Sunday, September 19, 2010

Little Island Adventures

While the main purpose of my trek to Fiji was to build bathrooms, we did get a couple of chances to alter our day-to-day routine and have an adventure.

Pictured below me is at Uprising--a nearby resort. We got to go there and see a bit of the ocean, drink some smoothies (mine turned out to be...interesting), play games, and climb coconut trees. Let's just say, I was pleased with myself and my ability to make it to the top.

One of the members that we got to know pretty well owned a piece of a beach, and he invited us over for lunch and to learn to net fish and swim and have some fun. So, after the rugby game, we did. Pretty much, it was insanely fun. I went out on the boat both times to help pull in the net, and we even caught a stingray! It was the same kind that Steve Irwin was killed by - they pulled the "thorn" off, then I got to hold it. It was sweet. We also brought in some swordfish-like fish, and had some sword fish fights with them. The beach was absolutely beautiful, so we couldn't resist taking some pictures. Here's what I've got:

We found this guy asleep on the beach--we thought it was pretty funny



This picture begs an explanation. It's not a very good shot, but look closely and notice the brown things poking out of the beach. Those are headstones. Due to rising ocean levels, they are actually completely underwater when the tide is high. They stick out when the tide goes out, as pictured. These are his ancestors buried here. A lady was even there making a movie out of it, which she hoped would make it to the Sundance Film Festival. Let me know if you see something about it--I may or may not be in it.

Same spot, new guy


The boys all found machetes around town--they were excited

Once upon a time, we were walking through a dark parking lot. There was a hidden sidewalk, the kind that have small pebbles in it for decorative purposes. Not knowing it was there, I jammed my flip-flop clad toe into it. We were on our way to a dance, so I spent my time at the dance with a bloody toe and shoe--it was still fun. I cleaned it up when we returned to home sweet home. Nice, eh?

We went shopping in Suva. Turns out, it was the same day a cruise ship was in. (As a side note, it was a rather odd sensation to see so many white people that weren't a part of our group. It had been a while.) Apparently some reporter thought we were from the cruise ship, because here we are in the Fiji Sun. Two and a half weeks in Fiji, and I already made it into the paper. Not too shabby.


"When I say 'tiki' you say 'pool!'" This was the chant that Mary yelled on the way over here. It was fun--a slide came out of this guy's ear, and the boys all climbed to the top of his head and jumped off...until they got in trouble.

A lot of the time we were working, it was raining. A lot. And as we all know, when dirt gets wet, it turns into mud. Lydnsy and I shared a sort of love for the mud, and one day she came up to me with some very muddy hands. I went with her to find the source of such lovely mud and, before we knew it, we were in a full blown mud fight. Soon we pulled Seth and Zander in, and the village men were sending us to go get men at other work sites. We were throwing chunks of mud at everyone we came across, Zander was dumping water buckets on all the men, we were all running and slipping all over the place, and it was the craziest, most entertaining thing ever.


Eventually, John came walking around and found us. Let's just say...he wasn't happy. He immediately sent us off to the spigot to wash every speck of mud off. Or at least, as much as we could manage to get off without a full blown shower.


I have to say, this was one of the most epic mud fights I've ever participated in. And I had an absolute blast.

On our last day in the Mau Village, a few of us went around taking pictures. Tasha and I especially wanted pictures of us on the bridge of death.

"Let's see if I can make it look like I'm falling off without actually falling off..."

Nope.

The fact that I caught myself like this was amazing. I honestly have no idea how it happened. One minute I was falling backwards off of the bridge, and the next I had somehow flipped forward and caught myself with my arms as seen in the picture. It was a closie.

If barrel rolling is something that you've never done before, you've gotta give it a try. It is so much fun.

video

Almost every day, we had a dance party in the house Lyndsy and Zander were working on. The villagers who lived there had a stereo, and one single C.D. We listened to it all day during work, every day. My Fijian, quite obviously, doesn't extend past a simple bula, mothe, vinaka...you know, the basics. But I could sing along to some of those songs cause I heard them so much. Every day at the end of work, the music would turn up. That was my cue. I'd go to the door and see a bunch of women dancing inside. I'd kick off my muddy shoes and join them. It was so fun. Soon, girls from other worksites were joining. Then the kids would come home from school, and they'd come in too. Some days that one and a half room house was insanely packed full. What a blast.

Mary was continually going around the village making sure the villagers were actually letting us work. So, when we had our dance parties the men always served as our lookouts for Mary. Whenever she came down the path, they'd come running to the door and yell, "Mary's coming!" Then they'd turn the music from blasting loudness to completely off (very discreet, I know) and hide us in a mini room. Once Mary had passed, we kept dancing.

One time in particular, we had practically every AYS girl in that house, plus the village women, and some kids. We had a giant pile of muddy shoes at the door. We were rockin' it out. Then, someone came running in and yelled, "Mary's coming, Mary's coming!" The music disappeared. We were rushed off to the mini-room. They brought our shoes over, and we scrambled to put our shoes on. I army crawled across the floor, snuck out the back door, ran across the way to my worksite, grabbed a saw out of Seth's hand and attempted to look natural. Sadly, this was not quite as effective as it could have been. There wasn't much to be sawing at the time, and Mary called me out on it.

"What are you sawing, Dani?"
"Oh, I'm just practicing the motion in the air - you know, build up the muscles so that they'll be ready when the time comes."
"Oh, okay. What's Seth doing?"
"He's coaching me."
(Cue eruption of village men laughing.)

Okay, I didn't get away with it. But, I did manage to get everyone else out safely. I waited until Mary had her back turned, then motioned for everyone else to run by. We successfully got everyone else back to their worksites. And Mary never knew they were there. Prime.

These little adventures were some of the best moments of the trip.

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