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Saturday, April 12, 2003
We just got back from our third weekend trip to Toberua Island and again it was fantastic: food was great, diving was fun .. all in all a swell weekend. I will add pics a bit later, but a videoclip is already there :)
Friday For the first time we drove to Nakelo Landing with our own car, instead of taking the cab. The road had some very interesting potholes this time around. The boatride was again in the new boat, so It only took 20 minutes and we watched the clouds turning red and beautiful thanks to the sunset.
When we arrived we saw other guests getting ready to leave, among them Lynn and Terry, the manager couple, leaving for a 2 week vacation. We were introduced to Verne, the owner of the island, who would take over for them for the time being.
Initially we were supposed to stay in bure #6, but we heard that our "old" bure #9 could be ready in an hour as people just left, so we opted for that.
We hung out at the bar, where a new barman Matthew took care of us. We also got to talk to Eric, who was getting ready to get married the following day.
Then finally the main event of the evening: dinner: lobster fritter, pumpkin bacon soup, poached mackerel, cashew-date slice. All very very nice. Ritsu had her "Toberua Prince" cocktail, while I washed that all down with some beers ...
We planned on reading, watching some TV .. but we just fell asleep.
Saturday Great breakfast, then getting ready for diving. #1 was bird island reef where we swam with a big school of barracudas and 3 medium size white tip reef sharks. The surface interval was a bit rough, so understandably Ritsu shared her breakfast with the fish. Here is a little videoclip indicating just how rough the sea was.
On the second dive we encountered a pretty big nurse shark ... i'd say 10 - 11 feet in length ... and it was hunting some little fish .. very nice ... we also ran into 2 turtles ...
Upon return it was already time for lunch: shrimp in/on a patty of dalo leaves and mashed dalo. Then a Walu / Avocado salad, and banana fritters for desert .. again, all very great !!!
Sure enough we needed a nap after that. We woke up just before 4 since that was the time of the wedding ... from the bar we could initially only hear some music from the bure where the happy couple got ready, but then we saw a cute procession coming down the beach. The groom was already waiting at the "beach altar" and the bride, led by her parents, walked the last half of the sandy isle by herself. There was a pastor performing the service and several islanders were singing and following the prayers. It was a very beautiful ceremony, including tearjerking moments. Afterwards there was champagne and cake.
We returned to the bure for some reading / napping. Around 6:30 we went to the bar were we rejoined the wedding party. At 8 PM the drums called us for dinner: Kokoda (which could have needed a bit more bite in form of chilly) Corn/Chicken soup (which needed quite some help via salt / pepper) and then it was time for the mongolian BBQ. It starts out like a buffet: Bowls full of different cut veggies and 5 bowls with shrimp, fish, lobster pieces, cut beef and chicken cubes. You load on your plate whatever you feel like and hand this to the chef and he sautés it and spices it up. I selected mainly seafood and it was very nice, albeit a bit too salty.
That amount of salt requested beer, and thus we went to bed pretty early
Sunday I decided to have only fruit for breakfast. We then got ready for another dive. Again we went to "the playground" where we had been before twice, and again it was a very pleasent, 1 hour + dive. We saw a small shark and lots of neat little things. The boatride was smooth both ways.
Back at the bure we waited for Ritsu's massage.
According to her the massage was great ... then it was time for lunch .. if i could only recall what lunch was ... oh yeah .. seafood salad in a wasabi vinegrette .. was great .... we then had time to pack and the boat brought us back speedy to Nakelo where we had to stop at the shopkeeper's house to have the gate opened to get our car ... so .. door to door it took us 1 hour 10 minutes ... great !!!
For dinner Ritsu made us her famous "Somen" .. cold japanese noodles with a nice dipping sauce ! perfect summer food !
Recently the always creative Ritsu invented something that I can only describe as the Snickerstoast. Obviously she was curious how Nutella and peanut butter go together on toast, and after reluctantly trying it, I noticed that it taste just like that chocolate-peanut bar. It doesn't look pretty, but it tastes very yummy. And is of course totally fat free and has no calories !!!
Last night I made Pizza (ham / pineapple) for us and we had Candice and David, our house / catsitters, over for dinner and it was very nice. Somehow we were so tired that we not even stayed up for watching x-files .. we just fell asleep.
Today I went to an early screening of "The Core" .. and after having checked my brain at the entrance, I could very much enjoy that movie ... heck, it is science fiction, you should not wonder about the scientific background (though after a bit of reading, I found out the film makers actually tried to get some sense into the geology behind the movie) ... if you like films like armageddon, you surely enjoy this one. I even found most of the actors more interesting and some of the humor even smarter than average ...
again a night that ended way too early at 3 AM thanks to feeling hot, howling dogs and crowing roosters .. and the cat has the new idea to wake us up by playing quite noisily with our curtain ...
anyways ... the first (and probably last) test of ordering from amazon.com failed ! I ordered a book for a friend back in february, and it was shipped on 2/12. And never arrived ... after 6 weeks I contacted amazon, they kindly asked me to check with the local post office, which I did (nada) ... and now I just asked amazon for a refund, which they agreed on. I really wonder where this book is now ...
Yesterday was cleaning day again, and at some point the cleaning lady asked if instead of the usual 20F$ i could give her 50F$ this time ?!?! Turns out she needs it for her electricity bill. Not sure if she wanted 30F$ just extra, but I made an arrangement with her that the next 3 times she comes, she will get only 10$ ... hope she comes back :)
The gardener (who was supposed to show up on tuesday) came by to and the garden looks nice now again.
I have been researching the possibility of getting an ISDN connection, which is here considered "High Speed" ... and is silly expensive: around 225US$ per month and being limited to 500MB ... but at least i would be online 24/7 ... now it turns out that the ISDN modem, which telecom sells you for 350US$ (something you could get on ebay for around 20$) has only a USB connection, which means I cannot use our airport network with this .. fantastic ... I need to check if I can buy my own modem in the sates and bring it here ... but that may cause trouble .. a) it may not work with the system here / no support b) I hear they really do not want you brining in your own phone equipment i.e. cordless phones
hey .. movie time again .. all you people on broadband .. wanna see our cat in action ??? well . click here .. it is a 2.1 MB file .. no biggy for those who are not on modem ... and isn't she cute ???
I am really curious how many people will actually watch this ... this will determine if I will put up more video clips in the future .. please use the below comment link to tell me if you watched it ... hey .. this may very well be the first fijian cat video on the www :)
Monday was a funfilled day of people coming to read meters ... electricity, water .. what not ... and it was raining again ... for dinner we went to daikoko ... they had sea urchin sushi and it was very good again ... we then had ginger pork and wasabi steak from an apparent trainee chef .. he did his jobe very well .. but they gave him some training knife which was just not sharp enough !!! .. it seems they were under staffed .. so even the guy of the manager couple worked the tables .. he was pretty good and did a lot of silly show stuff .. like pepper mill landing in his hat and such ...