Monday, April 11, 2005
Yes, I am in Fiji now. Rachelle met me at the airport (a few hour wait preceeded that reunion as her flight touched down long before mine). What greeted her? A stinky and hairy and fogged me. After 22 hours of travel and 36 hours of waking time (one day I really need to learn how to sleep on moving vehicles) I disembarked into a new country.
It was a journey. My flight path took me from Bangkok to Sydney to Nadi (Fiji). I almost didn't make it out of Sydney. No, it wasn't the view of the skyline or ocean from the airport. It was my brain. It almost exploded. Now I know this will sound funny to most of you, but the culture shock I hit in the airport almost did me in. Being unslept for a day didn't help (they have been playing the Bellamy Brothers in this internet cafe for a while now. I love it!). After 6 months in countries where english is broken or non-existent, and white faces (which I'd been desperately trying to avoid for months, as they denote tourists typically. Yes, I am one as well, but that's not the point) were everywhere! The announcement were in english, everyone around me spoke english....strange. It was so bad that I found a Chinese tour group and followed them around begging them to spit, hack, push, yell, whatever they could to give me a sense of normalcy. Eventually they got a hold of security; I saw them coming and skittered off to a dank corner before they could talk to me. So strange.
However, my problems began on the flight from Bangkok. Apparently they speak english (they claim) in Australia so the flight attendants also spoke english. I couldn't interact. My requests came out in very broken stuttering english (haven't been served by an english speaking person since last September) as I couldn't convince myself that they fully understood the language.
It's been the same way here. I'm still speaking very slowly and clearly and using simple words, despite the fact that english is the national language here. Crazy.
And let's not even talk about the prices. I went from paying $2US a night to sleep and maybe $1US for meals to paying $15US for a dorm room and $8-15US for meals. The first few days I really was pretty stressed out about it. I'm settling though. A little
Fiji is beautiful. The people are amazingly nice and friendly and the islands and waters and underwaters are entrancing. Right now we are staying in a time-share provided by my folks (thanks, mom and dad!) which is a relief to the bank account. End of the week will see us heading off to another island somewhere (we are on the mainland right now). Last week I spent most of everyday in a hammock on the beach, watching the ocean and reading. It took a couple days for the rope marks in my back to fade (no joke). Very relaxing. I feel like I am actually on vacation, instead of traveling like I felt in Asia. Making me a bit antsy....don't you feel bad for me?