Sunday, June 28, 2015

Farewell Fiji

I don't think it has to be said that Fiji was amazing. But I'll say it anyways. Fiji was amazing. What did I take away from the 2 weeks I spent there? That I definitely cannot survive by myself on a stranded island. Nevertheless, I still spent like 4 days in a village (without an appendix) and that's more than what most people can do so....yeah. But honestly, HUGE thanks to everyone that was there with me (including you Ms. Simon) and especially a HUGE thanks to Lisa and Brett for being just...well...Lisa and Brett. And there is definitely no question that my photography skills improved ten fold since Iceland. My camera has become my arm at this point. I don't think about exposure anymore. I just do it. Sometimes I forget that I'm using a camera even. But of course, what did I do with my newly acquired talent? The best most awesome thing anyone would do at the end of a vacation - Light Drawings.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Smugglers Cove

After a two hour long bus trip and some trouble getting into our rooms we finally settle down in Smugglers Cove. We chilled for a little bit and then Brett and Lisa took us to a local Fijian Chinese restaurant which had some pretty good Chinese food. We came back to Smugglers after, had a nightly meeting, and went to bed. The next day was a pretty big day. First we drive all the way to a village in order to hike to a waterfall. The hike was great but the waterfall at the end wasn't really a waterfall, it was more like a stream. But then we hike back to the bus that we got to the village with and had a great chicken/fish lunch. We went to the mud baths next were we thoroughly enjoyed flinging mud at one another before we dipped into the relaxing hot springs. After that we headed back to Smugglers were we had an all-you-can-eat buffet along with a Fijian goodbye ceremony supplied by the hotel's staff. We ended of the day by presenting our final projects and relaxing on the beach.


Relaxing at the beach

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Mango Bay

What was a hot shower again? No, seriously tell me. I forgot. Tovu Tovu felt like a 5-star resort after the village so Mango Bay felt like heaven. We had our own beds, a room with actual flooring, and even our own personal mosquito nets. Day 1 was pretty calm and relaxed. We just kind of chilled, worked on our projects, and explored the resort. That was about it. The food was pretty good too, I guess. All-in-all it was definitely a much needed rest. On Day 2 we went to a village via boat. The captains set up these fishing rods on either side of the boat while it was moving and sure enough one of the lines started spinning. I ended up reeling in the fish which turned out to be a tuna. At the village we went to a school were we were greeted by a Fijian choir and continued on to explore the village. I met this family that was weaving mats and I introduced myself and they allowed me to come in and take pictures. They also taught me how to weave mats also. Then from the village we went to a small island were we had lunch, did paddle boarding, and played volleyball. We left right as the sun started going down and finished the day off back at Mango Bay where we just relaxed.


Weaving mats

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Village

If we thought Tovu Tovu was roughing it then the village was just abject poverty. But I can’t really complain considering the villagers were preparing for our arrival MONTHS in advance. They built new toilets, started working on the foundation we were supposed to be building, and even cleared several of their homes for us to stay in. In fact, now that I think of it, describing it as abject poverty is incorrect. I really should be describing ourselves to be so used the upper middle class lifestyle that anything less, no matter how hospitable, just seems poor. Anyways, upon our arrival we were greeted with a kava ceremony that was more traditional than the first one, but had essentially the same structure. After the ceremony we had amazing village food of chicken, chicken, and more chicken. Then we came back to the common area where the kava ceremony was held to have a dance party - Fijian style. It consisted of us forming a circle, leaning from side to side, and making unison whooping sounds. After that we all went to bed, or floor cause there wasn’t any beds, and Day 1 in the village began the next morning. The first day in the village was pretty calm. First we worked on the foundation for the building we were building in the village and then we just kinda walked around, explored, and took pictures of the village. At night we had dancing and a kava ceremony. We hit the floor once again after the dancing and woke up early the next day. The second day went something like this: eat breakfast, work on foundation, explore village, play volleyball, eat dinner, dance, sleep. Pretty simple. On the third day we went to a local school were we walked around and met some of the Fijian teachers and students. We ended up playing volleyball with them as well and after everyone went to the waterslide. I couldn’t go because of the appendix so I just went back to the village but apparently the waterslide was too dangerous to go on anyways so I don't think I missed much. On the next day we woke up early to do the farewell ceremony with the villagers which caused many to cry. Once that was over it was off to Mango Bay.

Exploring the Village

Kava Cermemony

Tovu Tovu

Going to Fiji is great, my only wish is that I could have done it with my appendix. Nevertheless I learned quite a lot on day one. I learned that being poor means no hot water and pooping with bugs crawling over your feet. Besides being under the constant threat of dengue fever, I had a great time secretly judging Brett and making fun of Ashlie (Ms. Simon). The first day was pretty calm once I landed in Taveuni and spent the rest of the day just checking out my shack thing and mingling with others. Commence day two. First we went to a rugby tournament with fans so passionate their insanity reminded me of Mad Max. Kids were body slamming each other, old people were running out onto the field swinging around their handkerchiefs, and 14 white people were taking creeper shots of little kids. Just joking, that was us. After the rugby game we WERE going to go to the waterfalls but the rain disagreed. So we didn’t go. Instead we went to a resort for dinner were we drank some muddy water called kava. It’s supposed to make you more relaxed and calm but besides making my mouth feel tingly it didn't do much. But the dessert was pretty good. 

Kids body slamming each other.

Passionate Fans

Day three rolls on by and we start it off by going to…church? No, but seriously, it was actually pretty cool. I mean I couldn’t really understand the preacher under his thick Fijian accent but the parts that I did get were fairly interesting. After the church sermon we make our way to waterfall #1. It was a pretty cool waterfall and had the perfect lighting to try out my slow shutter speeds. After that we headed over to waterfall #2. The trip to the second waterfall was about to be cancelled because apparently in Fiji rain spontaneously begins to showers down with unnecessary force. But at this point no one cared so we still went on the hike, except for Ashlie. The hike turned out to be grossly longer than I anticipated. Like A LOT longer. We hit the waterfall which turned out to be pretty cool and eventually came back to our shacks in Tovu Tovu were we would spend our last night before going to the village.