under 7 bucks. The hostel is 8 stories tall, and brimming with more flavors of people than baskin robbins has icecream. It's 26 bucks a night, and i'm in an 8 man dorm. Under the bunks are huge lockers where one can store their bag and lock it tight while away, which is cool. The internet is pretty decent too.
I'm off to post much of this to the travel blog. Much love to everyone and i miss you all so much.