When I look at this map…I’ve been doing pretty well so far! I am currently planning my trip up to Savusavu to meet Mary Ellen and Paul. I was hoping to stop in Koro (tiny speck NE of where it says Levuka), but it looks like the ferries won’t work.
Other then that, a couple of trips planned for the next while before New Zealand: Mount Victoria in the interior, and spending a few nights in Nadi town with a friend before I fly out. I still have a few must-sees saved though! Sigatoka sand dunes, hiking on the west near Nadi/Lautoka, Taveuni, and getting my dive cert (gotta get that before I go home!).
Joske’s thumb is an inactive volcanic plug that is about twenty minutes by bus outside of Suva. John, Corey and I attacked it last weekend.
We got off the bus and started walking down the road. Eventually we got to a village where we had to ask permission to climb the mountain. We were planning on bringing a sevusevu (kava offering) but the market was, surprisingly, still closed when we left Suva. We left early because we didn’t know how long it would take. He made us pay a fee and then told some kids in the village to bring us up the mountain.
It took us about two hours to get up. It started off with a very muddy and wet trail (my running shoe came completely off at one point and then started getting sucked into the mud), and then we crossed a couple streams, and then eventually it was lots of jungle-y hiking straight up. I struggled a lot with the hike, more than I should have. Not sure why as I had a decent sleep and a big breakfast. I’m sure if I wasn’t there, it would have only taken them an hour or maybe an hour and a half to get to the top.
Unfortunately it was cloudy when we got to the top of the hike, but it was still well worth it. Only a couple of people have ever gotten to the topmost peak of the Thumb… apparently it even took Edmund Hillary two tries to get to the top. We didn’t try going higher. It would involve some scamble-y climbing, but the rock was very loose.
Coming down was very silly, and we all went down at least once. Some parts were really steep going up and we had to downclimb backwards. When we reached the bottom we rinsed off in the streams and emptied our shoes of all the mud. Soaking wet, but happy, we got back on the bus and headed back to Suva.
This past weekend was very busy! Friday was pretty laid back, just went out to dinner with a couple of friends. Saturday morning, John and Corey and I hiked up Joske’s Thumb, which is a nearby inactive volcanic plug. I still need to get pictures from John about that, so I will blog about that later! Saturday evening I went to Fiji Fashion Week, and Sunday I had an awesome day sailing and ate out at Ashiyana (pretty much the BEST Indian restaurant of allllll times, soo tastyy mmm).
Fiji Fashion Week was pretty fun! It was almost like watching Project Runway, but without Michael Kors. It pushed me to keep making my own clothes and jewellery again… not really doing that in Fiji. They gave away free tickets to USP students to sit in the nosebleed section.. I tried to go with my friend Moni from my accounting tutorial but she wasn’t able to get a ticket unfortunately. 😦 So after much convincing, I decided to go by myself.
There were two collections that I really liked.. the first one had a lot of nice clothes and there was a beachwear collection in the middle that had really nice clothes.
Sunday was a good day of sailing. Grahame (the Fleet president) was back from his trip and he gave us a lesson. Lately I have been crewing with Deb (one of the ladies in charge) and we are… definitely learning. To put it nicely, hehe. Grahame would drive around in the motor boat and ‘teach’ us. And by teaching us, it usually involved him screaming at the top of his lungs “What the hell are you doing???” “Is that how you handle a jib sheet???” “You have no plan!!!” “Where are you going????”. (some of these statements are censored) I feel like I am learning more and more, and I do like that he is so straightforward. I am hoping that I will be able to do some more skipper-ing of the hobies, but it’s pretty expensive to do that.
Last week I was a little all over the place, but this week I have been more focused. I have eight days of school left, and two papers due before then. I just finished my major Accounting assignment (which turned out to be 9 pages!!!). I am still figuring out my study break plans but I do know that I will have to study!! All my finals are worth at least 50% of my grade. I will be meeting Mary Ellen and Paul in Savusavu, and I haven’t decided if I will go earlier and go up to Taveuni before meeting them. I’m taking the ferry there most likely, and I booked a cheap flight back from Savusavu on the Sunday before exams start (I can’t wait!! Hoping for a clear day). That night will also be Helenka’s last night in Fiji, so I will be meeting up with her then! Then, Mary Ellen and Paul will be back in Suva the weekend in the middle of the two weeks of exams. I am reallyyyy looking forward to seeing them both!
(Despite being a little more focused, I JUST realized why there was no one in my tutorial this morning… I showed up an hour early!! Haha)
Fiji won the Gold Coast Sevens rugby tournament last weekend. I knew the tournament was going on the whole weekend… I saw lots of people watching the game but it was pretty uneventful. Until the final!! I was sitting in my room chatting with Megan and all of a sudden I hear my whole block screaming in sync. There were tons of people in every common room yelling at the TV, it reminded me of the NHL playoffs in dorms. Canada didn’t do very well (not surprised).
I had been thinking this week that I have way more free time here than I usually do. I knew my classes were easier but I didn’t think by THAT much. I realized it is because I am not climbing anymore! For the past while I had been climbing about three times a week, and I am now cold turkey. I need a new hobby until I get to New Zealand.
Today I talked to my dad and Kate for just about two hours in total! They got Skype working and I got to chat with them. It was really nice talking to them.
On Saturday night, Rosi invited me to a dinner that her mom was going to. She was in town for the Republic of Fiji Military Wives Annual Tournament and the dinner was their awards diner on the final night. The tournament is a volleyball and netball competition.
Everyone was dressed up and I wore a chamba. I borrowed it from a friend who received it as a gift during the first week she was here. It was a bit big, but luckily the skirt didn’t fall off. There were about 500 people there and everyone was very dressed up. All the teams had matching chambas. The prime minister and prime minister’s wife were both there! (Fiji has a prime minister and a president. The prime minister is the head of government and the president is the head of state – more of a signing figure.)
The food was good, we had dalo, curry, chop suey, stew, rice, fish, chicken, and probably more things that I am forgetting. You could tell it was a special meal because there was a lot of meat.. multiple kinds of beef, pork, chicken and fish! I couldn’t finish it all (not even close). The whole event was quite silly. At one point the band started playing a dance-y song, and a whole bunch of ladies rushed up and grabbed the prime minister and prime minister’s wife and dragged them on the dance floor. Everyone screamed in response. And while they were giving away the awards, people would run up and accept other people’s awards and then run over to who actually won the award and ‘present’ it to them, haha.
The International Students’ Association uber subsidized a trip to the KilaWorld adventure park on Wednesday. They had a high ropes course, a giant swing, a big pole that you climb up and jump off of and a zip line. Summer camp!!!
I found the transition of switching from climbing the pole to standing on the pole pretty scary.
That’s the only part that I really find scary because I LOVE FALLING. (Dad, Kat and I still think you didn’t dangle enough shiny things in front of our faces when we were babies and that’s why we like hurling ourselves places.) KilaWorld did make the climber in me a bit uncomfortable… lots of cross-loaded biners (cringe), non-climber friendly knots (they would get so tight if someone fell on them), different belay standards and some of the equipment making crazy noises from the vibrations of the rope. We all survived. Even when the worker told me to go on the zipline and then I jumped off and stopped a few metres later because the workers forgot to take the safety rope off of me, haha.
Speaking of falling, I really want to go sky diving when I am in New Zealand. And speaking of New Zealand, I got my working holiday visa! It is for a year. Depending how things go in New Zealand and if my flight can be flexible, maybe I will go back after my semester ends next year and my semester at SFU starts. I think I am going to really like NZ.
Today (October 10th) is Fiji Day! It is a beautiful, sunny day and it is HOT.
Today a big group of the international students went to KilaWorld (a high ropes/zip line adventure park). It was good fun. Later I’m planning on heading into the city to hang out, but right now I need to take a break for a bit and give my sunburn a rest (ow, whyyy).
I didn’t do anything for Thanksgiving this past weekend. The two other Canadian girls from SFU and I were thinking of making some sort of dinner, but the plans kind of got sideshifted when we realized that we had no oven, we don’t know where to get turkey and one of the girls is vegetarian. Ermmm..mashed potatoes anyone? It was nice seeing everyone’s Thanksgiving pictures on Facebook, but I’m not even bummed that I missed out. It really doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving… the weather is getting hotter not colder and the leaves are still on the trees. I can’t believe it’s October!!! It feels like forever July.
I’ve just been up to usual Suva-life lately… watching movies and cooking with friends from my classes, cooking new things (this past week-ish was mahi mahi and fresh tuna!), hitting the market on Saturday mornings, doing classwork, swimming at the school pool, and going to the clubs on the weekend. I’ve seen a lot of movies lately (in and out of the theatre). At the theatre I’ve seen Hotel Transylvania, Taken 2 and Pitch Perfect. Hotel Transylvania was cute. On Saturday I went to the fish market and it was cool/traumatizing. Some of the fish were so incredibly large which makes me never want to go into the ocean ever again (their teeth!!!!). Yecch.