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Saturday, November 23, 2002
Saturday we actually went diving, I got a phonecall friday evening that they were going out and that a "David" would pick us up ... turned out that David is a regular here at the hotel bar, in fact, he was the first to ever do that "Beer around the world" tour, some 7 years ago, and we had talked before ...
So he was already at the bar (having coffee) at 7:15 AM when we came out to meet him .. the trip to Pacific Harbor was very nice again and we had enough time to have some Breakfast at Lagoon Resort. A very nice resort complex, lacking a lot of business .. way to quite these days it seems ... but the place is kept spotless and the service was very nice ... 5F$ for a heap of toast and all kinds of jam and peanut butter and vegemite and coffee (though that looked more like coffee flavored tea).
Some 10 minutes later Jim, the owner of that place joined us and we had a nice chat (about how other hotels and golf courses around the area are closing down)
Back to the boat, everything was ready. We had again Jay as the dive guide, and the same deckhand and gally-gal, but a different skipper ...
amazing was that they were going out for only 4 locals (who do not pay full price) ... so we were very lucky to have that size boat for only 4 people.
The first dive site was called "Shark Fin Reef" and it was fun .. we actually ran into a couple of sharks .. some saw a huge 14 ft tiger shark .. but I only saw a very large tail fin.
The trip to the next dive site was pretty long and choppy ... But it was worth it. "Garden Eel Patch" was a collection of coral heads (so big that it was like several small wall dives) and a bunch of things to see .. mainly many big lion fish. A very nice "sight seeing" dive.
The return trip was even worse in terms of the boat rocking and rolling ... Ritsu had lots of fun with that (not) ... everybody was holding on and we were wondering if someone may fall off the roof or their respective sleeping positions.
We returned around 3:30 and made our way back to Suva ... Ritsu fell happily asleep in the back of the car while David and I chatted, though I believe I nodded off a bit myself.
Once we got back I had a beer with David to say thank you for the driving and though we were very tired, we went out for dinner. Dinner was at Great Wok where we ran into Marlee and Edo (small island) and afterwards we went home and to bed very early.
And it keeps raining ... Thursday night's dinner was at Daikoku ... very nice again, we found out they have early bird specials, each dish for 15F$ .. so we had some sushi, wasabi steak and fish and rice and ice and beer and walked out for 45F$ .. not bad at all .. and very very tasty.
We are trying diving again this weekend, but after calling the diveshop we heard the same story "with all the rain, the tourists don't want to dive and we can't fill a boat" .. so .. we have even played with the thought of renting a car and explore the route to Nadi ... well, let's see what the weather is going to be like.
Friday night was having beers at the office
and later having even more at Traps. I was getting tired quite early but helped finishing 3 jugs (pitchers) of beer. The atmosphere was different this time (maybe it was too early) but there was no dancing going on when I left ...
coming back to the hotel, we ordered some kokonda and after eating that while watching TV we went to bed.
It rained and rained yesterday (Wednesday), I had lunch with Ritsu and Bad Dog Cafe, I had a steak sandwich which was ok ... maybe a bit pricey for lunch .. and the bread under it was totally soggy, full of steak and onion juice. Ritsu had a ham / cheese Panini which looked ok ...
Dinner was at the hotel restaurant (the place of choice when it is raining cats, dogs and tiny elephants): Fish and Chips and braised chicken ... nice stuff ...
So, a pretty "regular day" Wednesday ...
I keep getting asked about the online connection down here ... well .. i try to give a quick overview ...
Fiji is connected to Australia / New Zealand and the US via the Southern Cross Cable. This article is a bit misleading though ... it make it sound as if that cable actually offers what it can offer ... well .. trouble is, is that the "owner" of that connection is Fintel which again is a subsidiary of Fiji Telecom, which is controlled by the government ... Now .. what does that mean in english ... Fintel owns the cake and is giving out mini pieces to the retail market (people like me) and sells big chunks to the industry ... just recently Quest openened a call center here ... and Fiji is all proud and calls itself leading in IT.
Anyhoo ... for Joe internet user it looks pretty grim. There is only ONE internet service provider connect which offers unreliable 28.8 modem connections. They have several plans depending how many hours per month you think you will use .. I think it starts at 13F$ (7US$) for 3 hours (who can live with 3 hours ???) and goes up to 40 hours !!! that's it !!! 40 hours for 94F$ (50US$)... that is the "small businesses" plan ... every hour above that is 5F$ (2.50US$). (so, some offices have chosen to rather buy 4 of those plans to have enough hours for a whole month). Did I mention a 30F$ (15US$) setup fee ?
In addition you have local phone rates which is 11cent per call (well, 50cent from the hotel room). Also you have fun things like busy line and suddenly disconnects ... yippieh ... even though it is supposed to be 28.8 , which means a download should go with 2.7 K .. it only has 1.2 K most of the time ..
There was an old "unlimited" plan, which is not being offered anymore, but a generous friend borrows me access to it some times ... that plan is a joke too ... autodisconnect after 1 hour ... and something about "if you make the top 10 list of users, you get thrown off more often" or something ... this plan also has it's own access number which is constantly busy !!!
So ... although the technology exists, there is no real getting to it ... Fintel operates an internet kiosk and charges there 11 cents a minute ... allegedly it is pretty fast .. only catch is that I cannot connect my own computer there ... so .. no good ...
The government is protecting Fintel (since some overseas investors have tried several times to rush into this market here) and gives out very few exemptions ... like for the University here, they are allowed to use a satellite connection (everyone else using this is doing so illegally.
One big embassy here just dials into their sister embassy's highspeed connection in AUSTRALIA ... they must have a great phone bill !!!!
There is talk from time to time that some company tries to weasel its way around the jurisdiction and will try something ... but as long as the gov here is hardline about it, i see little chance .... rumor has it they want to open up the market a bit in 2 years ... GRRRRR
I'd be happy with unlimited 56K for now ... without auto disconnect ... and judging the news reports, they have the bandwidth to spare ... but they have no incentive to do so, since they are without any competition ... bummer
Yes, i know it looks dark and gloomy .. but as stated before .. Fiji is not just all about sunshine !!!
So .. today was more of a "going to the supermarket" and "reading lease agreement of possible house" kinda day.
On a totally unrelated note .. on my friend William's blog I came across the blog of Wil Wheaton, he was that annoying kid on Star Trek, The next Generation ... and since then I am not sure what he has done since then .. well.. many actors have their childhood career down the drain .. but i have to admit .. this guy seems to have quite some humor about himself ... and he just won back some respect points, just for having that website ..
(and if i recall correctly .,. he got to kiss Ashley Judd in one of the ST:TNG episodes ) oh .. and i just found this quote in his FAQ section
Is it true that you were really Ashley Judd's first onscreen kiss, and you ruined her for the rest of her life?
Yep. It is 100% true. Ashley Judd played Robin Lefler, in the episode "The Game", and Uncle Willie went to bootytown.
I am not sure if he is trying to say the he is the one who deflowered Ashley Judd ... but if so ... his choice of language is rather ... lame ... a word he uses on himself many many times ... (one of the funniest typos I did this season: i said "defloured" ... wha wha)
But .. "the game" was actually a pretty cool episode I have to say !!!
anyhoo ... there is now a "COMMENT" option just below each posting ... i wonder who will be first to actually use it ! .. You can also use the email adress posted on the left to ask stuff and snicker about this blog ..
Nothing much to report about monday ... but i will think of something :)
I really like that one counter I have installed .. it shows me how some people get on this website .. by what terms they enter into a search engine ... while i do understand "Fiji + cooking + cookbook" .. i have no idea how someone gets here by looking for "organizing shelfs" ... your best guess :)