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Saturday, December 14, 2002
Today (sunday) started very early again .. 4 AM .. thanks to those damn roosters ... I actually went out around 5 AM to make sure about the location of them and I will get in touch with the police shortly ... there was a ray of hope when at 4:30 AM i heard someone starting drums ... was that some voodoo ritual in which those roosters would lose their voice forever ?? no .. it was not .. no idea what it was ... anyways . the roosters are still doing their thing ..
We had the fun idea to do a trip with the car up the coast .. on the way we passed my dad's hotel and we stopped by to say hello ... they were ready to leave .. they had contacted their tour operator and they were reloacted to a new hotel, since the water situation was still on edge ...
We kept on driving for 2 hours .. dodging 3 police speed controls in total (the drivers here have the nice curtesy here to warn each other of speed controlls by flashing their headlights) and we checked out a bit of the coral coast ... we had lunch at some fijian owned seafood place, but the lunch menu was rather mellow .. i bet they have a real chef coming in for dinner ...
We returned to Suva and we did some supermarket shopping ..
Saturday's newspaper headline was still about the water cut. Seems to be a Suva wide problem ... but we are lucky in the Domain.
We did quite some shopping: Microwave, Blender, fruit, bula shirts :) it was full again but fun .. we met my Dad and Merih for lunch at "the edge" where we had a sandwich called "pretty woman" (that should have been called "fat chick") ... and i had the Doner Kebab .. and dad had sesame shrimp and Merih only wanted fries ...
They went back to the (waterless) hotel and we explored the handicrafts market ... what a fun place .. the longer you ask around, the prices go down .. fun ... a kava bowl we liked started at 120F$. We later got it for 35$ with some extra bilos (oh, bilos are the coconut halfshells that you drink kava from) .. some tall statue we kinda liked dropped very quickly from 170 F$ to 70F$ (that guy showed me his wallet with only 1 US$ in it and used that as a reason why he would sell it so cheap .. he claimed he was broke .. :)
The weird news story today was "Man kills, eats gay partner" ... a german guy (what's wrong with german people anyway?) found through the 'evil' internet a volunteer who wants to be eaten .. they agreed on eating his penis first together (how hungry can one be once a very sensitive organ has been removed ?? ) ... HOW WEIRD IS THAT ???
Anyways ... we spent the rest of the day around the house, me watching parts of the extended version of "Fellowship of the Ring" (great) and then later made fish sticks with veggies
Friday's Newspaper headline was "No water, Tourists are leaving", water cuts in and around Suva .. yippieh .. and the one hotel that was most affected was the Raffles Tradewinds, the one my dad stayed in.
So, in the afternoon I went to pick them up again to take a shower in our house ... and then we went for dinner to our old hotel, the Suva Motor Inn. I went with the pepper steak, while Ritsu had her favorite braised chicken and Kurt & Merih shared a curry dish ...
I explained the whole Kava ceremony to them, but they were not willing to try it ... well .. i had 2 or 3 bilo's of it.
I checked with this hotel, if they had rooms available ... but they were all booked out ... but i heard that even the Holiday Inn was without water (actually pretty much every hotel in Suva). This i think is one of the great things living in Domain (where so many politicians and diplomats live) ... that's the last place they would cut the water :)
After dinner we tried to call for cabs .. but that was the next shortage ... the hotel receptionist tried 2 different places .. no taxis available .. so we walked towards the town center .. and there we got 2 cabs.
When we got home we said "hi" to our froggies .. by letting the water run outside .. they come out and look around .. so cute ... then we laid down on our driveway (the concrete was still warm from the sun) and we watched the stars ... we could see Orion ... but we still have to figure out which stars are the Southern Cross.
Thursday offered a really fun picture to start with ... a guy climbing up a tree to get 3 tree blossoms for those 3 girls to put in their ears .. so cute !!!
We had been driving by car to town, I then spent some time at internetfiji and then ran some errands, looking for kitchen stuff and such. I also bought my first sulu (picture coming some day :)
Later I went back to Asco Motors for some additional paperwork and then back home.
Around 1 PM i left to drive to Lami to wait for my Dad to arrive .. his plane landed in Nadi at 10 .. so I hoped he would arrive around 1:30 - 2:30 PM
Well .. in the end it was 3:45 PM .. but I spent my time at the very nice Raffle's Tradewind's bar and got to chat with a very nice middle aged fijian guy, who turned out to be a member of parliament :) I told him that fiji needs to change its policy on internet monopoly .. and he just said that this will be deregulated in 2004. I think that proper streets and water connections where more interesting for him and his province than downloading mp3s ...
So, my dad Kurt and his wife Merih arrived finally and I helped them settling in ... they brought me loads of stuff. Besides heaps of xmas cookies and cuban cigars and cachaça (which i need for caipirinas) they also delivered some which friends had accumulated / downloaded for me and sent to him .. Big thanks to Andy, Katalina and of course Fish for doing all this ... I now have 27 CDs full of software / mp3s / US tv-shows to wade through ... great ...
Next fun fact was that the water at the hotel was not running ... "oh, pressure is down, will be back up later, we can bring you a big bucket full of water" ... wow .. so, we took the towels and drove to our house, so they could shower there ..
For dinner we went to Daikoku. I had brought my dad several times to Benihana in NY and I knew he would love it. We had a fun dinner night and tried to converse in at least 5 languages (we threw in some french just for silliness)
All in all lots of fun, Dad and Merih gave up on using chopsticks half way through though ..
Afterwards we got a taxi for them to return to the hotel and we were ready to go to .. but suddenly we noticed rotating lights (and no, not too much fiji bitter) .. there was some kind of fairground close to the water !!!
And we went to take a look ... it was so cute .. and small ... they had a couple of ferries wheels, which i think were operated a bit too fast to turn them into a thrill ride ... all other rides were based mainly on the old merry-go-round idea .. a train, some planes, horses ... it was very cute .. and of course many food places nestled in between ... I put together a little videoclip of it .. though I am not sure if anyone is really watching those :)
We just stayed a short while and then took a cab to go home.
Wednesday ... another day of fun filled adventure ... I left the house with the working lady to say hello to the guys at the office .. since ... later I ran some errands, one was to go with Vikash to J Maneklal at Honson Arcade to look for a nice TV .. and lo and behold, they had a nice 29" widescreen in a pricerange not too far off from what I had initially planned ...
I later met Ritsu for lunch and snapped that nice panorama / weather picture from her office
We had the grill platter at "The Edge" and then we just bought that TV and had it delivered right away .. pretty nice .. a Grundig Elegance 70 which fit neatly into the right spot. I tested it our right away with all sorts of different DVDs using my iBook as the DVD player.
I got a call from our car place that the Car will be ready for pickup around 4:30 PM so caught a Taxi at 4 and went to get our new vehicle. There was some paperwork to be done (and I insisted on the car being filled up) and at 5 PM I left with our Toyota Echo. The driving was fun, but very strange ... I kinda get used to driving on the left side ... and having the steering wheel on the right and the stickshift on the left ... but some how I keep using the windshield wipers when I want to indicate which direction I intend to go :) Timing was great to pick up Ritsu and she was just as happy and excited about the car as I was ...
We went straight to Cost-U-Less and did some more household shopping .. this time we could do some serious bulk shopping ... like water and sodas ... but we were both pretty tired from the day and we were happy when we got home.
I started making us dinner, garlic bread and pasta with a cream/ ham sauce ... not bad for the limited kitchen stuff we are having ... We tried to stay up until the local late news at 10 .. but we were just way too tired :)
Tuesday was another "busy around the house" day. I woke up with that darn rooster around 3 AM ... then around 7 was time for breakfast .. finally I could make some eggs .. Ritsu was obviously very happy
Later the gardener guys came again and tried to talk me into coming every 2 weeks and provide lunch .. no way :) but I ended up staying in at the house to see if the guys were doing there job ...
In the evening we took a cab to go to the japanese ambassador's residence, to celebrate the emperor's birthday ... we had no idea that this was quite a big event ... we encountered some security .. and i think more than 100 people showed up .. plus at least 30 waitstaff and 20 security people ...
The place was really nice and quite spacious .. and had a kick ass view of Suva Bay and the sunset.
The event was relatively short: first 30 minutes was "arriving, mingling, drinks" ... part 2 was "speeches and anthems" .. they toasted to the emperor and fiji ... playing the japanese and fijian anthem, inviting people to sing along :) .. actually more people sang along with the fijian anthem, I spotted many non-fijians singing, but maybe this is part of being a diplomat around here.
We had no idea who else was invited .. i'd say only 30% were japanese, the rest was diplomatic corps and fijian politicians ... and it took me a while to realize that the guy behind me sipping his redwine (see picture below) is the fijian prime minister. I did not get to talk to him, though he was mingling a lot.
(the only photoshop work on this pic is the lightening up of the background and the removal of the sunburn on my nose)
But soon everybody was kindly kicked out and we returned home.
Monday was our first night / day in the new house, and it was surely interesting. I woke up at 2 AM because some rooster close by thought it was sunrise and he was crowing his lunges out .... until 6 AM ... interlude was a pack of stray dogs starting a howling concert, which later was joined by pretty much every dog in Suva. Having a nice sunburn did not help my sleeping either and spending some hours on the computer to get the pictures from the last weekend straight did not make me as sleepy as I wanted ...
So i just stayed up ... around 6 Ritsu woke up and I made breakfast and we enjoyed our first morning in the new house .. a bit later the landlady's daughter called (it is normal here to call people at 7 - 8 AM) and told us that the gardener would come by ... there went my idea of a nap ...
Once Ritsu took a taxi to work, I tried to get in touch with our car guy ... turned out there was some delay (what a surprise) and we should get the car on wednesday ... I asked him to kick quite some booty since we need the car ...
Then the whole landlady family appeared plus gardeners ... after sorting stuff out, I took a cab to Cost-U-Less and did some more household / dinner shopping, which was lots of fun .. too bad many of the items i wanted just came in wholesale size (hey, soy sauce in gallons)
I returned and did some laundry and lunch was some toast with peter-made salmon cream-cheese and proscciuto .. shortly after some guys came to fix a gate .. then the water and electricity guys came to do a reading ... then the landlady returned ... with her a guy bringing the laundry machine (plus setting up the dryer) and we chatted about little things about the house ..
After they left the guys from the security system came and we had a long and hard discussion .. they tried to get us into the previous tenants 3 year contract ... no way ..
Finally I had some time to get something done I had no time or chance for for a looong time .. COOOKING !!! ... though I just bought one pot/pan combo thingie, i felt like i can cook again ... since we have not found a thai place yet (doubt there is one) and I know that Ritsu loves noodles, I made Pad Thai ... with shrimps (well, here they call them prawns .. I still reject that word though) and chicken ... and it turned out quite nicely :)
We had a very nice dinner .... but both of us had not gotten much sleep the night before .. we spent some time online .. how much fun to send IMs while you are just 10ft apart ... saves yelling ...