June 25 Time Travel
|sunset at Smugglers|
|About to leave LAX|
|The henna I got|
June 24 MUD
|At the mud bath and hot spring|
Top left to right; Claire, Bora, Mariam, Liz, Meghan, Chase, Ulla, Alex Long
Bottom left to right: Jameson, Katie, Madiha, Jacob, Lucy, Grace, and Alex Cooper
|At the village after the hike|
June 23 Chilling part 2
Today was another chill day. It started raining again and it was actually kind of cool outside. We worked on our blogs and photos the whole time we had left at Mango Bay. After lunch we left Mango Bay to head to Smugglers Cove on a charter bus. On the way there we stopped at this store and bought tons of souvenirs for people. The drive to Mango Bay was three hours long. Once we finally arrived at Smugglers Cove, we settled into or dorm, which looked like a prison room. After that we went to go get Chinese food in town. When we got back to Smugglers, we looked at Ulla’s pictures from yesterday. They were so good. Finally we discussed our highs and lows on the beach so we could break up afterwards. When we got back to our dorm, we found three random people in our room. Soon after they were kicked out of the room.
Today Grace and I woke up early to explore the beach. There was a very cool cobalt blue starfish on the beach. Some of us bought some items today from a lady for gifts. After breakfast we packed our backpacks to go on a boat for the day. We went fishing and went to a village on a tiny island. When the guy on the boat was holding a tuna, he put it to “sleep” by lightly tapping it on the head with a bat and blood splattered everywhere, including on me. The steps up to the school were the hardest things ever! Everyone was breathing heavily after that. We listened to the school children sing lovely songs. After that we got to explore the village by ourselves. This village was more developed than the one we stayed in. When everyone boarded the boats, we went around the island to this small beach where we ate lunch and hung out for the rest of the day. Brett grabbed a Python from a tree which was scary. When I was sitting on a bench, Grace came over and the second she sat on it the bench totally collapsed. It was hilarious. After that Jameson and I went paddle boarding. Soon after that we played some awesome volleyball again. A guy caught a mongoose and threw it into the water so he could show us that it could swim. After that we got on the boat and headed back to Mango Bay. After dinner we watched some crab racing. Later Ulla showed us her photography work which was amazing.
Today was a chill day. We got to wake up a little bit later because breakfast was at 8:30. Meghan's eye wasn't looking so good today because she got pink eye. After breakfast, Meriam, Grace, and I went down to the beach to sit on a hammock. The beach at Mango Bay is a sandy beach. Soon afterwards Jacob, Alex, Jameson, and Bora came to the beach too. I taught Grace, Meriam, Bora, Alex Long, and Jacob how to do a little Tae Kwon Do, which was hilarious. Later we all decided to go get our laptops and work on our photos and blogs. I drank an awesome pina colada! Prior to dinner time, we looked through everyone's 3 best hot shots. Everyone's photos were absolutely amazing! We enjoyed this really good beef and chicken rice dish for dinner. Finally we shared our highs and lows for the day.
In the middle of the night, my leg was burning badly due to my coral cut. Today we had to pack to fly back to the main island to go to Mango Bay Resort. I have officially become obsessed with tea and cream in it. As we waited for the second flight, we bought sulus and other gifts at a hotel. When we got to the airport, everyone was so relieved that we finally had access to free wifi. On the flight Jamison really had to go to the bathroom, so when we landed he full on sprinted off the tiny plane to go to the restroom. He was sweating, eye-watering, and red-faced. When we arrived at the airport we met Ms Bottoms. We then went to exchange money at the ATM in the airport because the exchange place was closed. It was a 2 hour drive to Mango Bay. On the way there we stopped at this bird/reptile place which was really cool. They placed lizards on our shoulders and some snakes too. After the bird place, we drove 45 more minutes to Mango Bay. We had heard Mango Bay was not nice but compared to what we have been staying in this place looked like a 5 star resort. We had an awesome dinner and everyone dressed cute. After dinner we played foosball - Alex L. and I won against Bora and Alex Cooper. After that we had a light room tutorial. Later we watched this cool Polynesian dance. They danced with fire and machetes. After that we shared our highs and lows again. The early flight group told how they got into a fight with the taxi driver, because they told him to go to any ice cream place except Mcdonalds and the driver took them to Mcdonalds. Brett always shares a pun a day. The frogs are gigantic at this place.
Today we woke up early at 6:30 to watch the kids in the village go off to school one last time. This was the hardest day. When we had to say goodbye, the villagers sang us a farewell song which brought tears to my eyes. Everyone cried, including the guys. A boy named Vao, who wants to be a priest, was bawling tears which was so upsetting. Nobody knew that they would react this way. We have a new family, which is so wonderful, but we will miss them. What was planned on being a quick goodbye ended up being an hour long. We hugged everyone goodbye. Once we got on the bus, Vao and other villagers were holding everyone's hands through the windows. When I had to let go of Vao’s hand, it was heartbreaking. I did my hand shake with Layla too. This experience makes me appreciate everything so much more now. I hope they loved all the gifts we gave them. As we drove away they were waving behind us. I realized that I shouldn't be sad because it’s over, but be happy because it happened. This goodbye wasn't a goodbye, it was a see you again someday. I would love to bring my real family to go visit the happy, amazing villagers that allowed us to be the first people who stayed with them from western civilization. The ride back was silent the whole time. When we got back to TovuTovu, we went snorkeling. It was sunny, but the water was cold. We decided to swim into this shallow coral to look at fish and we got too close to the sharp coral. Bad idea - we all have coral cuts. We went to this pizza place for dinner with a cool view of the tropical Fijian landscape. We were there forever because they only had one slow oven. Everyone was slowly falling asleep on the table. Tomorrow we are on two different flights again to Nadi.
Breakfast was awesome. it was all carbs (cookies and pasteries). After breakfast we went to work on the construction site. But first Jacob, Liz, Grace, Meghan, and I were on cleaning duty so we had to wash the dishes. At the construction site we shoveled dirt and leveled the ground for the house. A couple of people and I went to go retrieve more gravel from the beach to make the concrete for the house. While we were there we skipped rocks. Man, these villagers are beast at rock jumping. After that we ate yummy UFOs, chicken chips, and cheese chips. Liz and I went to go see the baby of the village too. Lunch was more carbs with peanut butter. The custard we had literally tasted like nothing. After lunch we went to the village school and played volleyball with the kids. They got so excited watching us play. After that our group went to go to a natural water slide but the water was to high and strong so we couldn't go in. I am amazed that there are so many beautiful rainbows everyday in Fiji. Later we learned that Angie’s mom made the costumes for the movie Blue Lagoon. When we came back to the village, we saw the men braid a barracuda design in palm leaves. Lisa made awesome pasta for the villagers for dinner. After dinner, we discussed highs and lows. Then we had a dance party with music from the radio and speakers. All the villagers loved to dance. Bora, Alex Long, and I created a conga line and went through Katie and Kenneth. Angie and her brother wrote a song called "Keep on Spinning" about our group and friendship. We have become one big family with this village and I love it. When we had to say our goodnights, we took pictures to save our great memories with each other.
June 22 Island hopping
|Then python Brett got from the tree|
|At the school in the village|
|The broken bench|
|The starfish near Mango Bay|
|A kid in the village|
June 21 Chilling
|Grace and I found a starfish|
June 20 Small Planes
June 19 the hardest goodbye
|Saying our final goodbyes|
|Selfies with Iowane|
|Janet, me, and Rocko|
|Val holding my hand from the van|
|In front of the construction project|
June 18 Lets go to school
|Meghan, Liz, and I watching Chase pass the ball at the school|
|Mariam, Madiha, Kenneth, and I|
|Vao at school|
June 17 Kava and Machetes
Today we had porridge for breakfast which tasted like condensed milk and sugar - it was so good. I also never knew peanut butter and crackers could be so tasty. After breakfast we worked on the construction site. We picked up rocks and placed them against cement. Lucy, Liz, and I were on the cooking crew so we got a break from construction to help make lunch. We were the worst tomato cutters ever. After that everyone attempted to find their scavenger hunt list things. Bora, Liz, Alex Long, and I went to the farm and started to cut down Kava with a machete. We ate these tiny wild chiles, the spiciest things I have ever tasted. Bora started sweating a lot and crying. Jamison threw it up. We ate so much sugar after that to cover the flavor. Afterwards we went to meet the really old chief of the village. Then it was time to play more volleyball - it is so competitive here. The village kids took some awesome shots on my camera too. We captured pictures of the beautiful pink sunset. For dinner, we had dall with curry and indian tortilla. It was awesome. We discovered the hot tea was lemon grass tea which tasted like trix cereal when you add a lot of sugar. Almost everyone left before kava but Meriam, Bora, and I stayed and talked about survival in Fiji. When Alex and Katie came back, I showed the villagers my silly wisdom teeth videos, my dance photos and Lily photos, and the videos of dancing and fighting at our school. This village woman, who's name starts with an M, and I were dying laughing while taking selfies. After most people left Katie, Madiha, Grace, and I drank more kava. We stayed up past our bed time.
|Cutting Kava with a machete|
|having fun taking selfies|