Archives for category: Travel

I’m currently in Melbourne staying at the house of ‘Coleies parents, which has been a very nice break from the hostels and stuff. Fiji was fantastic as you might expect, and Australia has been very good so far also. This doesn’t stop the fact that I’ve been missing home, but all my flights and trains etc to get back to Plymouth have now been booked. I’ll get to Heathrow terminal 3 at 5:45am (!) on Monday 27th April, and then have four hours to get my bags and find my way to Paddington Station to get the train to Plymouth that’ll arrive at 13:05. I thought I’d better leave plenty of time to faff, I’ve got no idea how jet lagged and confused I’ll be. A nine hour stay in Hong Kong airport is unlikely to be helpful in that respect.
Hoping to be in a ‘see people and have fun’ mood by the end of the week (in time for the weekend!)
In the mean time, all I have to do is try and enjoy the sights and sounds of Australias two largest cities (I’ll be off to Sydney next weekend), not too hard they are very nice cities, see exibit A: Read the rest of this entry »

We went out last night as a last goodbye from Fiji (I’m actually leaving tomorrow but some of us have already left).
I had a bottle of Fiji baby (Fiji bitter in a ‘stubby’ bottle), this would be my first sup of alcohol since we had some pretty extensive goodbye parties in Savusavu on the northern island of Fiji.
I couldn’t even finish one bottle, and on top of that this morning I had a hangover!!!

The message is clear to me, my body is rebelling after the silly amount of alcohol that was drunk when we had a lovo (Fijian hot rock cooking method) at our house as our first leaving party.
The problem is, or was, that the Fijians have a way of drinking called ‘Taki’ in which there is a taki master who has the beer, one small glass (more if there are a lot of people) and they pour out beers for people and the glass is passed round. You are expected to down the glass and hand it back. It’s supposed to symbolize how were are all one and it gets you drinking a lot of alcohol in a short space of time.
And when we ran out of beer and moved onto rum and coke… recipe for disaster. Basic upshot is that I won’t be drinking any alcohol for a while now, it just makes me feel ill!

This definately didn’t make the news in the UK, so I can embellish my story to my hearts content!
My story starts last friday in the early morning. I had left the house early to get the bus into town for some internet action (my last blog post!). At about eight in the morning Leyla (our program leader) arrived at the girls house – which is by the beach – and woke everyone up. They had to get out of bed and move up to the boys house (we live slightly up the hill) because there’d been an earthquake at Tonga so a tsunami warning had been issued. It was all very dramatic, one of the girls was pretty tired and complained that she should have gone back to be ‘Do you want to die’ was the response from the taxi driver.
Meanwhile I was blissfully unaware of the impending doom, and my phone was off to conserve battery life so I couldn’t be warned. Leyla set off into town to find me despite more warnings from the taxi driver that this was a bad idea.
Half an hour later it turned out that it was a false alarm, which is good because I still didn’t know anything about it. I only found out when I got back, at midday. Ignorance is bliss sometimes 🙂

Planning things in Fiji is not easy, plans seem to change all the time – usually for the best. Let me illustrate.
I’m in the internet cafe, I was planning to go diving today and get some internet action tomorrow. But now we’re going on a great diving voyage tomorrow starting at seven in the morning and finishing at about five in the afternoon. We’ll be going to an island 50 km away for what should be some ‘great diving’. This is quite a high claim as the diving in Fiji is already pretty f**king awesome – not that I’ve got anything to compare it to.
We found out about this change yesterday.

In other news yesterday was a damn cool day. We went to watch a local village on a once-a-year type fishing mission. A few of the guys from our group joined in scaring the fish into the net that’d been set across the mouth to the bay we were in. While I watched I was sipping coconut milk from a green coconut that’d been chopped from a tree a few feet away – fresh to say the least!! It’s a very cool genuine Fiji experience in my mind. But it gets better.
Then we were punted across to a small island where we swam and ate and the fish from the catch were cooked for us by our host. A few hours fresh and very very tasty. Most of us (including me) decided to swim back from the island. Then we sat in a village (not to one I was staying in) and watched them playing rugby.

A very memorable day!

For the last week our little group here in Fiji were staying in a hostel type place in the town of Savusavu – pretty good, but now we’re in two shared houses. Let’s just say that the guys house is fantastically amazing – annoyingly I won’t be able to get any pictures up anytime soon but the view from the veranda is idillic.
I was Chatting to Isaac and he agreed that you get the ‘Wow this is so great I can’t believe it’ feeling about every twenty minutes!!
In other news the number of dives that I’ve paid for is running out at an alarming rate, only twelve left now. Tomorrow we’re planned to go on a night dive which up’s the fear factor a bit, just as I was getting used to the whole idea of breathing underwater!!

Time flys when you’re diving! We’ve already done eight of our thirty dives, which means only twenty two left. Sounds like a lot but I’m sure if it’s anything like the dives we’ve done so far they’re going to fly by.
Today we’ve been given an unexpected day off (we’ve been doing two dives a day since the weekend) which has been a relief for everyone. Time in the sun, diving, swimming around the boat between dives can really take it out of you. It’s amazingly idillic don’t get me wrong but I certainly feel that afternoon naps are going to become the norm.

It’s a hard life but someone has to do it 😛

I’m in Fiji!!!
I would have told you earlier but as some of you may have noticed there was some website messiness where my site appeared to go down. Thanks to the rapid response of united hosting it’s all sorted (I just mailed their support and said help and they did the rest!)
So I’m in Fiji, there is a lot more rain that I expected, as it’s still the wet season at the moment. This is actually quite a relief as when it’s not raining it’s crazy hot and I tend to break into a sweat from such heavy actives as sitting and lying.
Tomorrow I’ll be doing my first dive session in the ocean having done three pool dives to learn the basics.
It’s all pretty good although when I have to clear my mask by blowing through my nose (getting rid of any water)… yeah I can’t do that.
But the instructor is very good and has given myself and Mimi some exercises to do to help us. He is confident that we’ll have our open water certification by the end of Sunday along with the rest of the group.
I’m staying in a genuine Fijian village at the moment which is certainly quite an experience. I wouldn’t say that it’s all been good (not getting enough sleep mainly) but with a few more days to go who knows how things will pan out.

Last Friday I was at a loose end. I didn’t really want to spend any money but I also didn’t want to mooch around the hostel doing nothing or reading or something like that.
So I went for a walk, and ended up sitting on a bench by the marina watching the world go by. After a while of sitting a woman sat on the same bench. We got to talking about this and that. After an hour of increasingly involved chat she suggested that we get out of the wind and get some food. It was cold so I was all for that although I have a few second thoughts about getting food – it would involve spending money. I went anyway.
So there was lots of talking, a few drinks and a damn good main followed by an equally good dessert.

I’ve always been a bit unsure about modern etiquette at the best of times so I had no idea how to handle the whole money thing. Especially since she’d be getting the drinks and although she said she got them for free because her brother worked behind the bar I did see here with a card out and in a reader.
When she went to the toilet I got the bill and put my card down – seemed like a gentlemanly thing to do. However she got back before the bill + card was collected. This was when I realized that this is definitely the 21st century.
‘I’ll get this – I’m not on a budget and you are’ She breezed.
‘Are you sure’ – I had no idea how strongly I should argue this point.
And that was that, free dinner!
As we say here in NZ – Sweet as.

I arrived back in Auckland on Monday (yes this means that my blog is now actually up-to date!), and it was not a good day.
Let me recount:
Firstly I had to look for a post office as my van was actually no-long road legal (something like road tax and some other thing which I don’t quite understand – miles for diesel). While looking for a post office I dropped in at a travel agent to get a plane ticket to Melbourne. This was all going fine, but it turns out that you have to get some fancy visa thing if you get a one-way ticket, so I got my return ticket from Sydney to Auckland for Saturday 25th April – yes this means that hopefully I’ll be back in the UK on Monday or Tuesday of that week… Haven’t sorted that trip back yet so we’ll have to see.
Anyway that was a lot of faff as there were refunds and re-payments as these details became clear.
Then my card got cancelled, because I was using it in NZ. Yes despite the fact that I’ve been using my card in New Zealand for the past three months didn’t seem to matter one jot.
On the plus side the bank sorted it very quickly, so it’s not all bad.
Then I had to go to the post office and queue up three times throughout the morning. Once to find I couldn’t pay by card, once to find that I hadn’t filled in one of the forms fully and needed to get an address from one of my documents and lastly to actually get the damn things.
Back at the hostel I met with my new room-mates and we went out for a drink together. Things are looking up!
But because I hadn’t eaten all day while sorting out all this junk I got far far too drunk and was sick in the room, promply alienating two of the three other guys.
Tuesday I did nothing other than watch films, I was feeling quite sorry for myself.

I hope this doesn’t come across as too much of a massive winge, things are good now, but this travelling lark isn’t always sweetness and light 🙂

I generally disagree with being labelled a lucky guy but this is an exception for sure!
When I was in Rai Valley, WWOOF’ing, my hosts let me know that they were booked up for the next month or so. Despite this obvious warning that things were getting busy (which would reduce my chance of getting a host) I didn’t get around to e-mailing some farms until the last minute. I didn’t hold out much hope so I mailed 4 people at the same time. The next day I had four replies, two were happy to take me. One was a B&B by the coast and the other was a home in the countryside. The B&B could take me immediately and the house was busy until Monday (this was all discovered on a Thursday). For no reason other than ‘gut feeling’ I went with the house and milled around the area for the weekend. I spent some time at the beach.
I had definitely picked the right option, as you can see:
The second lounge
Read the rest of this entry »