Life's a bitch in paradise!

Trip Start Sep 27, 2004
Trip End Sep 27, 2005

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Friday, December 3, 2004

As I sit on my verandah listening to Xavier Rudd, and the cacophony of cicadas that pipe up at dusk, I reflect on what has been an awesome few weeks. Yes ok it has been quite a few... I've been busy. I promise to update more often in future. Probably better to it weekly to avoid confusion but I will list the weeks here to try and maintain some sort of chronological order.

Week Beginning 1st November

Saturday afternoon, the one they call the DJ Morgan (cool Fiji related DJ names welcome) made his debut to a rousing reception from around 40 guests attending a backyard pool party slash sushi fest. Ticket prices soared as the famed DJ Arne (Holland) was added to the lineup, spinning his unique brand of electro house grooves.

After completing a 5 hour "Suva Radio" mix (lots of repeats) we wound things up, only to be requested at another party nearby. With turntables in hand, the newly formed mobile DJ duo made their entrance, I think some of the guests may have been a little scared by the amount of sound gear we were carting around with us, but we allayed their fears by playing fairly chilled out tunes until a request for "normal music" was made. "Normal music" it seems was Tom Jones and Abba. Quite the ensemble. The "professional DJ's" adjourned to the bar for copious amounts of vodka/orange and a well earned rest.

Spinoffs from this part include a gig at the Aust High Commmission and meeting some great new people.

Week Beginning 8th November

Suva was a hive of activity with all the Hindi population stocking up for Diwali, the Festival of Light. It was great to see most of the Indo-Fijian and even some Native Fijian women wearing beautiful brightly colored saris. It is a little disappointing that I did not get to hang around and experience diwali but my ticket was booked, our destination Nananu'i'ra. Finally I was getting out of Suva! WOOO!

We set off early Friday morning traveling all the way up to the top end of Viti Levu, traversing some rather dubious roads and some even more dubious bridges, made with railway sleepers and planks, these incredibly narrow bridges do little to inspire confidence. As we drove I marveled as the magnificent mountains and jungle progressed to dry grasslands and rolling hills. It's amazing that such a small geographic area can be home to such an amazing diversity of environments, each exceedingly spectacular (Just to give some perspective Viti Levu, the main island, is a little larger than Kangaroo Island).

After around 4 hours of driving we reached Ellington's Wharf and took a 15 minute boat ride from the mainland to Nananu'i'ra. Try saying that after a few... Upon arrival we relaxed on the beach drinking cold Fiji Bitters from the esky and watching the sun set with one of the most epic landscapes I have ever witnessed as a backdrop. The mainland a couple of kilometers away, with mountains looming out of the twilight was truly amazing, an adjective that I used quite frequently the entire weekend. As the sun finally sank below the horizon, huge fires appeared on the hillsides on the mainland, local sugar farmers performing burnoffs.

Being diwali it is customary for a small fireworks display, what ensued was more reminiscent of a D-day landing. We set off great barrages of fireworks on the beach, lighting up the night sky, but fortunately not the coconut palms near by. The massive pile of spent crackers and rockets the next morning was evidence enough of our rather explosive evening.

The following day I tried snorkeling for the first time, and realized that I was an absolute idiot for never trying it before. I saw half the cast of Finding Nemo and numerous other really quite incredible ocean life. "On the seventh day God took a trip and created sea life!" I was definitely inspired to do my scuba diving course, although being 30 meters under water is a slightly worrying concept. Bring on the bends!

After snorkeling and adding a tick to my ever lengthening list of new hobbies, I decided to do some exploring, taking a leisurely 45 minute hike up-and-over the island, stopping frequently to take in the truly epic views. On one side the mountains of Viti Levu rise up out of the sea like some prehistoric landscape. On the other side is clear blue sea extending it seems to the end of the earth. I took numerous pictures of these views, but nothing really captured the size and truly epic nature of what I saw. On the other side of the island was a stereotypical Fiji beach, white sands, and clear aqua waters. I was living in a postcard, and loving it.

Relaxed on the perfect beach and did some canoeing around the rest of the island, generally chilled out. I was sad to leave Nananu'i'ra, the site of my first proper island experience.

Cannot wait to do some more traveling soon, but have to watch my budget. Plans to reach the shores of Samoa at some stage next year are well underway, but will require some discipline in the money department.

Week beginning 15th November
My esteemed counterpart and many of the other IT staff are attending an Oracle DBA course, so this week I will be compiling some documentation and guidelines for the website we have created over the past weeks. I may also take the opportunity to go and have some meetings with some other IT contacts I have made since arriving, many of whom can offer some assistance in my impending work with Oracle.

Friday night drinks at the High Commission provided an excellent segway into what would prove to be a great weekend. I am now the official DJ for the High Comm. and will be making my debut mid December. I seem to be doing an immense amount of networking without even meaning to. It's just great to meet so many interesting people.

Saturday Night saw the launch of Viscous (Suva's latest house music night), with DJ's Soul Sugar (AUS) and OfiveO (HOL) serving up a tasty selection of house and electro. The night was a huge success despite malfunctioning equipment and a poor setup for mixing. The punters were suitably impressed, one asking if I had a website and another asking which countries in Europe I had played!!! The place rocked from around 8pm until just after 1am, the rather early closing time, loosely enforced by the local authorities. The DJ's and their sizable entourage then partied on to the sounds of pumping Indian techno at Purple Haze, the "Best Club in the Universe".

Cricket on Sunday morning was certainly a struggle, but well worth the approximate 50 runs scored and 2 for 5. Though no official score was kept so these numbers may be slightly inaccurate. After a hard days sport it was off to the Holiday Inn to relax by the pool with a nice gin and tonic.

Week Beginning 22nd November

Attended the Pacific GIS Forum this week, which was at times interesting and at times really boring. I really enjoyed the technical explanations and some of the things people are doing with satellite images. It is pretty amazing the level of detail achieved in these images, in one application you can even see people. It just makes the defense satellites that the US etc have even more mind-blowing.

Played cricket and sucked badly. Typical crap Morgan innings that started with 2 fours and ended with a thick edge to first slip. Took a pretty spectacular catch, and bowled reasonably.

Chilled out for the rest of the weekend just ate, read and slept.

That's all for now. I am having trouble uploading photos, out net is up and down today so will send out another update when all the photos are uploaded. Peace out!
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