Friday, November 30, 2007


Rotorua is on fault lines and so there are many mineral pools in the area. I decided to stop here before going to Auckland in spite of the sulfur smell that envelopes the city. I like it, though. I arrived, arranged accomodations at a backpackers that is new and extremely clean. The guy said that he would try to keep it just me in the dorm room--which is amazing and nice. THe internet connection is fast and I am centrally located. I am either hiking tomorrow or checking out the city.
I had a blast with TJ and his crew from Craggy Range. He is quite the host, although, he did sneak out early in the night. Thinking back, I should have left shortly after him instead of continuing to drink red wine. Craggy Range is a beautiful, asthetically plesant winery. I got the VIP treatment and felt welcomed be everyone that I met there. We went to Diva for drinks and appetizers and then I was walked back to my backpackers, by Sam, one of the wine makers. The backpackers, itself, was not clean, but it was the only one in Havelock North and the manager let me borrow his bike with a styrofoam helmet since it is mandatory to wear helmets in New Zealand and he drove me out to Craggy Range. All in all, he probably saved me $50 which is huge in the traveling world. So, even though it was a dirty little establishment, I overlooked it since the man was nice and the showers were awesome. The bike had definitely seen better days, but it got me to where I needed to be.
I tried to watch some of the Cowboys/Packers game, but there were only 3 possibly establishments that I could view it from. The first one, had the most options, but the bartender wouldn't put it on if I was the only one watching it. I told her that she had been incredibly helpful and took off. THe next tv was taken by golf and the 3 rd place, couldn't get it, but was determined to give me updates via the internet. I decided to have a glass of wine since he went to so much trouble for me.
I hope that all is well and since I love the internet here, I might be more user friendly...I will end this with, one of my companions on the bus today was driving me crazy. I was reading and listening to my ipod--yes, it works again and I love it--and trying to not listen to this chick on her phone, spitting into it, singing and just being annoying in general. I look over, finally, and realize that she looks like the barracuda from Denver. I thought it was her and almost had fell out of my seat. Then, everything made sense--why I was so annoyed by her and why she was unable to just sit still.
Until later...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Take 2

I rented a bike and set off this morning, optimistic in my quest. I had called Tj, from Craggy Range, only to find out that he was in Australia. I set off for a different area of Hastings and met some interesting people and drank some fantastic red wine. Some of the best--Quintology from Matariki, the Doctor from Hatton, The Boundary from Te Awa and Zone 6, also from Te awa. I sampled beer and met the brewer at Roosters. I suppose that it is handy to say that I work in a brewery and that yes, I enjoy beer, too.
I decided to relocate to Havelock North since the ride isn't as long and I am hoping to find cleaner accomodations. The people here, are pleasant, but I have definitely had better accomodations. Plus, I prefer staying near the town center so that I am able to do whatever I want.
My ipod is corrupted, again, and so I am hoping to find an ipod store, or ship it back to the states. I am blue. I miss being able to listen to my ipod, but it is so fragile and i suppose that I am reliant on it, when I shouldn't be. I could be meeting more people, right? I am preparing a box of goods to be sent back to Denver. Any takers?
I have a few more days in New Zealand and am off to Rotorua on Saturday. It has hot springs and volcanic activity. I am excited to sit in a thermal pool. I will have one day in Auckland before I depart for the down under. Wish me luck!!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I made it and now I am waiting to head to Craggy Range tomorrow. I have to rent a bike, ride it far and battle the wind. Sounds like fun, but it is necessary since I don't have a vehicle in New Zealand. I am looking forward to it though.
I am staying at a hostel which i wouldn't recommend to other people. Hastings is small. I found the only winery in town and had lunch there. All of the other wineries require effort on my part and so I waiting until tomorrow to handle it.
Last night was a bit rough for me. I spent a night in WEllington with 3 other people. In the scheme of things...not that many except that two of them, showed up late, blasted the lights, talked for 30 minutes and woke me up. It reminded me of sharing a room with Michaela when we were younger and I would fall asleep, innocently, and she would wake me up and then go to sleep. I used to hate being so gullible, but she did it frequently. Anyways, to make matters worse, one of the girls hacked all night. One them moaned all night and the other 0ne snored all night. I felt like I had an orchestra going that I wasn't paying for and didn't want. In the end, I woke up early and was a bit louder than usual. My busses tend to leave at 8 or before which makes for an early morning....

Monday, November 26, 2007

Wellington take two

The computer situation in Nelson was dire and so I have been alone the last few days. Nelson was a little too touristy for me, or two many Americans in my case. I stayed at a clean hostel, but they charged me to print off my itinerary for the ferry. I wasn't too pleased about that since they wouldn't call and take care of it for me. Most of the hostels do the arrangements for traveling which I love. Plus, there were 4 germans in my room, two were dating and so they couldn't figure out that our room wasn't the most user friendly place for them to make out. I wanted to sleep/read since I woke up at 5 to depart for the north island. They were insistent on making out and talking german all freaking night.
WEllington is a great city. I arrived, made arrangements to head north and went to eat chocolate cake at Olives. They didn't have chocolate, but I ran into Amber, the girl I met in Christchurch which was pleasant. We exchanged e-mails and wished each other luck on our travels. She is relocating to Chicago to pursue a degree in massage and yoga. I always meet either chefs or healers. She reminds me of my friend, Melody, from Santa Fe.
I am bummed that KU lost, but it was bound to happen. How is the basketball faring? I know that they played my other favorite team this weekend and so I am curious to see how they fared.
I should be in Hawkes Bay tomorrow and haven't decided how long I will stay there. Of course, I am tempted by the wine and food factor.
TOday, I went to the museum in Wellington and it was fantastic and FREE. I loved that aspect of it.
I hope that you are all well. I don't have any bad bus stories today. My ferry ride was nice and I have been reading for sport. It is actually really nice not to be reliant on the phone or even a tv. I suppose that I will use my phone card at some point to check in.
I am glad that everyone has had a nice holiday weekend.

Friday, November 23, 2007


I made it here safely and decided to check out the city. It is really easy to get around. I am staying at a hostel near Cathedral Square. I love the location, but it never stops. I think I was up til about 3 am due to the noise factor and then people were out and about at 6 am. I think I might enjoy a siesta later.
My share mate, Amber, is from Michigan. We had a lovely conversation last night since we both were hoping to retire early. Instead, my sleep wasn't great, but I did enjoy talking with her. She recommended going for a run near the botannical gardens this morning. I went and looked at the map before I left and felt confident that I could get around. I finished in Hagley Park and had no idea where I was or even how I had gotten there. I seem to get lost easily in New Zealand. Eventually, I figured out my whereabouts and now I am off to enjoy the day. Christchurch is nice and has ample parks/gardens. I think that I will relax here and then head north tomorrow to Nelson.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The bus to Christchurch or searching for the new Ally Sheedy...

I took a bus from Napier to Wellington, last week, and was surprised by some of the passengers. This one girl made herself a sandwich and it was white bread with brown sugar. I thought to myself, how bizarre, and then I immediately remembered Ally Sheedy in the Breakfast Club. You know, the character that made a drawing from her dandruff, not to mention some of the food she ate. So, today as I am riding along, I look ahead of me and this guy is scratching his head, profusely, taking his hands away and then smelling his fingers. He grossed me out until I met the winner. This girl was eating her hand half of the time and the other half, playing with her hair. She wasn't wearing shoes most of the bus trip and her jacket reeked of sour clothes. I was fortunate to not be sitting with her, but she was near me the entire trip. I don't know...maybe traveling for extended amounts of time can do this to a person.
I thought it was funny and it did make me think of the Breakfast Club. Christchurch is New Zealand's second largest city. They refer to it as the "garden city" and i am off to explore. Again, happy thanksgiving and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


It is today for me and so I wanted to express how thankful I am in to be traveling and have the love and support of all of my friends and family. It has been a brilliant journey so far and I look forward to what the future holds.
I am trying to savor the present and I wish you the same. I keep saying that when i get back, I went Mexican food and Elways, which is true, but I will also want Thanksgiving dinner. I miss green been casserole, stuffing (Bryn's dads), mashers and gravy (my dad's) and I figure that I always get intoxicated on wine which I supply.
Today, I was good. I went to 9 wineries, but I mostly only tried red wine. Keep in mind, I am in a white district and so I sampled a little red wine along the way. And, I was biking which kept me in check and it was windy which made me exhausted and sweaty. I know that I look like a treat right now. Normally, I dress up but today I will only think back to Thanksgivings of past. When I was a child, my parents, sometimes, made us all wear the same dress. Real cute, you know. I hated wearing dresses and I wasn't too fond of church either. Of course, I suffered through it, dress and all. My cousins never wore the same outfit, I might add.
I rushed to Isabelle Winery since they closed at 4 and we called them at 4:15. I made it there in time to meet 4 other Americans from Denver. The younger guys actually had heard of the Bull and Bush and they live near it. I told them to come in and tell them they met me in New Zealand. So if this happens, it is true. I spoke, at length, to Andy. He invited me to Thanksgiving dinner, but I think I will lavish in hot tub.
Nevertheles....have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Drink lots of wine and enjoy each other. Jade, I have Michaela some wines to check out. See that she sticks to it. Also, I did try some reislings in your honor yesterday. I am still not sold; however, I did find a pinot gris that you would like today at Gibson Ranch. It is a new winery and quite fantastic!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

bike tour...

My bed and breakfast is awesome...i feel like a real tourist here. No backpacking or staying in a dorm...I feel like a real tourist. They have a hot tub and bikes that I have used. I went to 7 wineries today and it was great, a touch windy, but fun. I met several other travelers and I must say that I was enjoying myself the most. I found a place to eat for Thanksgiving and I purchased a bottle of wine to use for the hot tub. I am stoked. I hope that you enjoy my updated photos and it was a huge pain to do it and so it probably won't be too often that it is updated.
Tomorrow, or as I like to call it--Thanksgiving--I will get back on the bike, tour wineries and sit in the hot tub. Friday I leave for Christchuch unless I can convince this nice couple to adopt me so that I can stay here.

November 21st....

I wanted to wish Steve Black a happy birthday. I owe you a meal when I return since you and Pocketsize spent a month celebrating my birthday. Thinking of you today and wishing you a fantastic birthday!!!

the bike wine trails.....

Today, I am going to the luxorious bed and breakfast and then I am hiring a bike to go and tour the vineyards. This could prove a bit dangerous for the drivers since my sense of direction has been poor. I am excited to check out a few more wineries and get really acquainted with the area. Afterwards, I will be in Christchurch for a few days and then head back up north to Nelson, which is a hippie town. I can't wait. I think I will check out a few of the breweries and then make my way back up to Hawkes Bay and thoroughly scout out the red wines. I need red, not white. Really, it isn't that bad, but I prefer red.
I am searching for a thanksgiving meal and I hope I find one. The b & b has hot tub, which might be the substitute for my supper. I love spas and I feel heavenly at this point. Have a great day. It is sunny here and beautiful. Enjoy the wine and thanksgiving if I am unable to get to a computer tonight.

Monday, November 19, 2007

does anyone remember Fifi's???

I suppose that one of my sisters, Jeremy, Hailey or Cory or Jean from Seattle would remember Fifi's in fond terms. My feelings are mixed, but I went to a place like it this evening for dinner.
I spent a nice day on the wine tour. Of couse, being picked up an hour late isn't nice, but I dealt with it. Apparently, they had the wrong place written down. Neverthesless...I went to Whitehaven to meet the others and realized that it was a microbrewery. Of course, I tried some of the beers, met the brewer and went about my own way. I did wait an hour and so I felt completely at ease when they came to find me. The brewery had a nice bourbon stout and a porter. I wasn't too fond of the american pale was flat. Gabe would never have put out a product like that.
We went to 5 different wineries and a chocolate shop. My favorite was an organic winery and they had a nice pinot noir. I am in an area where white wines rule and so I had my fair share of reislings and sauv blancs. Jade--I found a few wines that you would have enjoyed.
I returned to my personal hell--I mean, hostel--and decided to go to dinner. THere was one place, highly recommended, by the tour guides, publications, etc. and so I walked there. I had been by it a few times and so I decided to check it out. Right away, the concierge asked me what I was looking for and told me that I should look at the menu and find something suitable before she sat me. I found a few things, looked at the wine list and opted to sit at the bar. She poured me wine, which was bad (oxidized) and I ordered my meal. She offered to move me to a table and I agreed once the food arrived. I would have needed a high chair. After that, I was left completely alone. I felt like a homeless person. I was wearing my typical attire and then I looked around the place...the average person was 55+ and thought--why am i being hassled when I am the youngest person in here? The food was okay, early 90's at best. I was annoyed, but paid for meal and left. Bacchus in Blenheim is awful. Don't go there if you visit New Zealand. Really, don't. It thoroughly reminded me of working at Fifi's when I was in college. The owner didn't trust anyone and in its day, it was a grand establishment. WHen I worked there, it was on its way Bacchus....

the upcoming wine tour

I made it through the night, barely. There are two guys that are sick and they were hacking all night and I felt bad for them and wanted to say, please go blow your nose or do something. Anyways, I now have clean clothes and a day planned. I am going on a wine tour this afternoon and they also go to an olive oil farm. I am excited about that too. Yesterday, my cheese tray was awesome and i know how well olive oil would accentuate the taste of the food here. I think I am going to stay at either a winery or a nice bed and breakfast for a few days. I know that I should be doing this on the cheap, but really, when is the next time that I am going to be in New Zealand? And, I want to stay in a nice place on Thanksgiving. It will sorta remind me of home. The last few years, I have either went to Bryn's parents house for Thanksgiving or Tiffany's house. They are both fun and different. At Bryn's, it is all family and reminiscient of thanksgivings with my family. Of course, with my sisters, we always complain about who is cleaning up after the feast. At Tiffany's it is a mix of friends and co-workers. I never quite made it for dinner, but drinks afterwards were always fun. This year, I am hoping to meet people and have a fantastic meal.
I'll let you know how the wineries are.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Blenheim, New Zealand

I crossed into the south island, the better one, according to many people. I jumped on a bus to Blenheim since this is the beginning of the wine country in Marlborough. They are known for their sauvignon blancs, reislings and pinot gris. I opted to stay at a hostel that was near the train station. Everything is typically convenient here. You arrive via train, bus or ferry and there is lodging information available and nearby. I knew that eventually I would stay in a shit hole and today is the day. I was tired of carrying my back pack and so I decided to stay here for a few nights. Plus, I was hungry, a little delirious and my judgment was off. I am staying in a mixed room with showers attached. I went to the book exchange and was further disheartened. Books here cost as much as a bottle of wine in a restaurant and so I have been surviving off of book exchange at hostels. I am almost out of options!
I went into Blenheim and found a cute cafe. I had a few glasses of sauvignon blanc and a cheese/fruit tray for lunch. It was awesome. I had to return to the hostel to sort out my tour tomorrow and when I returned two girls were singing Justin Timberlake's Sexy Back. They are tone death and extremely loud. Plus, two of my roommates haven't left. They are fixed in the room. I decided to e-mail and figure out my next stop. I might stop into Christchurch or head to Queensland. A lot of the hiking is in the air due to the weather situation. It is warmer here though.
EIther way, I will go on a wine tour tomorrow with olive oil as well. I thought about doing a bike tour since I figured it would be safe and healthy.
I can handle this for two nights...I am hoping. I might stay at a bed and breakfast next. I could use a little pampering and comfort!
Take care. I will let you know how the wine is and if I survived the night.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

My blonde moment...

YEsterday, I had a few glasses of wine and felt pretty confident about the city of Wellington. I had found Cuba Street which I wanted to do. After my chips and salsa, I decided to head back to the hostel. I leave the restaurant and decide that if I turn off of Cuba, I should end up on the street which leads back to the hostel. I have no idea where I ended up. I walked around aimlessly, and ended up at the second location of the bus drop-off. I remembered the name of the hotel of the second stop and so I meandered until I found familiar sights. Eventually, I saw the signs for the railway station and knew that I was heading in the right direction.
Today I paid more attention to the city. I hiked up to Mount Victoria and enjoyed the beautiful veiw from there. I didn't make it to the museum. Instead, I found a cafe and enjoyed a decadent piece of chocolate cake. It was fantastic. I decided to take a day off since my ferry leaves at 8:25 am. It is pretty early for me.
I am heading to the south island tomorrow. I am hoping to enjoy my first glass of Sauvignon blanc by noon in the Marlborough region. Until then, no more blonde moments--i hope.


YEsterday I arrived in Wellington which is the departure city heading south. I opted to stay for a few days, orient myself with this city and so far it has been nice. It has many cafes and little restaurants. I decided to jump off the wagon and enjoy some wine yesterday. I met foreignors at the cafes that I went to which kinda defeated the purpose. I wanted to meet legitimate kiwis, but perhaps today. I had chips and salsa for $8--yes, I was that desperate for mexican food. The place was called the Flying Burrito Brothers and it reminded me of Mezcal in Denver. It was almost identical in the decor and the tequila fixation. It was fun and I met an American bartender and an English guy. I know that in the States we are fortunate to live on typically evens out. And, in New Zealand it isn't customary to tip. WEll, I have discovered why people don't tip. The bartenders aren't attentive, fast or efficient. It was embaressing to think that they are a reflection of what I do and I have to tip them since they know what I do. Frustrating and yet petty--I guess.
I am hoping to go to Mt. Victoria, check out the museum and perhaps the botanic gardens. My ferry to the south island leaves early tomorrow morning and so I should be a good kid, even if I don't want to be.
I hope that everyone is well, enjoying life and eating Mexican food. I have already warned Jan and Tom that when I return to Phoenix to get my car, we are eating mexican for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a few days.
I think that KU is playing ISU today. Good vibes to the Jayhawks!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


I got a massage today since i am actively trying to release toxins so that I can drink some of the wine here. I leave for the south island tomorrow since I will be returning to meet up with TJ in the near future.
The massage was okay, but I definitely could use one from Izba. The lady didn't really know what to do about my shoulders and so she kinda brushed over it and kept going. I decided that since I wasn't drinking I would be decadent in another way.
Have a wonderful night and hope to catch up later. I am being a good girl, reading, writing and taking care of myself!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wine Country

Wine country and I am loving it here. I haven't imbibed since I got here, but tomorrow, look out. I am in beautiful countryside and ample wineries. I opted to head south, check out wine country and then go to Christchurch. I will update later..

Leaving Auckland...-

I decided to head out of auckland and see more of new zealand. When I arrive at my next destination, I will update you on my whereabouts/accomodations/food/etc. Although, I did have this fantastic ham and cheese breakfast croissant. Of course, I had coffee which was much improved here. They are already decorating for Christmas which seems strange. They have this massive Santa on one of the buildings near the hostel. It is scary!
Have a wonderful day. Oh, and I got rid of a book and so I have a little more space in my pack....i am working on it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Auckland Tour on the Kiwi Tour...

The Kiwi tour is similar to the Feejee Experience. Both are geared to have you see a sight, experience it with other people and roam around at will. The day in Auckland was free and so I decided to check it out. First, they took us to the AUckland Bridge where we could bungy jump for $90 (discounted rate). I was wearing my sandals and it was rainy and windy and since I didn't have close toed shoes, I couldn't go. WEll, they gave me an option. I could use their shoes which were too small for my giant feet and they didn't have socks. It was gross and I opted to read my novel in the warmth of the building. I know I could have sucked it up, but those shoes were unsuitable.
It started to rain and so we went to have lunch in Devonport, a suburb of Auckland. It has numerous coffee shops, used book stores and New Zealand products. We were trying to avoid the rain and so we had an early lunch. After lunch we went to a small trek where the New Zealanders had armed themselves for attacks from the Russians in WWII. Of course, we didn't outrun the rain and so we hurried to the bus. Did I mention that I was 1 of 2 Americans. The bus make up as follows--4 Singapore, 3 Brazilians, 2 Canadians, 2 Israelis, 1 German and 3 English. We return to the bus and the driver, Dave, takes off. I realize that we don't have the 4 people from Singapore and he is like--What? When did you last see them? One of the Brits said--well, when you were taking their picture. Dave seemed confused, got off the bus and went to look for them. It was like a surface version of Open Water. I would have been livid had I been left.
I am now back at the hostel and trying to decide how to spend tomorrow. Wish me luck!!!


So, I decide to stay at Queen Street Backpackers. Disheveled (backpack, small baby pack, rain jacket) I approach the reception and try to make sense of what I need. The guy, Ben, helps me out and I ask him to point me in the direction of a beer. He takes my Auckland guide and says I think there is a coupon in here for a free beer. He finds it, cuts it out and tells me that when i am ready, he will serve me my beverage. I go into my dorm room and there are people already sleeping in the room. I get my beer and have every intention of going to the bank and checking out the area. Ben stops back by and tells me to slow down and that he would join me. Let's just say, I didn't make it to the bank. Instead, I had a really enjoyable day with Ben and Carl--a guy from the UK. Again, there are many British people on holiday. Carl is a cop, doesn't seem like it at all though. He was too laid back for it. He is traveling the world and will be in South America, like me.
So, we have a few beers and decide we need food. I go to dinner with them and have some wine--much better in New Zealand--and then we check out this bar called 5 below. You go in, they give you boots and a mid length coat and gloves. I looked like a little Russian lady if you can imagine. Next you go into the bar which is filled with ice sculptures and freezing. It was great and since Ben used to work there, we were comped. Normally, it costs $30 to get in and have 1 drink. It was all vodka drinks and smirnoff at that. I looked beyond that and had a grand time.
Today, I am going to go on a tour of Auckland and hopefully detoxing a little. New Zealand is cold and I wasn't expecting that. Really cold and the change in temperature is affecting me.
My first day in the Land of the Kiwis was great. Although, when I arrived it was like going to any other city. I felt at home here and very comfortable. Until later....


So, I leave Nadi, Fiji, at 8:45 am which means that I arrive at 6:30 am to deal with the airport and all. I think that i have to pay a departure fee and so I have kept $50 to take care of it. Only when I arrive at the airport, i get through to the main terminal and nobody hassles me about the tax. I still think about it up until 15 minutes before boarding. Then, I realize that I won't be paying for it and purchase some cocount oil/lotion for me. I will be sending a nice care package to Denver soon since I am sick of my back pack. I need to e-mail my friend that i have in mind, since I can't unload anything else on my aunt!
I arrive in New Zealand, breeze through customs, exchange $ and then determine that I should take a bus into the city since it is a $60 cab ride. I have no idea where I will be staying or even what the layout of Auckland is. I randomly get out near Queen Street and approach a hostel...I wil continue tomorrow...

Sunday, November 11, 2007


This goes out to Margo Smart since I know that she has my blog address...she was one of the first people that I gave it to when I was uncertain of how people would respond. I think the photos definitely make a difference...anyways, Margo used to work with me at the Bull and Bush and she know is a furniture manager in Salt Lake City. We became friends through work, and she had met Brian briefly before. When he passed away, Margo let me be me with her since her mom had passed away and a few of friends, too. She understood my place and was a person that I could confide in as time went on. Her mom used to love the song, Xanadu, which she told me one day after I had played it before we opened at work. Now, when I hear it, I think of Margo and her mom. I heard it when I was on the scuba diving trip and i have been meaning to mention it. Like I said before, I have so much to say/think/reflect and then I get in front of the computer and forget what I wanted to talk about it.
Remember that I am a full day ahead of you and so that yes, November 12th, is Hailey Rochelle's birthday. Technically, it is the 12th in Fiji.
I ran into one of the Brits that i met on the islands. Sophie is a funny girl since everytime I see her she is complaining about bug bites or mooching off of people. She told me that when she arrived at Bounty Island, her backpack broke and they (the handlers) dropped it into the ocean. Apparently, they offered her a sarong and a promo t-shirt as a way of apology...This is something that could only happen to her. I laughed since it was funny but it is sad that she goes through life this way.
I sent off my postcards and I am hoping that reach you shortly. I sent one to Hannah and Kellen and one to Flat Kellen's class. Please let me know when they reach you. Of course, I sent one to Mackenzie, too. No worries, Jade, first and foremost, I want Mackenzie to have a desire to see the world.
Next time we chat, I should be in the land of the Kiwis...let's see how that experience goes. LOVE YOU ALL AND i HAVE LOVED fIJI!!!


I just wanted to wish my friend, Hailey, a happy birthday. I have known Hailey since we were 10 and we both went to KU and I was there when she met her fantastic husband, Cory. Actually, I got Cory a job while we were in college. I have spent some time with them in Dallas and we met up at our reunion. Honestly, I believe that both Brian and Cory were bored out of their minds, but at least they had each other to talk to. Most of the rest of my class kept to themselves while Hailey and I were quite social.
I am back to my own hotel room and i love it. I like the social aspect of the dorms, but having privacy is beautiful. Plus, I can go into town and send off my postcards. I wrote out many last night after I dined with a fellow American. His name is Lewis and he resigned from medical school. He didn't have much time left, but it was either resign or be ousted from the program. He is asian and so their is pressure for him to achieve in life. He asked me how I knew when someone was interested in me. I thought it was interesting, but his life is so different from mine. Initially, i thought he would be a pompous jerk, but he sells acuras in silicone valley and although his parents aren't thrilled, he is enjoying his life. I kept pointing out that money isn't everything nor is the position in life due to your profession. I thought it was sad that he had never experienced love or even attraction. He is 30 and very lost in what his priorities are and what they should be. Good luck to him!
I will checking this more since this connection is superior to others. Jade, congrats on cleaning the kids rooms. I remember how much shit you used to have too. It isn't all Tab. Where is KU ranked now? I love that they are 10-0! Go JAYHAWKS....

Saturday, November 10, 2007

summary of Fiji...

The best $5 spent was having my laundry done for me and clean/dry. That was amazing. The best $10 was the sarong...the Fijiians know what they are talking about. The sarongs are so useful and quite sexy, at times, and yes the men wear them, too.
Today I walked into the city since I figured that I should experience life like a Fijiian, not just a tourist. Plus, James went to New Zealand today and so I am alone for the next few days. Anyways, as I was walking, several taxis stopped as they assume that most tourists wish to have a ride. And, I noticed that not many taxis had natives in them. I had a nice sandwich and chocolate cake and then decided to walk back to the hotel. It is probably 3-4 miles from the town of Nadi. As I am walking, I see people with goods on the road trying to sell them. I see a man with lobsters and crabs and so I take a picture of them since they were neat. His buddy insists that I have a beer with them and who am I to say no to that. It was nice and interesting to feel apart from the other tourists. I doubt that I would have been stopped with a group of people. Then they offered to take me into Lautoka to have dinner with them. I declined and walked on. It has a been a wonderful experience and I believe that I will return to dive and stay in a fat hotel. I have enjoyed the dorms, but it is nice to be like a student too.
Until tomorrow...thank you for your thoughts and thank you for joining us, Michaela!

return to Nadi...

Nadi, and I am so happy to be shower (check), good food (check), airconditiong...I love it here.
I enjoyed the Yasawas immensely, but I enjoy a certain lifestyle too. I love a hot shower and today at the islands didn't take one since it was nonexistent. This morning they gave us cereal, which I sorta enjoyed, and bread with peanut butter. They definitely scored points on that one. Really, I could live on peanut butter, avocados, garlic and chips. I would be utterly happy! Anyways, I was patiently awaiting the ferry and enjoying the hammock. I thought about my life in general, the US and other countries. I met this girl, Lucy, last night who is from Nadi. We started talking and she asked me about my life in the States and if I still lived with my parents since I wasn't married. Of course, I was like--no, don't live with the folks and she said that they couldn't do that here unless they were widowed. I can't imagine living with my parents right now...I know that I would drive them crazy. I come home late, loud, and sometimes I am hungry which both of my sisters can attest too. Although, Michaela only stocks health food which isn't desirable to a wine induced state. Anyways, what i am trying to say is that I take things for granted as we all do. We have so many options in the states--food, dress, living, marriage or not--and we don't really appreciate it. We expect it since we don't know any other way. We went to a village last week where you could get married based on if the lemon lands in front of you or not. Can you imagine what life would be like? I can't.
Fiji is a beautiful country with immensely pleasant people. Everyone smiles and is friendly. It is contagious. I have also learned that many Europeans take holiday here. In Wayaleilei, I met 5 other Americans in one sitting, and was like--where did they all come from? In Fiji, there are many foreignors, but few Americans. I guess the 10 1/2 hours is too difficult to is serene, green and awesome. Truly, I think all of you should check it out!
Take care...enjoy Friday night and I will check this later. It has been an amazing day and a nice reflection. I have read tons of books, too.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

the essentials in Fiji

I have learned two things in Fiji that I cannot live without--sunblock and bug spray. It is insane here the amount of bites that I have acquired even with sunblock. I am so over it and so annoyed. There is a Brit that keeps complaining about her bites and I want to say--have you looked at anyone else lately? We are all in the same boat.
I went swimming today and it was amazing...warm water and clear. You don' t need a mask to snorkel since you can see everything from the surface. I also went on a hike and again almost fell down the mountain. Their idea of a trek differs from mine. Keep in mind that it has rained a lot and that the trails are slick and dangerous to my highly sensitive big sandals. I love my sandals and hate the thought of wrecking them in Fiji. I was hoping to get at least another 1 1/2 out of them!
More later...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I don't want to leave this island since it is incredible. I have spent most of my day in a hammock, reading, getting sunburnt--yes, I put sunblock on, but the sun is intense here. The water is pristine and it is ideal here. I love the Yasawas.
The internet sucks, but I am finding that it is either hit or miss as I travel. I will be here until Saturday afternoon at which point i will return to Nadi. I leave for New Zealand on Tuesday morning.
I am on the islands, with James, the Irishman. He is traveling to New Zealand, too, to meet his lady, Yumiko. He had a few days to kill and so we opted to head to the islands together. THe other Brits went on an island hopping adventure of their own and I miss them. They were all quite funny and engaging. I plan to meet up with Rob and Danny in Australia for a meal prepared by chef Danny. I always like to meet chefs, but supposedly, I have to supply some wine.
Well i will check this later, after I have lounged more. I am thoroughly enjoying the sun, sand and ocean!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

the town of Nadi

Today was a chill day...we bussed into Nadi for 60 cents and went shopping. The European guys wanted to buy rugby Fiji shirts, tried to haggle and eventually walked away. I bought some water since it is $5 at the hotel to purchase. I feel like i have cabin fever since we have a thunderstorm and can't go swimming. Plus, my e-mail is being weird and the blog takes forever to get on and so I believe the connection here is faulty. They should update their software and I could use it. We decided to go to Waysalei Island which is part of the Yasawas--most backpackers go here. Fiji has many different islands and I am discovering that most of them cater to married couples or families on holiday. A poor backpacker like me, most reside in dorms and share space. It isn't that bad and the beaches are amazing. I hope the rain stops so that I can even out my tan. Anyways, I will be in the Yasawas until Saturday afternoon. I am hoping to get a massage when I get back since they are extremely reasonable and no, I don't think this is a happy ending massage!
I almost broke my locker key that locks my valuables...something like this almost always happens to me. I got locked in the dorm room the other night and had I not been let out, I think I would have broken the door. I panic at times and so this is normal.
Talk to you soon....

curry, anyone???

I forgot to mention my last experience with curry. Yesterday, as part of the tour, we traveled through the Indian region of Fiji. They told us about some of the history...blah, blah, blah...and then took us to this great Indian restaurant. Most of us chose chicken curry since it was supposed to be the signature meal of the restaurant. When they set down my platter--curry, dahl, roti, rice and cucumbers--i sort of looked at the curry with question. First off, it looked like beef curry and when I bit into it, it was all bones. It was awful and I absolutely hated it. I don't think that I can eat curry anymore that is how horrible it was. Everyone felt the same way, too. I know that I can be a critical diner, but for once, it wasn't just me.
I think of all of these experiences, but when I get in the lab sometimes, I am overwhelmed with other people or if the connection isn't solid I talk about what my current situation is. However, I did enjoy the Feejee Experience bus with all of the other travelers. It was a great way to get insights into other countries. One of the girls had done this tour 3 times but with other attractive options. We played volleyball and when another group joined us, it was no longer the "fun" volleyball. The Italian girls played to win. I missed out on that round since I was reading. I wasn't too upset after I saw how they were serving.
I hope all is well and i will conclude this for now. Take care--

Monday, November 5, 2007

Return to Nadi

So, I survived the mudbaths but broke my new pair of sandals. I had them for 18 hours...a new record. The hot springs were actually quite hot and I think I might have ruined my swimsuit. I have another one some where. I have so much crap that I am lugging around. I am over it.
I don't think that I mentioned that one of my traveling mates, Rob, from England was stung by a stingray the other night. Innocently, they were swimming at Voli Voli and when he returned to shore, he felt that he had been stabbed and he was bleeding. The effect was immediate, plus the shock of everything. He went to the hospital where they cleaned his wound and told him to take pills and keep his wound clean and dry. Let's just say no drinking for him. He and his buddy, Dan, are going to Australia for six months to work. Dan is a chef and so I have arranged to have a cooked meal, somewhere in Australia. I have to provide wine which should be easy once I get there.
I will write more later. The internet connection is fickle and there are many distractions in this lab. One thing about the British...they like speaking English, too. OTher Europeans always opt for their individual language even if the only common language is English. I guess it is about superiority.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Voli Voli

THis will be short since the internet is high demand. First, thank you for updating me on is very exciting to actually still be undefeated. I mean, in basketball, that is guaranteed, but football is completely different.
i went scuba diving yesterday and it was amazing. Initially i had some difficulty since the last time i went was in Cozumel with Brian. The first dive, I flailed, but I was composed for the second and I really enjoyed myself.
Today, I will meet back up with the group and we will head back to Nadi tomorrow after a mudbath followed by a hot springs adventure. My damn sandals have taken a beating and so I might have to purchase some flip flops in order to save my sandals. I have drank loads of water, some bad wine and listened to a bunch of American music. Yesterday, we listened to the Top 40 from 1980--let's just say it was pure comedy--Willie Nelson's On the Road again, Christopher Cross, Neil Diamond. AT the resort, they played Anne Murray which made me think of my summers at grandma's house. We would drive from Kansas in our van and listen to 8 track tapes of Anne Murray and the Beatles. Later, they played Dr. Hook and of course, I thought of Shari and Brian. They had Sylvia's Mother and a song I didn't recognize. It was very nostalgic.
I am feeling too American right now since i am hogging the internet. When I return to Nadi, I will check in and let you know how my clothes fared. THanks for the updates...

Friday, November 2, 2007

Voli Voli

I just wanted to let everyone know that i made it safely to the beach and that i don't have internet access until i return to nadi on Tuesday. i am safe and will be diving tomorrow. Jade, i have a will you sit on my lap will get a kick out of it! Me and my damn midwestern naivety. When I return I will update it and it will all make sense. i have a young english bloke waiting on me and so I must conclude this for now.
Last night, I did the splits which I haven't done since high school. i didn't pull anything, but it could have been awful. We played a game called bite the box and it makes more sense with demonstrations.
I went on a hike this morning with the driver and it led to the lap story. Jade, have you e-mailed Dave lately? I tried to thank him and Erik for letting me take a leave of absence, but neither of them have responded. I might be jobless when I return.
The dorms take a bit to get used to. The beds are short and I had to sleep on the top bunk last night and the entire time, I kept envisioning me falling off and breaking something or other. Thankfully, it hasn't happened yet.
Yesterday we went river rafting and spent time in a school and a village. I had my first cup of Kava--yes, Andy, it tastes like a wet sock. The ceremony was nice and it felt as if we were part of something.
The school in the village was a primary school. We visited quite a few different classrooms and the children were pleasant, happy and paying attention to the organized chaos. They didn't have cell phones, ipods or act like complete bastards like in the States. It was refreshing and kinda scary. They have one computer and are trying to fundraise to bring in more technology to the school system.
My clothes are wet all of the time which is annoying to me. I am trying to not be so quick to feel uncomfortable since this will be my life for the next five months. One week down and off to better things...Take care and enjoy!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Dehydrated in Suva

Normally i drink a bunch of water; however, since I have been in Fiji, I haven't been as religious about it and it caught up with me today on our 4 hour trek. Of course, i had to lead or be in the front since I have this psychological thing about being in the back of a hiking group. I feel that I can't keep up and it tires me out. Nevertheless, we went on this excursion up a mountain , through a river and it was sunny and it rained. Did I mention the rainforest aspect of it? The trail was muddy and my favorite sandals took a beating. Everytime I would step down, my ankle will decide where it wanted to land. It was traumatic and scary. Anyways, after making it through the jungle in the front, we had lunch and then went tubing. Next, we jumped into a water fall and the entire day I was soaked wet--everything--and eventually we made it to Suva.
Along the way, I felt this horrible headache coming on and at first, I thought it was due to lack of sleep. As we drove along, I realized that I was dehydrated and as a prize for my bad behavior in taking care of myself, I was awarded with a full blown headache. I had some emergen C and took an alleve. I feel much better now.
I found this awesome internet cafe that is super cheap and i just want to hang out here all night. Also, i ate chicken curry where I was schooled on how to eat it. My friend, Arvin, the driver, told me to pick up the roti while it was hot and eat it with the curry in my hands. It feels unnatural to eat without silverware, but when in Fiji, do what they do, right?
Until tomorrow I hope that you are all glorious and prosperous in your lives! How was halloween? Any good treats?
Tomorrow I will be in Voli Voli where I will stay until Tuesday. I am doing laundry since i have soured some of my shirts which sucks since I actually like them and I will be going on two dives. Wish me luck.