Thursday, June 30, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 48

Day 48: (30 June 2011):
- Wake up ~11am. Woke up to housekeeping sounds. All beds other than mine made. All Meet English looking for job here. Nice person.
- New World: get Samosa (chicken), bacon "brunch cake" & giant sausauge for breakfast. Unhealthy & lots of food, but ~10. Could get proper breakfast for that.
- Decide walk down Oriental Pde & maybe Mount Victoria.
- Very nice area, with beaches. But rain get progressively heavier.
- Talk to parents.
- Turn back eventually, decide go to Te Papa or Parliament.
- Beautiful sewer covers in Wellington.
- Lots of joggers even in the bad weather.
- Walk along water to Te Papa. Feel very comfortable in modern country again. Admire/amaze.
- Girl on back of bike with mom, singing loudly "rain, rain, go away.
- See the earthquake dampers at Te Papa. Small door & small exhibit showing dampers.
- Rain less. Modern building. Sculptures between Te Papa & old-looking theatre.
- Walk by old boat crane. ASB arena, etc. Nice waterfront. Bld with stock tickers.
- Walk into city. Nice bustling centre. Many streets, mid-level hum. Much better character than Auckland's CBD.
- Text to Steffan earlier, Wellington much worse Weather than Fiji. He respond after coming out of watching TF3. He coming on Friday! (In Wanganui, although not made clear).
- Hostel YHA, close to Base, very close to Te Papa.
- Walk up to Parliament, although entered wrong side first. Clock struck hour when walking around to look for main entrance.
- Public entrance, Security check. Check coat, bag, cell phone & camera.
- A couple & young daughter arrive same time. Radio guide, can meet in legislative wing.
- Took us to legislative wing. Ladder on stairs, took us up old-style lift, built long time ago. Surprisingly smooth & quiet.
- Meet with tour as they walk from executive wing: "Beehive."
- Tour: Hallways: pictures of all assemblies (2 from Auckland), All PMs & colonial governors.
- Room with Maori decorations. Carving to represent each iwi. Important dieties. Told this committee puts out ads in paper, all responses read to committee. Can request oral hearing. Protection of queen when speaking there. Cannot use what they say to incriminate, embarass, etc. Very cool system. "Most direct form of representation."
- Earthquake piles. Entire building cut in half, including walls, stairs.
- Lower & empty upper house. Royal family cannot enter lower house, but can command audience.
- Let kid sit in PM's seat, give question sheet. Speaker of the house come in, showing a family of Asians around. Speaker's assistant walk by outside.
- When get back to Beehive, tour over. Another tour just watched video & go upstairs. According to guide, didn't miss much, just offices.
- Guide interesting character. Sarcastic, a bit overly confident (earthquake measures, talking to each Chch person) but nice.
- Parliament library. Larger underground portion. Round vs. square: opposite of Canada's library & executive branch. Outside under renovation scaffolding.
- Walk along road & found cable car. Weather a bit better, no rain. Some drizzle.
- One way ticket as person says can walk back through botannical gardens.
- Tram/cablecar remind me of ones in Japan. Seats tilted for slope.
- 4 stops total. One stop @ university. Pass through uni. by ball field.
- Cute museum at top (small donation). Old cable car (can climb on). Pics & models of private cable cars. Winding room model.
- Hot chocolate. Should have got mochachino. Ask if weather always this bad in winter, he says usually worse.
- Walk down the marked city path through botannical gardens.
- See the neighbourhood, looks nice.
- Observatory. Nice deck close to it, but no much views.
- "Treehouse." Lower & much higher upper level. Nice observation deck.
- Chinese embassy?
- Duck pond.
- Cute house thing. Labelled gardens & signs.
- Rose garden & greenhouse. Nice, but not stunning tropical plants. Fish (follow me! Food?) pond inside.
- Keep bumping into an Asian girl tourist.
- Japanese-like garden with waterfall. 2 ppl smoking weed there.
- Nice quiet neighbourhood close to centre. Old tombstones with modern city in background. A few monuments: large one to Seddon. Tombstones extend to skyscrapers. Clearly see people inside working from hill beside bld. Freeway cuts through graveyard?
- Arrive Te Papa ~4:30pm. Good thing for Thr. late hours. 9 rather than 5.
- Explore Te Papa until 8:30pm. Some poetry event on 5th floor. Very polished. Lots of info packed into a small (actually pretty large) place. Great for children. Calk to marae, but some singing with a few people going on, so did not stay.
- Colossial squid. Go out t o outdoor section, but close when dark, told to return, was afraid museum was closing. Relieved when they say not.
- MAF display. Parrot mating helmet. Ponamu. Immigration. Kiwiana.
- The Maori houses & stones. Direct (?) message from iwi. Message brag about their stuff in museum.
- Feeding funnel, never seen that before.
- Moriori.
- Old & new paintings & art. Ceramic display (who in that?). Pink & white terrace paintings.
- Artefacts: mat from Samoa. Feathered cape given to Cook by Hawaiians.
- Polished presentations with motion sensors, etc.
- Saw too much. Decide come back tomorrow to finish up.
- Wonton & BBQ pork noodles for dinner. Comfort food.

Photos available at:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 47

Day 47: (29 June 2011):
- Wake up ~ 7am due to cold & need to go to toilet.
- Say bye to Fi. The friendly older woman shout bye from her house.
- Bus to airport. Walk in. Some shops, etc. Check in.
- Sign advertising travel agent with Air Kiribati & Our Airline (Nauru?): Still exist?
- Post card & souvenier for Logan.
- Sit @ café: samosa & Vonu beer. Didn't want beer, but need to try beers.
- Go in, Fiji Premium beer. Shops, cafés around. Live Fiji music. Getting buzzed & very tired.
- See lots of small islands & reef on take-off. See Waya Island as well?
- Watched more of Human Planet on flight. Great, but feel there is some narration that tries to get the viewer to think something is more significant than it really is.
- Long wait @ iSite at international terminal to book YHA in Wellington. Found empty iSite in domestic terminal once get there.
- Eat KFC @ international departure area.
- Wandered around & intermittantly used the free internet to catch up with everything.
- Call parents, they were worried as not hear from me in over a week, although I did say I may net find Internet for a week.
- Air NZ flights going, Jetstar to South Island all cancelled on board.
- Self-check-in procedure. Watch bag on conveyor.
- All Blacks painted plane. Nice lighting in domestic. Purple lights. Simple but comfortable. Fading reading lights, very white light.
- Cheese or hummus platter on plane. Free drinks. Love Air NZ.
- Easy bus transfer to near YHA. Large, modern, clean, comfortable. Across street from New World. Nice kitchens, lounges. Near Courteney Place, looks bustling on bus when arrive. People also friendly (guests).
- Finally a chance to rest the open wounds.
- Talk with Chinese on working holiday. Apparently NZ gives 1000 to China, only working holiday available to Chinese. Discuss conditions China vs. NZ vs. NA.
- Enjoy fruit & beer from New World: buy water as well. NZ Mash Up beer.
- 1st hot water shower in 3 weeks.
- Very tired, sleep. Bed more comfortable & clean than any in past 3 weeks.
- Wellington shockingly cold, coming from Fiji.
- See lounge glass roof below from 6th floor window of dorm.
- Very comfortable under the sheets, a bit hot.

Photos available at:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 46

Day 46: (28 June 2011):
- Wake up, clear.
- Take manta ray tour $30 w/ Danish & English couple. Long boat ride to south of Nativi. Channel. Deep water, stingers, see guide wince once. No rays, (no guarantee here, heard from other travellers there have been no sightings for a while) but some nice coral with very large schools of colourful fish.
- Dry off on beach, hammock. Rope for hammock grown over by tree.
- Wood ears growing on bench outside.
- Boat late, 3:30-4pm. Yellow boat much larger. Actual store & travel desk section.
- Nice views of islands & sunset behind islands. Beachcomber with lights on.
- bump into many known people. Chat, sit together, etc.
- Rough boat ride, some people fool sick.
- Arrive over 1hr late to Denarau.
- Say bye to British couple (another one). Get on Lautoka bus. Felt taken care of, as one of the organiser guys on bus to make sure all tourists get to their destinations. Repeatedly ask, seemed surprised I go to Veiseisei, not a resort close to there.
- Denarau marina very nice. Plaza, trendy restaurants & music. Pretty mush all tourists. British couple tell me "not missing much" about Nadi, heard this from many people. Apparently really only one food option. $14 hostel, but high sell pressure, especially for Bula pass. The Aus met at Gold Coast said they even blocked him from leaving as he was rushing to his shark dive after sleeping in. Ask him what he doing, plans, try sell breakfast.
- Only tourist left after airport & Raffles Hotel?
- Drive through Nadi? Modern-looking centre, but bars on windows (& inside stores) disturbing.
- Dropped off on turn-off to village. Very dark 15 min walk. Some cars. Stars & sound of waves.
- "Bula" from kids as enter village. They walk me to Fi. See a small shop on way.
- Very large bowl of rice & chicken curry waiting. Cat watch me eat. Bones go to dog. Clean bowl soon after. Dog seems to be food disposal in many countries.
- They watch Shortland Street.
- Pack. Try fix Fi's computer. Manage to do Avast scan in safe mode, but then errors during fixing, and login no longer works. Made computer worse! Gave some advice, she says due to warranty, free to bring her computer in. No Windows disk, so can't fix. Friend with laptop: no disk too!
- Drink kava & play same card game until nearly 3am. Kitties. Kids sleep in adjoining room, no real dividers between rooms. Adults smoke. I buy a round for $5. Mystry guy before drinking round says Mark, etc... then almost everyone slow claps 3x, some say "thanks, Mark!' Is he a chief? Say things like take my picture & show to my PM. Send his regards to my family as I leave. Tell me sit cross-legged, etc. More join ~1:30am. The one older person (woman) very friendly call me "my dear." Hug, etc. People seem to not mind sitting very close together or touching. Expecting it.
- Run out of kava at some point, but found more. Knock on door once in a while, people buy things & kava from Fi.
- Notice people coughing... will I get sick for sharing kava bowl?
- Very cold at night. Put on raincoat & use swim trunks to cover head. Should have used sleeping bag that night.

Photos available at:

Monday, June 27, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 45

Day 45: (27 June 2011):
- Wake up: weather still not good. The entire day rain, wind on/off.
- Meals moved to new upstairs dining area. Small bar there.
- Spend entire day up in the dining area. Chat, play cards, etc. Write.
- Report from people who just arrived: schools closed for 2 days. Bad weather on mainland as well.
- Big Yellow Boat back in service as small white boat is still broken. Supposed to be a bigger, better boat.
- Tried to go for a walk to Honeymoon Beach, but supposedly steep & slippery & risk of falling branches & coconut in wind.
- Two of the guys from Korovu came over to White Sandy to stay today.
- Lots of people arrive. Chat/talk until ~5pm.
- Calk past Korovu & abandoned resort. Clear water. Not much else.
- See clear sky in distance. Nice orange & red colours at sunset.
- Entertainment was more professional, but still a bit strange dancing. More games.
- Beautiful stars at night. Interstellar dust & galaxy bulge clearly visible. Meteors. Person (girl) I talk to didn't really even know about the Milky Way. Shocked during Kuata before: Someone not know what Southern Cross in (from Aus/NZ, I think). & comment to someone: "I think some shooting stars aren't actually stars." when looking for meteors.
- Moths around lamp. Sit on veranda watch stars, beach, hills, boat.

Photos available at:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 44

Day 44: (26 June 2011):
- Wake up to dark room. Raining.
- Laze around all morning reading & chatting & writing in dorm room.
- Learn mining jobs are quite interesting: short project / break cycle. His co-worker lives in Thailand with Thai wife & kids in him off time.
- Pack & go up to dining area ~12:45 to check on boat. I get lunch: lentil soup, same as when I arrived. They said I didn't have to pay even though usually $7 for lunch on leaving day. Called to boat by whistle ~ 1:15.
- Got to pick-up stop, other boats, but no ship. Blue water with dark spots beneath, drifted a bit. Small kid helping with anchor.
- Eventually, boat lumbers into view from behind an island. "You will have a long trip." Slow, engine trouble(?). Looks like only left engine on.
- Meet Bill again on board. "Touring."
- Announcement: delay, engineers working. Ask people catching flight tonight to see travel desk.
- out on nowhere, Bill asks "You gonna buy an ice cream?" "It's too cold." "For me." After I agreed to pet him one, he says 3, for the people he was with, when I say no, I'm running out of money, he says will take one. I get an almond Magnum for me $ him. Seems like Bill has a habit of asking things from people. No "thank you."
- White Sandy Beach: welcome song. Settle in dorm.
- Just 8: me, Scottish I met briefly at Kuata, French & his travel companion, English (?) couple that I met before. See Eng. couple met in Samoa leave White Sandy.
- Walk to Korovu. More people, but supposedly here better. Small village behind it, visited the church. Supposedly lots of singing & emotions in Fijian church. Can hear throughout dinner.
- Fish & chicken curry for dimmer. Was just thinking of curry.
- Cold: put on long sleeves.
- After-dinner entertainment. Them dancing & singing. Very bizzare. "Do you want more?" : "Umm... yes?" Guys really into it, girls not so much. Crab that keeps coming back & gets stepped on. Music problems.
- Talking about the crazy American at Long Beach. His story, "adored" by community as he's lived there for a few years & bought them lots of stuff. Rich? GF is chief's daughter. "Seems proud of his story." Travelled & lived around the world?
- Very windy. Retired to dorm. Joined by 4 English from Korovu. Drink beer & chat until electricity off @ 10:30. Move beds as bed wet from rain blowing in. Try to close the wood shutters to keep rain & wind out. Afraid building will blow down (and shelter at eating place too).
- Photo of me in bed in mosquito net with lamp on.
- Low mosquito net. Toilet with detatched lid. Bath (a shallow tiled depression in floor).
- Roaring wind.
- Talk before bed. Complement of being nicest Asian person. "Mix of Chinese, Canadian, Kiwi." From the Dutch who seems to have strong opinions.
- Girl from Shetland: grandma's house always on post cards. White walls & red roof.

Photos available at:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 43

Day 43: (25 June 2011):
- Asked to fill water bottle after breakfast, but strange water taste, so no use.
- After breakfast: try to snorkel on Gold Coast beach. Told choppy & coral starts far out, no not too good.
- Swan past sea grass, colonies of reef appear.
- Lots of fish, possibly even bettor than Blue Lagoon. Bigger fish always swimming away. Clown fish defensive, bite too, live in anamone, baby clown fish look from inside. Must be careful with waves & current.
- Snorkeled between the different reef patches. Different fish communities.
- Return: string rings until lunch (~1hr). Then rest in hammock until new arrivals.
- Czech couple. Aus. mining guy stay in dorm. Monitors equipment aboard giant helicopter metal detector. Worked in Canada for 3 yrs. He pay $60: no booking. Everyone seems to get a different rate.
- Walk to Blue Lagoon & snorkel. Lots of fish. Strange large pouches that close when I fan water at it. More clown fish.
- Post card. Broken clock: "Fiji Time" written on it.
- Private property for cruise. Still patrolled even though no ship.
- Beautiful sunset, but I no bring camera: ship, golden seas, clouds, palm trees. View was even better on trail back. Talk about Cambodia & Laos. Convinced to go to Vang Vieng. Beautiful golden palm trees & cassava fields at sunset.
- Sit on bench, string rings & chat with Aus. before dinner. Knock on door @ 7pm to say dinner ready, but net served until later.
- Large taro piece at dinner. 2 beers. Told was kava, but then didn't happen. Apparently he's been talking about kava all day. They say run out?
- Gecko pee on Aus. Move tail when pee.
- Geckos move like dancing to music.
- Chat. Clouds roll in. Swollen foot from mosquito. Sleep ~10pm.

Photos available at:

Friday, June 24, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 42

Day 42: (24 June 2011):
- Wake up for early lunch @ 8am, due to Caves tour @9am.
- Picked up after 9. Had to pay extra $5 as he had no change. Glad to see 2 others in boat. Bring only snorkel mask & camera, glasses string & bandages in dry sac (no shirt). Stop on another island to pick up more.
- 30-40 min ride. Dodging waves, splashes. Some nice islands in lagoon with palm trees & hills. Dramatic cliffs start appearing.
- Land on beach. Stairs over rocks to cave. Quite a polished experience.
- After ducking head under some rocks, enter cave. Steps down to water.
- Cavern with vertical calls. Sky exposed at top.
- Water is quite deep: 5-10m?
- Apparently cave has eel & snapper: fresh & salt water respectively. Someone saw an eel.
- When guides arrive, go into next cave. Low tide, very easy. Not even fully under water. Opening is actually quite large, goes to bottom.
- Duck under, "swim towards the light." Bob up in a small tunnel, swim up a bit & large cave opens up.
- When everyone through, continue swim in cave. Reach a second opening: a vertical shaft. "Spitting cave," as spit in the opening & can near splash. When return, hotel person told me they recently found opening to sea. "New cave."
- Hang around a bit in cave & water outside before boarding.
- Stop coral view first, long wait as he gets fuel. He eating lunch?
- Coral View looked nice, jet skis & diving available.
- Keep meeting people from boat.
- New very red wound on leg.
- Dropped off last, just in time for lunch. Just me, say a couple arriving "so far."
- Walk to Blue Lagoon. Parts of trail quite overgrown. Problem for wound on foot. Beautiful views of blue lagoons, islands, palms on hills.
- Arrive in bay with big boats. Asked a person handling small boat of tourists about snorkelling. He said all OK, just don't go into Blue Lagoon Resort property.
- Water a bit murky: particles. At least no stingers.
- Lots of fish, coral has damaged sections (as LP wrote about).
- Clown fish. Try touch with foot. Looked defensive. Bite toe. Giant clams. A boat arrive, snorkel in pairs. HS group? "Bula" from a guide in water.
- Slow/long walk back. At least sun is less strong now.
- Shower, wash. String rings on beach until dark.
- Go to dining place with electricity: only one place setting! Turns out the couple decided to go to Safe Landing.
- Write & charge electronics.
- Dinner was just pineapple, cassava & sausauges & veges. Insect in gravey.
- Chat to dad of family: 2 generations, ~40 live on island. Complain of Awesome Adventures taking 30-50% commission. Special relation with Coral View? Bailed out of bankruptcy & take high commission? Complain that fuel is expensive, especially when people change their minds such as the couple.
- Also complain people on Bula passes just eat & sleep, while people from travel agent like me who do tours & activities. Also, my money goes straight to them, where Awesome Adventures takes a while to pay them.
- Talk about how running the "resort" is not too bad, as most building materials & food comes from the forest & gardens.
- Grab a beer & sit / lie on beach to watch stars. Unfortunately, layer of clouds around, but saw a shooting star & distant lights on Viti Levu (Naid & Lautoka?).
- Sit, write, read under the small lamp they provide. Quite cozy.
- Try to go get another beer @ 8:30, but generator was off, so assumed all went to bed.

Photos available at:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 41

Day 41: (23 June 2011):
- After breakfast: walk down to beach to find path to summit. See only path leading to houses. Then too lazy to ask. Lie on hammock under pandanus canopy & think about life & people. Was told sunset on peak was very beautiful by person I met at Gold Coast.
- For some reason, we were missed by the good-bye song. Waving from shore.
- Chat with French on boat. He gave me $5 to buy ice cream when they do not have change for $50.
- Met Canadian in Fiji for 3 weeks. 2nd to meet not coming through Aus. or NZ.
- Sail into the group of islands around Blue Lagoon. Apparently a famous Brooke Shields movie of the same name was shot here?
- Gold Coast was pretty much the last stop. Was getting worried & asked a few times.
- Met couple I saw at Taufua in Samoa.
- Met older women who visited Raro & Aitutaki & Tanu & Taufua.
- More scrum of boats. See Blue Lagoon Beach with large vessels & private yatchs.
- Light blue reefs. Many people think is beautiful, but nothing compared to Aitutaki.
- Fast & long-ish boat transfer to other side of island.
- Choppy. Looks like seagrass.
- 5 on boat.
- Ants like open wounds. Bite.
- Dorm has only 3 beds. Ensuite bathroom: no sink. Thatched roof, rope holding roof together.
- Show us big pig. Later see poop near dorms, from pigs?
- Empty, but meet couple who told me most people @ Blue Lagoon Beach.
- Walk along beach. Left: stop @ rocks before a corner. Met person who say used to be 4 hostels, now only 1. "No money.! Hostel rented by some org.
- Right: Climb over some volcanic rocks & boulders (some huge & look loose). Look around corner: cove with swampy mangroves(?).
- Walk back, notice sand contains many small shell rings. How formed? Think of shell money, then decide make a string of rings to keep me occupied. This is after sitting & watching the sea for a long time.
- Try find coconut, not much.
- Watch fish jumping.
- Sit & stoop on beach stringing shells until dark.
- In middle, take a break with Welsh to Lo's Tea House down beach: owned by person who runs hostel. Chocolate cake.
- Dinner included chunks of fish, including fins, tail, head. Fresh caught? Lots of geckos eating insects. Also included crab: two people saw large crabs last night in kitchen, apparently very large mud crabs. Westeners not ver happy with fish & crabs. Funny-tasting water. Other jug not a problem. Cleaning fluid taste.
- Drink a beer & chat.
- Beer can smell like fish.
- Back in room: I write under small lamp. Girls watch 1/2 of Rock 'n' Roller on laptop before bed.
- Very dark after turning lights out.

Photos available at:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 40

Day 40: (22 June 2011):
- Wake up tired for breakfast.
- 6 ppl for shark snorkelling. Small speedboat, very bumpy ride.
- Stop for catching a fish to feed sharks.
- Next stop: jump in water. Immediately see shark below. 1m reef (?) bull (?) sharks.
- Swim over, dive down to see sharks more closely.
- Guide scrape fish, attract sharks up. Grab them, bring them over so we can touch, some he lifts out of water & throws. They docile, feel smoother than expected.
- Dive down to see some coral "caves" where some sharks hide/swim through.
- "How do you go that deep?" Clearing ears trick helps lots.
- 2nd boat arrive, more people, sharks dive down. Leave a bit later.
- Popped blisters & open wounds from using fins too much. Infected cut on finger.
- Snorkel a bit, then sit & write journal. Lots of strangers. See clear jellyfish & rows of bubbles with black inside.
- Beach lunch. Fish again" seems like fish at every meal. Delicious chips/wedges.
- Nap on beach in shade. Relax in hammock. French guy join beside. Beer.
- Young coconut from tree.
- Watch boat arrive. Canadian & girls leave.
- Can't find anyone to do the summit walk with.
- More relax in hammock.
- Decide not do summit walk due to only me & some clouds & wounds on feet. Clouds clear up for sunset.
- After dinner entertainment was "coconut race." Knock coconut through door with one tied to waist.
- Bonfire on beach after. Quiet kind of overbearing American: Stanford business grad school.
- Wind taking sparks away from glowing embers was quite pretty. Nice stars.
- Join for kava inside. Get small bowls while others have large. They look at my photos then take pictures. Ask me & Americas to pay. 10 bags of kava each, $10. Bill say something after we agree, hear "America" and "China," then the people playing instruments chant something. Thanking for kava? French & I leave ~10pm. American stay until 1am. French tell me asking for things in Fiji is not rude. He gave some rum to the people before.

Photos available at:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 39

Day 39: (21 June 2011):
- Shark tour cancelled due to only me interested. Offer free snorkel gear, I take fins.
- Walk through a forest trail to secluded beach for snorkelling. Nice views, mountains. Cove. Waves. Mostly rocky beach.
- Very murkey, better farther out. ~10m deep. Very tall coral towers & mounds. Fish not skittish. Each coral mound has group of fish. When murkier, large shadows of coral in distance intimidating. Can see silt spreading through bottom portion of some coral.
- Walk back: Shed by path: generator on.
- More snorkel at main beach. Easy diving with fins, but fins too big, feet hurt. Boat arrive while I snorkel.
- Walk down to see dome-shaped hill with chunks missing from dome. Chat with some new arrivals.
- Play with sand: broken shell fragments & pumice.
- Lunch outside. Nap. Relax & write in hammock. Walk to other side: waves.
- More relaxing in hammock.
- Walk over to watch sunset. Tiny path to pier? Dips in water. Waves. Pounding kava. Met couple from Belgium, only people to come directly from Europe & not through Aus/NZ.
- Talk to Swedish girl travelling alone, but found travel buddy in Nadi.
- Change to pants for kava welcoming ceremony.
- No photos allowed. No talking. Put shell forward, drink for "chief" & "talking chief."
- Then drink & take photos. Traditional dress for people performing ceremony.
- Fijian food cooked in umu. Delicious smoky taste. Spinach or taro leaf? Spinach?
- Rain start just after dinner.
- Traditional performances. Nice beat with bamboo tubes. Welcome & good-bye song. Men's hunting (?) fighting (?) dances were cool: switch from slow to fast. Remind me Japanese stuff for some reason. Notice some had the sickly coconut smell. "coconut people" popped into my head.
- More dancing together. All shake hands.
- Announcer dramatic voice.
- Chat a while outside until notice some tourists in the place where they drank kava.
- They say welcome to join. I sit, French travelling alone invite me join him. Chat in Chinese. He say he love China & Chinese language, culture. Want live there? Study 3yr Chinese in France & 3 month in China.
- Drink ~1 giant kava bowl, 2[3 large shells, ~10 small shells. Clap, bula each drink. Person giving clap, some others clap before & after drink. "Bula my stomach".
- Drink until past 11pm. Shirt off: hot, they say OK. Notice here, wearing shorts is more offensive in some places than not wearing shirt. Same with other Pacific islands.
- Music, sea, stars & moonrise. Talk together.
- Electricity still on when get back, so start charging & go to bed.
- Kava here only grows on main island: inland. Too hot to grow here.

Photos available at:

Monday, June 20, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 38

Day 38: (20 June 2011):
- Wake up ~4:30 to lots of mosquitos.
- Catch bus @ 6:45, Fi tell me get off in front, not inside the airport.
- Feel like in India. Indian bus driver, names of organisations in sign, passengers. Paper bus ticket. Indians have straight hair, Fijians have curly, mostly fros.
- Get off at station, met Maryanne (?) fr. Quebec. Chat. 7:20 bus turns from airport, doesn't even pass station. Someone told us another coming. Bus seems to go through random streets & middle of nowhere, but arrive. Cool luggage store in back: wood door with lots of stickers.
- Check in & drop off luggage. Cruise out of wharf.
- Pass by many small islands, including notorious Beachcomber, now only a shadow of former glory.
- Reach Yasawas. Vomo (?), volcanic ash aggregations, hills & beaches. Very scenic. Cozy.
- See what could be Kuata in distance. It is. Apparently Castaway was filmed on a beach around here? Dramatic volcanic plugs, beaches, forests on Kuata & Wayalailai. Scramble of 3 boats. Say bye to Marianne. Only person to get on Kuata boat.
- Welcome song & "bula." "Special dorm": only bld. on beach! 7 beds. Bathroom. Only a trickle of water, but flush toilet with basin filled using trickle from shower. Other than that inconvenience, the place was great, and privacy is also cool.
- Lunch: only about 1/2 dozen people.
- Snorkel: standard antler coral, good fish. Go beyond, dropoff, ~5m deep. Great coral towers, very clear water.
- Relax in hammock. Chat with a local. Watch spectacle of sending guests away. Boats waiting then chasing down arriving ferry, then welcome song. Girls arrive.
- Dinner conch. Poking gecko, run up leg. "Don't poke the gecko lesson. Can. girl's story of catching gecko & tail fall off. Strange dancing games. "Drop it like it's hot" to DJ in very monotone. Apparently this is quite common in these "resorts." One girl in Canadian.
- Try the 2 beers during dinner. Chat with Canadian, but tired: go to sleep @ 10. Others talking outside. Local men sit in the hut over beach drink kava. We welcome to join, but didn't.
- Skin probs -> many people have. I had swollen finger in morning.

Photos available at:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 37

Day 37: (19 June 2011):
- On descent, see outline of reef & small islands with lights in the dark dawn.
- View of town & airport. Pass by downtown Nadi. More modern than expected.
- Friendly. Call out my name, guided to office then wait for Jit.
- ATM. Old taxi: but high clearance, speed over some giant potholes.
- See mountains of garden of sleeping giant. Man & woman giant.
- Sugar cane fields.
- Arrive in village & knock. Fi away, back afternoon. Api let me in. He groggy.
- Breakfast of tea & breakfast biscuits. Nap.
- Nap, write, read, talk until about 2pm. Often interrupted by people purchasing from home canteen. Lunch of chicken, noodles, cassava.
- People just lie down on grass mats in main room. Told me to take my pillow & nap in main room rather than my bed as room was too hot!
- Ask about etiquette. Say don't worry for tourists. Locals can't wear shorts on Sunday.
- Short walk around village. Basic but well kept church. Grass town square nice. Coast: see shore in distance, lots of rock fields on shore. Afraid to walk into private property. Hut near chief's house with giant kava (yaquona) bowl. Chief's house in a very tall bure. Well maintained. Shells on poles? Glass windows? Modern bure?
- Get back from 5 min walk, Fi is home with the small daughter.
- Popsicle. Chat. Arrange my schedule. Turns out she has quite a good business booking tours for Couchsurfers (only). Some bookings through Facebook as well. Main source of income. Interesting use of CS. Will stay again day before flight. Decide give  the F$49 worth of rum as gift (before know of business). Hope she's not overcharging on commission too much!
- I smell like coconut for some reason (for a few days). (Maybe cassava?)
- She nap. I check exceedingly slow internet. Change flights.
- Go to neighbouring house: kava welcome ceremony. Clap, drink, "bula."
- Kava mixed in cut open fishing float on tire. Old cloth & bucket. Sit on floor on grass mats. Dark walls. Other room, people lounge & watch TV.
- Fijian medicine, chew leaves & wrap with paper & ripped plastic bag on arm: treat boil.
- Kids run around. Teach me card game. Store: sell, count money, etc.
- I leave @~10:30 to sleep, others go on until 2am.

Photos available at:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 36

Day 36: (18 June 2011 (-1 in time zone)):
- 8 People go to Namu'a. Pile into a Rav 4. 3 sit in trunk with legs dangling out.
- Nice village of Lalomanu. Lots of people wave.
- Find dock for island fale / resort. Long wait, then tiny boat slowly come to dock.
- Everyone go in tiny metal dinghey. Clear shallow water. Possible turtle and then confirmed turtle: very large, swim away fast when we slow to circle.
- Land on beach. 4 friendly & healthy-looking dogs. Follow us everywhere.
- Hike up: small trail. Dogs lead way. Left jandals at steep section.
- A few nice views. See Americas Samoa. Cliffs. Trail ends suddenly.
- Slippery hike back. Sweaty shirt. Snorkel: Look for turtles, but none. Went quite far out to a clear blue channel. Lots of coral closer to shore.
- Meal drum. Coconut, starchy bananas. Grilled chicken, salad. Most did not eat banana, found strange. many not familiar with Polynesian food.
- Talk to the kayakers (from Tafua), who arrived just before lunch. They point to to where they saw a turtle. I decide snorkel in that direction, but not as for.
- Lower tide: water getting murkey. No turtles. Worried sunburn.
- No one around when return. Think they go far walk.
- I walk around to other side of island, see few others in distance.
- Blue pools, lava rocks, cliffs, waves. Nice view of other island & shore (mainland).
- Greeted by dogs on return. Soon a few fast people arrive.
- They swim, I go back to take photos. Fish in tidal pools (some jump between pools), crabs. Dogs (2) accompany me on way out.
- Back: relax. See one with coconut. I open it with much effort. Drill hole with coral: almost through. Last drill" coral break, jammed in hole!
- Pay & return. I pay surprise 10 for parking.
- No electricity! Working on line. Relax in fale & write. Sunset. Enjoy beach fale before leaving.
- Some people from Tanu beach here.
- Fiasco of Mepa try to undercut Wayne for airport. Wayne not happy so we still go with them.
- Realised the crazy nasty drunk person shouting insults at Mepa the other day may have been the white person hanging out with Wayne.
- Drink & wait. Aus. who went to the trench, regulars & Ravi. Giant clam.
- Ride time keep changing. Leave at 10:30pm.
- Pancakes: $1 from 80 cents: supplier "changed his price."
- Fiafia next door, but I didn't go. Many went. Apparently told next door does not like us using their beach. So many issues in Lalomanu.
- Longest drive ever: 2.5 hours. Top speed: 40k/h. 50 on large roads. Samoan music.
- Meet the girls from Tanu @ airport. Try sleep.
- Meet guy from (sports? culture? health?) Ministry going to Asia Pacific forum meeting in Korea/Thailand? He chat once in a while. Pat me on head when time to go in.
- Postcard, toothpaste, eat 2 of the pancakes.
- Samoa soon changed their date. (Not Am. Samoa)
- Half asleep on short flight. Served breakfast after takeoff: very early.

Photos available at:

Friday, June 17, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 35

Day 35: (17 June 2011 (-1 in time zone)):
- Chat a bit after breakfast. Bumped into Russian (that someone mentioned earlier) going to airport at similar time. Regulars say one sleepwalked. Once he woke up & night & was in the ocean!
- Develop habit of jumping off fale to exit, instead of going through sheet.
- Samoan pancake.
- Tell Mepa stay other fale. She says she paid for my 2 nights already. Won't let me have only the 2 dinners: "no." So have to pay extra 30 for meal. Cash low.
- 2x snorkel. Different directions. Look for turtle. Water so clear.
- Meet Wayne (owner of cheap fales): opened curtain when he on toilet. Talk when I pee. He offer hand when he come out, I shook it otherwise rude? No sink in toilet: I use Taufa for brush teeth.
- Write & sit rest of time. Read LP for Fiji & wait for Wayne to discuss taxi.
- Beer from regular: too much on tab.
- Possibility of trip to Namu'a tomorrow?

Photos available at:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 34

Day 34: (16 June 2011 (-1 in time zone)):
- Find 3 Aus. Mom & child go to To Sua. Move stuff out of room.
- Van stop at now hilltop house & guesthouses. Many graves of family's tsunami victims. Quick tour of facilities. Nice view. Say can see Am. Samoa. Thank us for staying.
- To Sua: 2 sinkholes. ladder down to swimming one not as bad as I thought. Strong currents. Look for hole connecting it to ocean, not found, didn't want to get too close. Swim through darker short cave to other sinkhole. Ferns. Explore tiny spring in small cave.
- Blowhole: not really going at low tide. Spurt of air & some drops. "Guide" stand in blowhole.
- Walk barefoot across lava rocks. Slip once, but caught. Lava rock bridges & holes to water below. Beautiful coast & coral below. Waves crashing over rocks. Did not visit beach.
- Move to neighbouring fales reluctantly. Supposedly related: Maybe falling out or unhappy with them charging less? Beachfront fale. Idyllic, but plastic sheets as with other fales. A bit difficult to put down, bad knots. One had Aus. gov. tarp. From tsunumi aid?
- Post card. Snorkel: much destroyed reef & rubbish. Re-growing fish. Discover flipping while snorkeling.
- Talk with some "regulars" at bar fale. Hear about how much tsunami affected here. Sadness of people, etc. Nice moonrise.
- Owner family lost 12? Fale & dining hall completely rebuilt as destroyed. Beach steeper so waves louder. Reclaimed sand as sand was washed away. Much reef destroyed. 1m less reef now.
- Fiafia was more professional. Crayfish that was difficult to eat. One muscular guy (lead?) tired, I was worried. Pained look on face. Very good woman dancing. Short firedance. Collection box.
- Women singing on ukelele, guitar. Drink & listen.
- Sleep late. Loud waves make sleep difficult.

Photos available at:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 33

Day 33: (15 June 2011 (-1 in time zone)):
- Crab & dog tracks in sand.
- Confirm tickets at ferry terminal: passenger sales not open until 11am for 12pm ferry.
- Go to waterfall for quick look. 3 tiers of clear blue pools. Water still flowing from spring, but main waterfall in dry. Vine swings & ledges to jump off of. Would be a fun day there. The Aus (Jarra) arrive in a van, with others, swim as we leave for ferry.
- Wait for 1 hr. Tickets. The pocket pastry with noodles & meat inside. $1 for me when I went, $2 for Brits when they went. $1.5 banana chips. I feel overcharged. Buy new jandals. Adidas on top, Quicksilver on bottom. Coconut truck with strong smell.
- Walk on small ferry to get spot. 2nd deck, sunny side, as boat will turn around.
- Strong rocking, pitching. Water splash over on to cars.
- Drive along southern road. Hill & views. Very small road. Slow cars, slow down & weave for bumps & potholes. Kids "off school" the whole day.
- Near Lalomanu: dramatic hills. Destroyed houses & fales from tsunami (noticed later).
- See 3 fale signs. Only found 2. Apparently 3rd one, cheapest was at shop across road.
- Share fale: 90. Nick: old man complaining about the place, but good advice for area.
- Nice moon. Good meal. Share at table. The Brits go To Sua, but want last day together.
- Sleep in enclosed fale, quiet. Sheltered from wind.

Photos available at:

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 32

Day 32: (14 June 2011 (-1 in time zone)):
- Breakfast: overhear then join conversation with old tattoo artist who claims he did Mike Tyson and some other Hollywood people. Here often: Last year: 3mo. This yr: 3 mo. Next fear: 6 mo. He has many tattoos on his face.
- Talk about plans. Rental car check. Notice Tanu Beach Fales sign with high chief.
- Decide go to Dwarf's Cave with Jarra, the Aus. He went to the mysterious "the wedding" many people apparently knew about.
- Ask about lava field, told to go ask for Tama - high chief. Happened to others too! Palangi [sic] breaking fa'a Samoa, inside joke for them?
- Get taxi with Jarra. Wait at open fale at entrance. Talk to tattoo artist about flights.
- Rough road to cave. 30 taxi. 20 entrance. Long walk down rocky road covered by horse poop.
- Guide saying 5 min or 1 min: much longer! No hills around, wonder if this is a joke! Get to patch of grass with depression. Hole inside.
- I get immediately lost in cave. Side entrance: steep slope to join a large tunnel.
- Walk down to pool. Steep to get down in. Climb. Good handholds. See cave continue other side.
- Bats or swiftlets overhead, making noise. Climb out. 10 for photos, go back.
- Told that there are 5 pools. Can go all the way to ocean. One day trek each way. (Info may be inaccurate due to poor English). 10 for each pool.
- Walk back: teach Samoan words. Joined part way by kid on horse.
- Walked to main road & store. Use breadfruit leaf for shade.
- Shasta orange. He buy hot good bread. Kids returning beer bottles for instant noodle. Ask for money. Jarra buy noodles & give money. He try talk to many, but kids have poor English. Michael Jackson, they did not know. I try not to give money.
- Missed bus (before he try buy for kids). Walk, more kids ask for money. Good church.
- Waved taxi down to go back. He buy bread first. 15 tala. Talk about village. Schools are government-run, but still charge 20 / term for kids.
- Short snorkel on return. Coral OK, but very strong thermocline, so con't see clearly. Fish are skiddish.
- Go with Germans to lava field. Call taxi, same driver. 20 each way + 10 waiting. Realised did not settle with Germans at Lalomanu when writing.
- 5 each admission at "information fale." Really is just the two items. Church: just walls remaining, lava flow patterns around & in doors. Virgin's grave: deep hole in lave, leave "grave" untouched. Cool flow patterns around. Trees growing through. Two ladies showing us around ask if we single. Then joke the virgin is also single. Driver eating red berries from pod (maybe this was actually poumere?)
- Return: offer to stop at swimming turtles. Decide to skip, after reading about it in LP.
- Return: walk along coast & long swim in ocean. Wash shirt, shower, all clean.
- Dinner included oka! Tasty & fresh. Arrange ride to Lalomanu with Brits.
- Big hermit crab.
- Couple from wedding there.
- "Streetlamp" by fale was also kind of ugly.

Photos available at:

Monday, June 13, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 31

Day 31: (13 June 2011 (-1 in time zone)):
- Wake up to small splotches of sunlight coming in through the grass blinds. Meal bells (wait for those every day). Hearty breakfast, marmite always popular. Much fruit.
- Arranged last night: go with Brits to waterfall & blowholes.
- Stop in ferry terminal for them to book car. Westpac ATM. Waterfalls closed (Sunday): stones across road. On the drive over, past lava fields. Houses & gardens perched on lava (on stilts, as usual).
- Terrible inaccurate map. Jasons.
- A few blowholes in lava field. 3 main clusters. Can go right up to them & look in. Very impressive. Waves not very big, but still shoots 10s of metres in air. Photos difficult!
- Go to Aganoa resort for lunch. Very nice small beach in cove, surrounded by rocky coastline.
- Fish & chips. Very little fish. Beer (Sunday) (same price as a can of pop).
- Many surfers there. Surfari? Reef breaks off coast.
- Snorkle: nice fan-shaped coral. Strongish current. Fish. Relax & leave.
- Ice cream stop: very pink ice cream.
- On radio: Sunday church songs. "No Jesus no life." Talking interspersed with music.
- Story about terrible star mound tour. Nothing there. Point. Fall and kids laugh. Shallow water pit. Possible shapes?
- Cocktails, happy hour at Jane's. Rain, double rainbow.
- Giant wasp.
- Dinner: talk to Germans about plans for next day & play card game with some NZ girls & Germans. One German drunk, his birthday. Drank 1 btl rum between them.

Photos available at:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 30

Day 30: (12 June 2011 (-1 in time zone)):
- Nick leave 8:15 to volunteer: trash pick-up with schools & gov. agencies.
- Shower, Internet, until Tau & friends show up.
- Nick drive me to lunch (loco moco) @ 12:15 or so, then to airport. No security check. Weighing includes me (was this the flight?).
- Board plane. Attendant greet me by name. Sit on row 1.
- No quarantine check, just x-ray, no questions even when I declared on sheet.
- Taxi ask 20, drop to 10 when I say too much & walk. Guy behind he was talking to say 10 almost as he said 20.
- Big ferry. A/C deck. Lion King. Talk to some Palangi [sic] & Am. Samoan helping them. Didn't offer me ride: car full? Pointed out the bus I take.
- Nice view of islands. Apollima (?) really is a ring of cliffs with opening.
- Can see the islands from both shores across water.
- Leave ferry late. Full buses pulling away. Ask person in vest, point me to Manase bus. I jump on. Very full. Stand. 3 ppl ask me where I go. Person peeing under bus at a stop. People hanging from doors. Eventually, I got offered a seat in front. Driver drive very fast. Drive down middle of road.
- Arrive when dark. Got fale. Dinner in 5 min. Fiafia tonight.
- Sandy beach. Palm & banana trees. Very cozy fale. (leaky) mosquito net. Light bulb. Straw mats. Straw blinds. Thin foam mattress.
- Bell call to dinner. Good variety. Meet people. People banging their heads on low awning.
- Fiafia with family. Guitar, wood slot drum & metal sheet as instruments.
- This time, take much less seriously. Had a lot of fun. Good show. The cheif lei & paint soot on face & kiss performers before going on. Oiled tattoos. Fire dance. Close to audience.
- Many similar moves & fire tricks as other fiafia. Torch of feet impressive.
- Yelling competition.
- Dance by chief's daughter? Family seemed to have lots of fun performing.
- Dance party at end (ask single). I keep getting dragged up to dance. Try learning Samoan moves.
- Person I dance with: Grease. She dance well, turn into competition. "High chief loves Grease." Dance 3x. Last time same song even when almost everyone says different. Reward 3/6 pairs small beer.
- Last dance: slow dance. "Are you single?" "So am I." "What kind of gf?" "Samoan? The other Brit say her dance partner: "We meet?" "no" "you have bf?" "no" all dance long.
- Family noise, geckos, ocean noise as fall asleep in fale. Too bad my fale not on beach, guess family noise is more authentic Samoan experience.

Photos available at:

Saturday, June 11, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 29

Day 29: (11 June 2011 (-1 in time zone)):
- Wake up, breakfast - lucky charms. Ride into town. Drop off Tau first. Nick has nice commute on road along ocean. Some waves look nice to surf. Show me his USDA office. In Pago Plaza, along with many other US Gov. orgs. Used to be shopping centre before tsunami. Showed me tsunami damage, boat in destroyed bld. next door. Say co-worker's jar wedged in 2nd floor.
- Wait far bus. Nick call: $1.50 -> $2.00. First one didn't see me wave (I started a bit late?). Got 2nd bus. Total wait ~1hr (more?).
- Same pop songs. A truck (pick up truck") stripped, with wooden carriage built. Intricate, windows, carvings, lights, stereo system. Can see road between wooden boards. Knock to stop. Wooden seats nailed to weed beams on floor.
- Past the two tuna factories. Workers in white robes & hats. Large factory complex.
- Beautiful beaches & coves along the way. Some quite busy. Small islands & steep islets.
- Look for, but didn't see, Tisa's. Must be well hidden. Impressed at accuracy of map.
- At ferry wharf, talk to kids (who had a tattoo - non traditional (lion)).
- Small boat slowly makes its way into the wharf.
- Surprisingly rocky trip. Ask $3 (kid) then I say should be $1 - kid says special boat, as only me. Driver ask $2, not $1, so I pay $2.
- Crystal clear blue harbour.
- No guide at wharf. One guy try get me pay $6 for his two kids to walk me around, says they speak good English, but they don't answer when I ask if they speak English. With coaxing in Samoan from dad, they say some poor English, so I turn them down & walk.
- Asked directions, but stopped when see volleyball net across road. Dive tanks as bells: many villages like this. For tsunami, according to Peter. Also for saa? Nice village - with chruch, many houses set in grass if not on road.
- Peter greet me from house. Good English, offer show me around. Claims to be rescue diver, was in army & in States for a few years.
- I ask how much, he says "Give whatever you want." I offer $10, he says long way, etc. But I say I hear 6-8 is good. Still not sure if he was offering to show me around as friend or as business. One of his dogs, Whiskey, follow.
- Quicksand area looks like bog. Any ideas of putting my foot in are cancelled. Step on roots for better view. Peter says he fishes for tilapia here. Only him fishes here.
- Small beach with sea arch & waves. Peter says he sets up camping trips sometimes.
- Walk up overgrown area. He points out his old gardens.Trail not as good as LP indicates.
- Up to "new village" & tsunami evacuation area. Some houses, new water tower.
- See lake with eels. Apparently very deep. Did not get closer, Peter says overgrown. Say can see Manu'a islands from there on a good day.
- Down through new evac road: blocking water flow, destroying taro fields. One side flooded, one side dry.
- Lead through taro fields to avoid stray dogs. Sugar cane. Point out different taros & plants.
- Well.
- Very nice garden grass road leads back to village.
- Ice tea, gave lemongrass. Nice views from his house. Blue water, island. Large house. Inventive dive flag & mystery "taro" in pile (very special, takes long time to grow under pile).
- $10: his response "some pop for the kids."
- Wait at ferry. Pictures of beautiful blue harbour.
- Peter tell is $1 for boat.
- Peter has traditional Samoan tattoos. Say set record with only 3 days.
- Back on ferry with people building water tank. Wait for gas.
- Confusion + ask: somehow I didn't pay (so $2 r.t.). Get off through other boat.
- Bus to Tisa's. Knock to stop bus. $1. No one around. Eventually someone (Tisa?) shows up. Vailima $4. Nick says he has to stay @ work longer: to 4-4:30. No more hike to waterfall.
- Nice bar complex. Accommodations too? Patios overlooking beautiful bay. Although beach is very small & wavy, although there are active & jumping / chasing fish in water. Can see from bar.
- Small lizards / guppies(?) on rock, washed by waves & rising tide.
- Birds with long tails flying around.
- Meet American doing (cultural) survey work for fiber optic line. Private cultural sensativity company. Have lived here before. Gave ride back to Pago. Say saw sleeping dog get run over (someone backing out of driveway and obviously saw it there - think it was OK). She carries rocks in pockets for dogs. Was bitten once before. Tell me kids test boundaries in Samoa.
- Just as we arrive in town, Nick calls. 3x good timing with Nick.
- Pick up Tau. Go to shop. Then Cost-U-Less, which people call Cost-U-More. Big Costco-like place. Hope we won't be "Saa'ed."
- Buy beer from local store. 1 of each.
- Dinner party: 3 from Brown. Apparently a famous researcher in Am. Samoa.
- Learn to open coconut, grate coconut & squeeze out the milk with fibres. Pulasami [sic] in pot. Not as good as baked.
- Tau leave for bowling alley, which is apparently like a club in Pago.
- Lots of palangi. Uli dog (watch so not attack kid). Thing thrown at house (noise?). Bed @ 12.

Photos available at:

Friday, June 10, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 28

Day 28: (10 June 2011 (-1 in time zone)):
- Get ready to leave @ 7am. No one in office. Wave down taxi: try sell ride to airport. Go to InterIsland office.
- Samoan with wife in Am. Sam. show up. Say he also looking for shuttle. Wait in office when opened.
- Talk with him about Sam. vs. Am. Sam. Say Samoans jealous, does not support each other and business.
- Had to ask to realize van ready to leave is shuttle. Eventually, van fills with employees.
- Guy helps me through everything. Try to look after me. Offer me Samoan pancakes he brings for family.
- Security removes my water bottle.
- Plane is new plane: Dornier - where is this company from? Seat near front, as usual.
- "Flight to Pago-Pago."
- Rain. Lots of turbulence. Pilot: "That's the best we can do." Mountains & view on landing.
- Don't have village name of Nick, but OK. Pay phones don't work. American cartoon on TV.
- Employee offer their phone, no answer. Tell guy leaves, he wait for me. Directed to airline office.
- They call & leave message. I wait. Chat to flight attendant.
- Just as they about to call again, Nick calls in. Will pick me up in ~40 min. Write journal.
- Just as packing up, Nick comes in. Lunch at Coca Bean, in small mall. American food. Drop stuff at his place, Flower Pot (never got a chance to take photo), dropped in Fagatogo. Small museum. Random stuff with no labels. A/C.
- Walk around. Very nice mountains, reef & deep water. Bats.
- Bump into ppl. celebrating graduation. Ask me take photo. Offer me drink. Walk around villages. Cool church & apparently famous mural on admin bld.
- Go to Sadie's. Post card. Nick arrive. $3 beers (2): wait for Taufa (Nick's flatmate to finish Samoan rowing). Nice outside area with view.
- Eat Pizza Hut (on me). Chat (with Taufa - Tau) & sleep.
- Tired: not much sleep the day before.

Photos available at:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 27

Day 27: (9 June 2011 (-1 in time zone)):
- Breakfast @ 9am. Chat with a Canadian who sailed from Raro to here. So many of them. See a Spanish couple.
- Very hot outside already. Buy water bottle (in a relatively large supermarket). Walk through market. Pretty large, different sections: produce, crafts, small cooking stations to buy prepared food.
- Bus station: many buses. Decorated, open. Loud music.
- Town centre. Bank & large building with symbolic Fale cool. Clock tower. Buses zooming around.
- Tourist office. A/C. Talk & plan, get maps & bus / ferry schedule info. "Big museum?" - "Yes."
- NZ family (talk to). Walk to museum. Road very nondescript. Complex (school?). one building is museum. Three small rooms, different levels of A/C. Very through tour. American guy (was peace corps, but married local & looking to move here.). Painted tires. A few from the sunken ship. a few German artifacts.
- Walk along back roads. Village-like. A few very modern buildings, funded by various agencies (UN agencies).
- Kids ride bike past me, say "give us money (?)." This seem to happen very often in Samoa, but most don't even wait for a response before leaving. Walk to water. Cool-looking church.
- People climbing up tall coconut trees - clearing for safety?
- Snorkeling at Palolo reserve. Small fins from Barbara (German). Swim to across a depression with fish. Dive down for look. Pressure on ears. Swim to stick: shallow full coral. Warm waters.
- Talk with Barbara, invite to travel/explore together. Give name of place I stay in Savai'i (Tanu Beach).
- After dry, realise shower. So do and re-dry.
- Pick up Barbara from Aggie Grey's. Walk. Small memorials made of stone.
- Fish market (closed). Flea market: meet a woman from hotel. Get a very large ice cream together. Talk. They both go back to hotel. I continue on walking tour.
- Pretty much nothing around parliament & courts. Large mausoleum & court. Nice park along water before. German memorial, excuse to take photo of small houses. Tiny parliament. Old parliament was almost a joke! "Take my picture" guy.
- Univ. of Samoa campus. Nice coconut grove. Road deteriorates, impassable. Nice tombs.
- Taxi to post office. Ask 4. No change. 3.50 OK.
- Sit outside Aggie Grey's watch sunset. Kid try sell, ask one tala, ask how much pen is when I refuse.
- Meet Barbara for fiafia at Aggie Grey's.
- Slapping dances very impressive, covered in sweat. Jokey part? Got pulled up to dance at end. Didn't want to, but insist, so go. Old man that doesn't want to leave.
- Old woman (ancestor of Aggie Grey?) go up & get lei. Presentation strange. Person slapping, make strange sounds, gets stood on. Remind me of crazy savage person in cartoon.
- Fire dance, many problems. Tricks quite good & fast. Drop baton under grass frills of drums. One end flung off & land in garden. One dropped in pool, etc. Hilarious.
- Many jump in pool after dance. Must feel good & refreshed after hard workout in hot & humid weather.
- Dinner: mix of European & Samoan. Raw fish oka not as good. Run out of hotel-made ice cream. Drizzle starts at end of dinner. Liked pulasami [sic.] again. Delicious papaya dish (starch in papaya sauce?). Sea urchin strange. Buffet line keeps changing directions. Guitarists sing to each table then try sell CD.
- Taxi back to wrong Tatiana's! Try sell, charge 10, sell hotel, etc. Take another taxi to motel.
- See Niue guy, didn't get address. Strange comments about rough day, jump the gun, on the law.
- Low sleep night. Mosquito & lots of noise throughout night.
- "Don't worry, it will be OK" when asking about how to get to airport.

Photos available at:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 26

Day 26: (8 June 2011 (-1 in Samoa)):
- Land 20 min early @ 4:25. Wait & go to domestic terminal at 5am for Internet (free).
- Back to international, as see shuttle when exit. Drinking fountain.
- Get on bus: 6:40-7:30 to town. BK breakfast.
- 8:30 try to find Logan at school. No one in GD either. See some ppl @ school & on way to work.
- 9:00 doctors, call in @ 9:15. Poked lump with needle. Nothing came out. Say just a solid cyst as is smooth & not attached to skin. Waterproof dressing.
- Logan says OK to go his place. Go: Internet, cut nails, etc. Forgot to refill toothpaste. Felix say will try to book tickets.
- Lunch. Bad traffic & late start: get to airport 1.5 hrs before take-off. Standard carry-on tricks. Pat-down search again.
- Read LP on flight. Arrive a bit early.
- Exit: immediately accosted by taxi drivers. Find shuttle for 25. ATM. down to 990 (?). 1680 then 1280. Afraid will eat card.
- Airport remind me India. Busy, hot, open, humid, dark skin. Accosted by people. Seems like Samoa will be very different - like a real 3rd world country. One taxi tell me Seaside Hotel closed.
- Ask about dogs: "Dogs like white legs."
- Shuttle back: Driver talk a lot. Say he's the head of some kind of tourism committee. Slowed to point out his house in the dark. Talk about how Samoa in the cleanest of islands. "Samoans love to paint rocks" evenly spaced rocks in white along road. He try to get them to do something more "natural." like gardens. Only white, because Samoans "love bright colours." Tell me Seaside closed, so recommend Tatiana's. Guess taxi driver was not lying after all!
- See lots of traditional wall-less fales. Houses were also very open. Surprised.
- Mix of steering wheel sides due to recent change.
- People walking around shirtless, shoeless. Disproportionately large churches.
- Motel like hostel. Room with 2 beds. 70 for 2 or 50 for just me.
- Meet Peter(?): from Samoa, but living with wife in Niue. Invite me stay with him in Niue. Drive me to find food. Chinese takeaway: taro, banana, some beef thing, ribs that are mostly strips of fat. Back: offered BBQ (burnt) & Samoan coco.
- Family here for surprise party & others visiting. Sit & try Vailima beer. Sleep.
- Use beer bottle to store boiled water.
- Loud outside.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 25

Day 25: (7 June 2011 (-1 in time zone)):
- Jeff leave in morning for his sailing trip (worried about being seasick). Whether still windy, but a bit warmer & more sun (until afternoon).
- No internet: Queen's birthday. Found breakfast in store: $1 buns & $1 papaya.
- Move out of room. Wait for North American couple back from walk, prepare, etc.
- With couple & Polish guy, walk to Pacific Resort to swim across to island. Very strong current, some fish on bottom. Lots of people due to lagoon cruises. Couple say empty yesterday (Sunday).
- Explore island a bit. Nice views of main island & ocean. Colour changes in channel beautiful.
- Lie in sun for a bit. Dragged over tables. Told to drag back when cruise arrive.
- Snorkel.
- Walk on difficult stones. Find coconut to break. Coconut taste buttery.
- Told not to sit at table close to coconut breaking demo. Guy try to watch.
- Told to pick up "rubbish" (coconut pieces / filament) on beach. "Don't like being yelled at on my paradise island."
- Snorkel back. More fish in channel.
- Shower, wash clothes. Sit around. Kitesurfers to watch.
- Polish go for walk. Try find viewpoint.
- Germans go to other side, look for less wind & more sun.
- Go with Mark from NZ, look for chips. Found at Pacific Resort.
- Eventually, find dinner - everything closed but expensive restaurants. Buy tinned Wattie's pasta with sausage & beer from Mr. Woo. Stalky, short, tattoo. Friendly. Talk in Chinese. From SH, Raro 13 yrs, want move back. Say island people very nice but stupid, marry cousins. Ridiculous 200K deposit for visitors from China. Work for 10/hr, was 7 in supermarket. Only 5 or 6 Chinese on island, including his family of 4. Few Chinese visitors.
- Drink, talk. People go to bed one by one. Talk to British couple also leaving.
- Nap 1hr in lounge, lights off, lie down on padded benches. Mosquitos keep awake.
- The strange bus lady. Pacific Blue then Air NZ flights at airport. Nap (try) & wait.
- $55 departure tax. Sticker with simple child-like pictures.
- Old guy serenade as we board. "Back to the cold." "Don't look so sad" song.
- Seat reclined only a bit. Mostly sleepless night. Turbulence.
- Apparently Aggie Grey's & a stretch of beaches on south coast are all closed for filming of Survivor.

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Monday, June 6, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 24

Day 24: (6 June 2011 (-1 in time zone)):
- Woke up @7. Lie in bed until 9.
- Read the LP of South Pacific someone left. Talk to the new arrivals.
- Pay at past 11. Go for walk north, Polish & Canadian Jeff join. Walk by Te Vara Nui.
- Vaka departure site, palace, etc: Nothing there!
- Nice road, calm, sound of ocean, view of mountains & fields.
- Long talk with Jeff. Realise why he is a bit different: he is 55 years old! I would have guessed 30-35 (thinking back, that's a low guess). Food, eating, exercise, societal expectations. He say he is black sheep of family. Sikh family, Calgary.
- Pass by the coffee factory. Polish guy leave earlier to try mountain trail? Milkshake.
- Back, watch basketball game, Dallas & Miami. Team the Germans rooting for lost 86-88.
- Between game, walk along beach north. Island very close, saw person walking! Chest-deep.
- Keep bumping into people I met throughout stay in Raro.
- Lounge around, chat. Sit & stare at ocean. Simple dinner. Went to stores, only canned food so bought panini. Enough fried foods. Ask where German get alcohol: "My friend": Mr. Woo, store owner who told one person he was from Shanghai & another: Japan. Usually, no alcohol on Sunday. Sails restaurant also sells alcohol after 6pm. Just read LP & sit & some talk for rest of night.

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 23

Day 23: (5 June 2011 (-1 in time zone)):
- Return bike. Leave ~8:10am. Tom puts lei on me. Short chat. Tom say grew up here. Not much change.
- At Airport: when plane lands, serenade guy gets in position, greets with leis, etc.
- Nice views of Aitutaki on take off. Small blue & green patch in dark blue endless ocean.
- Turbulence, especially when descending. Nice views of Raro. Mountain island in sea.
- Person with same bag on baggage claim.
- Walk to town. Some spurts of rain in morning. Navy boat in harbour against green mountains.
- Go to Punanga Nui market. Pretty big. Music, shows. Octopus with coconut. Taro leaf w/ coconut cream & breadfruit. Very delicious. Same type of description from island night. Pulasami [sic. eventually learned is palusami]. When I say try: "Good man" "will put some hairs on your chest." One of the most memorable delicious meals of this trip, eating and dripping on picnic tables.
- Carved rock commemorating AUSAID & PR China for help in creating the market.
- Walk to town. See wreck. Nice view of small town & mountains.
- Large queue @ police (driver license processing?). Police & court surprisingly modern buildings.
- Cool church. The old palace thing on map: no way to access, see piles of rocks (wall / rectangle) in bushes, is that it?
- Walk to place on interest on map: Auditorium. Well-kept building, trees, not much else. National museum & library closed for Sat.
- Wait for bus, but must have missed it.
- Walk to town. Can't find Internet or the brewery (does this exist?) I saw on bus the other day.
- Get on anti-clockwise bus. Very full. Beach views on South of island. Pass clockwise bus ~5-10 min before I get off.
- Office closed. Some people tell me just take bed. Pay next day. Windy & cold.
- Internet @ café.
- Take walk south to Beach Cove (?) when beach ends. Told water very high, so beach has shrunk. Sign with McDonald's on it: 2855 km away.
- Eat at burger place close to here. Wait for German until ~10:30 (leaving @ 11:30). Sleep. Japanese girl in room.
- At night: 3 people arrive. Girl is Canadian. Jeff is Canadian: in room.

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 22

Day 22: (4 June 2011 (-1 in time zone)):
- Eat bread, then discover is mouldy. Walk, guy at Rino's Rentals say hi, then I get bicycle. He say $5, but charge $8 in office. No change, so tell to pay later. Rusty, squeaky, high friction, bad breaks.
- Town: Post card, tourist info: Nothing on south of island other than marae. Oldest church here. Not much by harbour. Maybe market building? Person asking if I'm OK. Nice tree-lined road, though.
- Bike down west coast to southern tip. Lagoon view. Up middle to marae: nothing there? Terrible dirt & coral road, fields, crops, palm trees, pigs, goats, chickens.
- Nice church in Tautu. Map: car stop ask if I'm OK. Go to wharf, see Swiss on scooter. Nice view at lagoon, but nothing compared to cruise. Schools of jumping fish. Quite loud & starteling.
- Bike up west coast. Arch formed by banyan tree. Random dirt road by water through fields. Road lined with tall palm trees.
- Visit marine centre. No one there. Tubs of baby giant clams: cute. Shrink back when move close to it. A NZ tourist arrive on cycle as well. Info sheet. Tub of crabs, scared of people. Can't find turtles. Clam shell donation box.
- Snorkel by airport. White sand with coral pieces. Some fish, but very murkey & layer of gunk on stuff.
- Return: Meet the British couple. Short chat.
- Rain start ~15-20 min after my return. Look for noni. See fruit trees, but on people's property. 2 oranges (US?) (not fresh) for $5.80.
- Beer & write. Hope rain will stop. Want tour rest of town, return bike & get dinner.
- Rain stop. Go to town. Ride to just past power station Humming large shed. There is on administration centre here. Also passed church with metal pole spire: remind me of Tonga. Roads quite large here.
- Raining, wet. Downhill back, so pretty fast, careful to be safe with bad brakes.
- Shower, etc. Wait to talk about airport transfer & for dinner. Stopped raining. Nothing to do.
- Get dinner ~6:15. Ask for $5 coin or $3 notes. Talk to Tom when return with food. Suggest leave @ 8:15 for 9:00 flight. Actually, mine at 9:10.
- Eat, drink, enjoy being alone, since will not be soon. Read about Raro.

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Friday, June 3, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 21

Day 21: (3 June 2011 (-1 in time zone)):
- Get up & leave ~8:30am. Sun already quite high. People get up early in Cooks: sun rise early & set early.
- Walk up eastern road & book island night @ Tamanu Beach Hotel.
- Abandoned buildings along road. (Hurricane?) Views of lush cliffs & hills. Pig pens & chickens.
- Walk up to airport. Lots of hotels & resorts on the way. Bump into American couple. They jog? Tell me about going up mountain. Past old runway (?), now cut by fence & road. Past marine research centre. Didn't see much (other than large antennas) from the road, just a few sheds in distance, but should have gone: giant clams & baby turtles. Try taste of noni.
- Down road by runway. Very long & straight. No shade. See tourist person on scooter, can't start it (before the long section).
- Past café, see Akitua across a narrow channel. Tempted to swim over, but found a free ferry. Ferry has timetable, but does not seem to matter.
- Can't use beach, must pay $50 day use fee if stay. Includes use of kayaks, etc.
- Decide just take walk around. See very nicely maintained beaches, etc. Hammocks under coconut trees (what about falling coconuts, maybe remove?). Over-water bungalows. Couples.
- See islands in distance, farther than expected. Perhaps can snorkel across. Reception say "maybe" boat guy say can walk along reef, but has stonefish. Also: high tide so can get sucked out. Cheapest room low season: ~$450.
- See plane land before get on boat.
- Boat guy conversation. Slower boat (to talk?), sit a min or two to finish convo before I leave. Say things expensive here, some people complain. Tell me bar by beach to left, can walk by beach, but wasps will sting & lumps like "kumaras." Talk about girls dancing (?). Men here are strangely quiet and say strange things.
- Walk to Samade. Have juice. Nice beach bar, but beach a bit small. (High tide).
- Before leave, arrive a group of middle-age from Nelson. Excited. Came via Raro.
- Hitchhike back to start of boring road. Old man with Boat House Restaurant shirt not talkative.
- Walk down to start of trail. See American couple again, on bicycles to go to Boat Shed. Girl had craving for pasta. Chat about area.
- Up Maungapu. View OK, lots of trees in way. Israeli tourist Dad, mom (elder) & son? Walk along hill for better view, then up a steep hill. Very hot & sunny. Can just about see entire lagoon. Nice colours & reflection of clouds.
- Walk to 2nd hill, son offer me ride as they go there. Just as we start, parents scooter topple over. Their gas is stuck. Give bandages. Son push scooter & parents ride. Go back.
- I walk & try noni. Not as terrible as expected. Long, hot, sunny. Alone. Running out of water. Bag break, fix. Feel very alone (as in no one else around). Good idea to try noni just before?
- Nice view of lagoon. Loss obstruction. Road / trail just mowed grass & later dirt. Very relieved to see houses and signs of people again.
- Walk back through middle of island. Like 3rd world country. Fields, pigs, chickens.
- Villages in lush settings. Cars still pretty modern. Kids walking with backpacks (from school?) on long road & hill. Barefoot on sharp coral rocks road (one eating some fruit), even uncomfortable for me in old jandals (although mine are nearly worn through).
- Road look like driveway, connect to eastern road between two houses. Hearty "hi" from some people sitting on back house porch. Crave fruit pop, buy bottle.
- See beach: muddy, sea cucumbers, small fish. Write & nap, eat noni, wait for Island Night.
- Watch sunset over ocean. "Greatest show on Earth" is my opinion. Sounds of rugby & distant rumbling of waves. Mosquitos & tiny sand flies? Other guy left on afternoon today. From Poland? Holland?
- Discover broken pixel on camera. (more like a 2x2 or 3x3 patch). Why are there multiple things that grate on me on this trip? Maybe exercise in attachment. (Note: at end of trip feel intensely at peace, things no longer really bother me).
- Long walk in dark to island night @ Tamanu.
- Big buffet feast (umukai). Host (part owner & founder) very gracious to guests. Thank them. Many foods: island cabbage? Sweet crumbled bread thing, poi (purple jelly), salty bubbly seaweed, lamb curry, roast pork, ice cream, purple kumara, etc.Table with old Japanese tourist, say here 20 yrs ago, take pic of bar maid when small. Been to many islands with family. Jap. story in NC? Two NZ doctors in final rotation / training here share table as well.
- Sit outside for show. Fire dance. Percussion music with traditional instruments, like the "changing dancers" music. Many outfits. Showed a "Maori haka" from NZ/Aotearoa. Song in English with lyrics including "Greetings & farewell from Aitutaki."
- Walk under stars back. Car stop, ask if I OK, give ride back. Short chat, ask if annoyed with so many tourists, she say "sometimes." Chat is not as good, as usual. People nice but not warm. Didn't quite understand, when ask about no dogs. People from Raro bring dogs, then have to kill them?

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 20

Day 20: (2 June 2011 (-1 in time zone)):
- Get up 8:30 after restless night/morning. Bread & peanut butter for breakfast. Get ready, wash shirt & socks.
- At ~9:40, truck arrive & honk. Get on back. Flatbed with planks. English couple on honeymoon for 2 weeks & Vermont couple to be married in a month. Both young.
- Small old yellow catamaran. Father (Puna) & young son. Old people on boat already.
- Start in brownish waters, but as get into lagoon, water turns blue. Waves breaking along edge in distance. Note: high tide all day.
- Shallow coral sections all the way. Some marked with a stick. Must be hard to navigate.
- Stunned by colours. All throughout the day. Blue overload. Sun position, water depth create so many brilliant blues.
- Stopped to see turtles. See one in distance. Sting ray jumping.
- Dropped non-snorkellers on sand bar, photos, then to 1st snorkelling spot. Dive down to see giant clams. Diff. colours, some as big as me! (in weight).
- Go to island. Half-built house frame there. Very tame (thought were terns) tropic bird. Aggressive when get too close. Hermit crabs everywhere. Dry pile of palm leaves. Tropic bird babies. Sweet fried dough, watermelon, lemon-aid, etc. for snack in shady tree area. A nest right in middle of snack area. Walked around island for view.
- Island where Survivors, Island Wars, & other shows filmed. Walked around for view of One Foot Island. Snails. Hermit crabs in long shells.
- Stop on round sand island with a few bushes on it. Walk across middle. Photos. Blinded by how bright it ts. Maybe can wade/swim to nearby islands?
- Go to One Foot Island. The vaka arrive too. Looks much higher class with snacks too. Some snacks / fruits at post office / bar, but did not take as not sure if it's free. Did not get passport stamped, but sent postcard, which got the same stamp. Had beer. When leaving, local playing guitar/ukelele. Ideal environment.
- Walked down beach for lunch. Blessed in CK Maori: say grace. Delicious. Made by wife of captain. Fish, breadfruit salad (like potato salad, which was also there), purple kumara, etc. Good spread. Mosquitos. Pay. Hermit crab out of shell.
- See them feed coconut to chickens. Cats waiting. Discuss: no dogs here, thought they brought some diseases (leprosey?) & banned them in past. One tourist talked to a person who never left Aitutaki & never seen a dog.
- Final snorkelling spot. Cage with young giant clams. Give bread to feed fish. Fish spine that fish are pecking at. Grab it, lots of fish follow, get close.
- Cruise back: nice views. See edge of lagoon with waves & mist. Waves cause murky waters.
- Say by: if don't mind, will mention names to lord to look after during trip & travels.
- Drive back, dropped off at store past my place. Driver felt bad forget me. I say no prob, going to store anyway. Bought beer. Point out trees to people (breadfruit). Answer Q's at lunch. One girl say she's impressed.
- People training rugby? Swim after. Sounds of laughter, Polynesian music, family all around.
- Inside, as uncomfortable relaxing with beer next to training field.
- Sit & watch bonfire constructed by Tim's family. What for? Don't think is umu.
- Gecko chasing giant cockroach?
- Polynesian radio for hours. Beer. Nap. Beer & write. Not hungry due to big lunch. Stars on beach. Eat PB & bread for dinner. Beer & write. Go to bed ~10pm.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 19

Day 19: (1 June 2011 (-1 in time zone)):
- Due to toilet paper ear plugs, was able to drift in/out of sleep until 9:30.
- Ate the cake I got last night for breakfast + banana. Talk. Go snorkelling with 2 German girls. Pack while waiting. One from yesterday, one arrived night before.
- Fish attack goggles. Giant hiding moray eel. Octopus changing colour & shape to hide. German girl tell me fish nibbled at her belly button. Stonefish foraging.
- Walk back, mostly along beach. Chat. Leave to catch 1:30 bus.
- Tried hitchhiking with 3 cars, but no one pick up. Bus: "Warning: Jet blast area" sign. Sea wall & water, end of runway past fence.
- Check-in start at 1hr before, so walk to petrol station / grocery store. Expensive, not much so no buy.
- Had Matutu lager @ restaurant/bar/hotel across from airport. Nice "beach" & pool area.
- Meditated about life. Felt completely at peace after. Watched waves. Island is beautiful. Nothing on horizon, mountains green, etc.
- Airport: dry shirt & wait. Check in @ just before 3 for 3:30 flight.
- Check-in: "You must be Mark!" Didn't even check anything. Took bag on scale. Gave paper receipt-like slip for boarding pass.
- Chickens at airport. Vending machine ate 20 cents?
- Have to ask if to Aitutaki when boarding. Very casual flight. Polynesian pilot name. Attendant knows the other flying family? Chat in CK Maori. Just large family, me & Swiss tourist.
- Person on ukelele welcome on Aitutaki. Day tour people just leaving? Views of island & lagoon on landing. Me on wrong side.
- Long time unload. Get a ride with family living across from Tom's. Say umu is common here. Point out one the school kids are making for a project. Difficult to find person around.
- Get house for: "How much can you pay?" 35->32. After: Explained hurricane last year wiped out the hostel, still rebuilding. "You can't afford 35?" After me saying I thought it was $20s.
- Talk to ladies, they book cruise for me. They think weather will be good tomorrow because weather has been nice for past few days. No check weather forecast.
- Beach a bit smelly. Nice views for sunset. Slightly warmer than Raro.
- Walk to town. Bought bread & PB, things very expensive, as expected. Chicken & chips from place on way back. Air Raro shed & "no Sunday flights" signs. Beer.
- Long night. Alcohol effective against mosquitos? Step outside to see stars: other beach house has TV? Jumping fish at beach when shine light. I have larger house, but not right on beach. Bible in room.
- Water salty & Aititaki. Has some particles too. OK after running water. Drink beer instead. Mouldy fridge.
- Rat chewing on roof. Sleep ~11pm.
- Restless night. Rats chewing. Coconuts falling. Random chorus of roosters. Traffic. Ball field sounds.

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