Last Saturday, the International Student Association organized a trip to Colo-I-Suva Forest Park just outside of Suva. (pronounced tholo-ee-suva) It is a large park filled with trails that walk by pools and waterfalls. The best part was swinging on the rope swing into the lower pool.
Here’s a video of me on rope swing from the lower level:
There were two levels that you could jump off of for the rope swing, so I started with the lower level and moved to the upper level.
Who was more graceful, Manuel or me?
Jumping off the second level was actually quite scary. (and I love heights!!!)
It was a good day trip, lots of fun. You can actually take public transportation there which is awesome. (the public transit is awesome here)
Last weekend was a jam-packed weekend filled with friends, hiking, swimming, and sailing. It was top notch!
Friday, I got to meet up with Sami, a friend from Bureta. That was really nice. We also tried to go see the drag show at the Hibiscus Festival, but the tickets were sold out (boo).
Saturday night was closing night at the Hibiscus festival and I went with two of my friends, Rosi and Sivoki, that I met through my Earth Science class. This is the first time in university where I’ve had lab partners and have had to do labs! The class is not my favourite, but these girls definitely make up for it. We spent the night hanging with some of their family and friends and some of my new buddies. The whole city was jam-packed with people! A few of us went to the club after the festival and even there there were a lot of people everywhere!
On Sunday, I was lucky enough to go out sailing again on the Hobie. The wind was much calmer this time and Epeli, my sail guide, was teaching me how to tack and jibe again. Everything is slowly coming back to me! He was a great teacher and really patient. He is actually only in Form 6! I’m pretty sure that is the equivalent of his second last year of high school. I can’t wait to get on the water again!
I also went hiking at the Colo-I-Suva Forest Park and hiked Mt Korobaba! It was a big weekend. Posts about these will follow.
My credit card got fraudulated (always a word) again and talking to TD on the phone was pretty silly.
“You’re in Fiji?”
“Are you sure you don’t have a street address?”
“Do you have a postal code? zip code? ANYTHING?!!???”
This happens any time I talk to people overseas, heh.
(If you want to send me mail here is my address! USP International Office, University of the South Pacific, Laucala Campus, Suva, Fiji)
School is definitely ramping up. I had my Human Resources case study presentation and report due just an hour ago and it went well. I’ve handed in lots of labs and lab activities for Earth Science. I also did well on my Accounting quiz last week but it was only worth 2.5% (wish it was more!!). Marking is different here than back home. To get an A+ you only need to get ~85%, and an A is 78%. They don’t have minus grades here (like A- or B-).
I have my first midterm tomorrow (for my public policy class), so I should get back to studying!
Last week I experienced two new things. One was going to see a movie in Fiji and the other was donating blood!
Everyone had been telling me that going to the cinema would be very different from back home and to be prepared for noise, people moving around and generally just a good time instead of a typical quiet theatre. It really wasn’t like that at all! The only thing that made it different from what I am used to is that it had an AWESOME candy bar with one foot long gummy snakes, gummy flies, gummy pineapples, sour straws, Coke gummy worms and chocolate covered Crunchie bites. Extra yum. By the way, The Campaign was not that great. The candy made up for it.
They had a blood drive on campus last Thursday and I thought that I would try to donate because I am pretty sure that once I get back to Canada I won’t be able to donate for a while. I feel like the experience was similar to how it would be to give blood about 10 years ago. Their pre-screen is a lot less lengthy, they didn’t have the machine that moves the blood around, and they didn’t put any gauze over where the needle sticks into to you so you don’t see it (oh hey there’s something in my arm). The only part that made me a bit nervous was that they initially turned me away because my blood pressure was too low and told me to come back after eating something. I still don’t think I made the minimum requirements… I felt fine after donating. Instead of just getting cookies and juice, here you get half a sandwich, an apple wedge and a chunk of papaya. SCORE!
I am booked for New Zealand! I leave on December 1st, 2012 to Auckland (about a week after exams end) and come back to Fiji on February 11th (about a week before classes restart). I am unbelievably excited for ten weeks in Kiwi-a-gogo land! Seems like I will be celebrating Christmas, New Years and my 20th birthday there. Hooya!
Air Pacific is having a 50% off sale today (what prompted me to buy my flights) and it’s so tempting. So far I’ve heard that other international students are going to Samoa, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia. I am tempted by Kiribati… that would be amazing!!
Rivers Fiji River Rafting: Picturesque and super fun. Try to go when the water is high. Be prepared for a big hike up a hill after the trip. One of my favourite things I have done so far.
Suva: Ride a bus, go to the market, go to the clubs, eat a chicken pie from the Hot Bread Kitchen, see a movie at the cinema and eat a lot of candy, go to the Hibiscus Festival (August), eat rotis, try a Hobie if you can.
Stay in a village (my experience): If you can work it out. You’ll have fun and probably drink lots of grog.
Levuka: If you are already on Ovalau, you could stop by, but I think I would rather spend more time in Suva.
Coral Coast: Nice beaches and average snorkeling. Weather is variable.
Mango Bay Resort: Has snorkeling right off the beach. You can surf here and they have a lot of activities but nothing amazing. The staff is really friendly and there a lot of young folk around on the nights that FeeJee Experience stays there. Definitely more backpacker/flashpacker geared. I stayed in the 8-person dorm.
The Beachouse: Has snorkeling, but a little farther out (when I went we took a kayak out). They have more activities going on. A young folk place as well. They have a kitchen. I usually recommend Beachouse over Mango Bay to fellow backpackers. I stayed in the 6-person dorm and it was clean.
Nadi Airport: Murky water. Hot weather.
Smugglers Beach Resort: Not much to do. A lot of people stay here before/after flying. I stayed in the 34-person dorm (surprisingly well set up and not too noisy).
Nanuna-I-Ra: A beautiful, small island with lots of snorkeling! More on the dry side of Fiji, but definitely on the border.
Safari Lodge: Small, home-y and Aussie. I really liked it here, they treated you really well. The food is all home-cooked and tasty. Everyone eats their meals together. They also have a kitchen, but no fridge. Make sure you pay the $45 to snorkel in the outer reef. If you have time/feel up to, hike over the island to the North side and snorkel there. You will be by yourself and it’s amaaaaazing. They have windsurfing and kiteboarding here, definitely a place where people are looking for adventure. I stayed in their 4-person dorm (right beside the kitchen so you better be an early riser). I had friends that stayed at another place and they didn’t like it as much.
Recommended Activites (by other people)
Shark Dive by AquaTrek in Pacific Harbour
Snorkel on Mana Island
See the manta rays (one group I ran into recommended Barefoot Lodge over Manta Ray Island)
See the dolphins at Moon Reef
Stay on Leleuvia Island, you’ll probably be the only people there
Snorkel and stay on Beqa Island
Go to Taveuni and go on the natural rock slide
Coral Sun – Most expensive. If you pre-book, you should have a guaranteed seat. Stops at all the resorts along the way.
Sunbeam – Maybe a few dollars more expensive than Pacific, but stops way less.
Pacific – The cheapest. It’s possible that it will break down, but it’s the cheapest. You’ll get there eventually. It stops a lot and for long periods of time.