Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Fiji - A Tropical Paradise

Hello, or Bula! (as they say in Fiji)

I have finally arrived in Australia after a week in Fiji. It was an awesome experience. I met so many people and made a ton of new friends, especially the group of students I’m traveling with from UW. The seven of us are all best friends after a week of sleeping in small dorm rooms, waking up early and going to bed late, applying sunscreen multiple times per day, and experiencing all Fiji has to offer. It’s hard NOT to be best friends when you’re all going multiple days without a shower and slowly building up layers on your whole body (sunscreen, sweat, salt water, dirt, more sunscreen… more dirt and sweat). One of the best parts was meeting people from all over the world. I met people from Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, England, Germany, Denmark, France, and more Americans! We all made a new best friend named Olivar from London. He is going to come visit us in Australia sometime this semester. Most of us did a good job of avoiding sunburn, but our pale Wisconsin skin really didn’t stand a chance against the Fijan summer sun. Towards the end of the week, we would literally avoid going outside at all costs from noon to 3. It would only take a few minutes without sunscreen during peak hours to get scorched. Despite the intense heat, we got to do a ton of fun things.

We stayed on four different islands, or five if you count the Fiji mainland. Each had its own culture, people, food, activities, and atmosphere. The islands we stayed on were Kuata, Korovou, Long Beach, and Beach Comber. The first day we just settled in and adjusted to the new climate and culture. We swam in the ocean, played beach volleyball, threw the Frisbee, and read our books on the beach. The food was different but good. We ate lots of fruits, vegetables, and rice. There were many differences in culture that I found interesting, and sometimes frustrating. For example, I think there was only one garbage can on the first island we were on. (very small islands, but still… one garbage can?!) Also, all of our meals were included in the price of the trip, but they still made us buy something to drink for dinner. They also didn’t have fresh water for us to drink. Needless to say, we bought a LOT of bottled water. It was pathetic how detached I felt after one week without internet. It really makes me realize how much we depend on our technology and take things like cell phones for granted.

The highlight of the Fiji trip was on the fifth day when two of the other guys and myself went cave diving. It cost about $40, but it was totally worth it. We took a boat for about an hour to another island, where we walked down into a cave with pitch black water and dim lighting. It was very creepy so we let our tour guide jump in first. It looked like something straight out of a horror movie. The scariest part was when we had to dive underwater and swim about five feet to get to another part of the cave. The second part was pitch black, except for our guide’s flash light, or ‘water torch’ as he referred to it as. I thought this was the best part of our Fiji trip.

Overall, Fiji was an amazing experience. I’m glad I went not only because of the great weather and beaches, but because of the awesome friendships I formed with the other students I’m with. I know this is a long post, but trust me it could have been 10 times longer if I wrote about everything we did. Here are some pictures from the trip. (It was REALLY hard to choose a few pictures considering we took literally more than 1500 pictures between the seven of us in one week!)

P.S. Because of my limited internet situation, I have been writing blogs on my laptop and not posting them. This was written about a week ago right when we got to Australia.

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