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Saturday, July 19, 2003

We just got back from our 5th trip to Toberua Island, and while rainy, it was again very nice, time seemed to fly ... I already put a little video clip together which I will upload later, and of course pictures ...

This trip was a bit different in some regards: First of all we did this to celebrate (again) our first anniversary and wanted to have a tree planted at "our" bure #9 (which we got again, 5th time in a row) .. and though the people knew about it and even asked again, they never approached us about the planting ... ah well ...

While Saturday was nice, sunday was very rainy, but somewhat cozy.

The dive on was done from an old wooden nutshell boat, instead the new shiny one we got used to, but it was actually a bit more comfortable / spacious.

Ritsu tried to get a massage on Saturday at 4 PM ... at 4:25 PM I went to the office to ask again and got confirmation that someone is still coming ... but that never happened ... so we arranged for a massage on Sunday 10 AM ... sure enough no one came, Ritsu had to go bitch and finally got her massage while I was divining (I very spontaneously decided to join the 10 AM dive boat and had a nice dive, the first without Ritsu in a long time)

The crowd was different, more well paying tourist types, no kids, no weddings, a honeymoon couple ... some very nice people, but some guy knocked down our wine cooler, we lost about 2 glasses out of the bottle ... and besides "sorry" he offered no compensation, so not polite.

Speaking of food .. that again was great:
    Friday dinner
    prawn mushroom risotto
    scotch fillet / crab meat ciche
    passionfruit bread pudding

    Saturday lunch
    chicken / corn soup
    fish kebab - peanut sauce / mince meat - sundried tomato - cheese pie slice
    ice with passionfruit sauce

    Saturday dinner
    seafood appetizers (lots of different mussles in coconut cream and spices, even seacucumber)
    indoor BBQ: beef, cod, pork, chicken, sausage. Beef was great.
    again something with passionfruit and icecream
    bottle of 2002 Jacob's Creek Chardonnay

    Sunday lunch
    crab fritter with red pepper salad
    beer battered Kawakawa and a filo filled with veggies (great idea to repack last night's unused veggies:)
    angel hair pasta with mushroom cream sauce
    icecream with tropical fruit strudel (wrapped in the same filo dough as above)

To bad we had to leave again, this time it really felt very fast that the weekend was over ... at nakelo landing we caught our slightly crazy cab driver and around 5:30 PM we were back home, where a hungry cat was waiting for us.

Here is something fun I had not done since the USA 2001 trip: Panoramic pictures :)
Please click on the pic below to see a really big version ... and soon I will learn how to create QuickTime VR pictures out of those ;)

Comments-[ comments.]

Thursday, July 17, 2003

The Movie Theater at the end of the world

This is a fairly funny story I came across while looking up movies made in Fiji. This guy (John Pierson) had the crazy idea to find and operate the worlds most remote movie theater. This 288 seat theater (built in 1954) is on Taveuni, one of the smaller fijian islands, there is virtually NOTHING in terms of entertainment. Obviously screening films for free did not go well with the local church.

Well, I dropped him a line and we had lunch today with him and his cameraman (P.H. O'Brian) at Fong Lee, and the four of us had a fun time. Fun to meet other people who escaped the big city life to live on an island in the south pacific ... He is about to finish a documentary on his one year in Taveuni and I am very curious to see it when it is released :)

I forgot to mention:
John told me that friday 7/18 would be the last movie he is showing there, and of all movies it was Jackass. Seems the theater project is being wrapped right now, though he said he would be back in half a year or so ... what will happen with the theater? Well, I kinda rejected the offer of buying it :) .. so, who knows.

Comments-[ comments.]

Yesterday I had fun making Chili again ... i LOVE making chili ... one day I want to enter a competition :) a big chili cook out ... there are tons of websites out there on the topic, even with rules, what can be in a chili and what not (Texas Red e.g. has no beans or tomatoes, though I guess it can have some tomato paste as part of the sauce)

Anyways, since I ran out of chili powder, I decided to make my own. Fairly simple .. I bought a bunch of chillies and dried them in the oven till they were crisp ... then grind them with oregano, cumin and garlic powder ... Only problem was that my hands did not stop to hurt from having touched the chillies !!! And even now I can feel a slight tingle .. and NO way that I would dare using those fingers to put my contacts in ...

But the chili was great :)

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Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Hoorray ... Fiji's first webcam (feel free to prove me wrong on this:)

I had played with the webcam idea before here and got involved setting up a webcam for a special event just recently ... but now that I got my great new shiny iSight cam from apple, I decided to at least create a permanent link over there on the left .... the cam will not always be on .. and too bad I cannot show some interesting view out of the window .. so .. it will be mainly me, Ritsu and our cat you see there :) ...

Comments-[ comments.]

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Fiji in pop culture.

I have been wondering about that ... when did Fiji ever appeare in other countries music, TV, film, media? Well, I will name some instances and maybe you guys have some to contribute:

  • The earliest I have found (actually Katalina over at #musicloading did) is a german song from 1930 !!! Sung by Willy Fritsch and apparently from the movie Einbrecher, it is some gigolo's lament about how bored he is about the Paris night life ("every night the same, tuxedo or tails") so he decides to have his body painted black and move to the Fiji Islands ... where he plans on wearing nothing but a fig-leave and shells, snuggling with a fiji-doll and build a house just using bamboo. He declares that everything is wonderful and new there, he is very happy about moving ... he even wants to become fijian ... well .. I wonder what Fiji must have been like in the 30ies of the last century.

  • Movies shot here: Blue Lagoon, that "shipwrecked kids have to face puberty together" drama from 1980 and Cast Away, Tom Hanks impersonation of the lost fed-ex man on an island ...

  • Recently there was a lot of talk about MTV Road Rules having a Fiji Season shot here ... I think they are actually doing that right now, but have asked the press to keep a lid on that.

  • Also currently in production here is the sequel to the questionably hit-film Anaconda. Banking in on the J-Lo factor (without having J-Lo) it looks like a straight to Video production ... but let's see, they are preparing stuff only 30 miles away from here and there is something in the paper every now an then. The funniest bits are that some village people (no, not the YMCA type) are asking for meetings to renegotiate the compensation for using their land ... those demands for meetings includes demands for bus fare and lunch.

  • I heard from this guy that the UK sci fi TV show "Red Dwarf" makes frequent references to "moving to Fiji" as being the ultimate bliss. (Trust me, it is not)

  • Seems that even a Douglas Fairbanks version of Robinson Crusoe was partly shot here in 1932

  • I heard they shot some Bollywood movies here, some song and dance numbers in the Thurston Gardens, but not really worth mentioning.

  • And how could I have nearly forgot The Truman Show? In this, the main character plots his escape from his fictionous world to find again the love he lost, on Fiji !!!!

  • Comments-[ comments.]

    Monday, July 14, 2003

    Had the chance today to go and watch Terminator 3 and boy WHAT a pleasant surprise ... I did not look forward to this movie, as I thought it would be a fairly cheap use of an existing franchise to make a buck or two and for Arnold Schwarzenegger to finally have some success again ... The trailers were unimpressive, and I had no idea what the storyline could be about that I would like it ... but in that also lies why I ended up liking it so much, they came up with a solid story (though, mind you, we have time travel issues here, and some very forgivable inconsistencies with the 2 prior installments ... don;t want to think about it tooooo much) which I had not seen coming .. and even while watching the movie, I was like "How can they end this movie so that I would be satisfied" ... and usually you know the answer to that before it ends, and in usual hollywood fare this is also what happens .... In this case, I could not come up with any ending I would like ... so, when presented with the way the movie ended, I was surprised AND satisfied ... and it makes you want to come back for more.

    I don't want to repeat too much what I keep hearing left and right: Yes, it is not a great as T2, but that is pretty much impossible, so people accept that. Some of the humor is campy, but most of the time it is really funny (How Arnold gets his clothes this time is priceless). The score is non-existant, but at least it is not some crappy techno or heavy metal stuff. It sure kicks Matrix Reloaded in pretty much every department. The fights are great and more real and to care about. There is a chase scene very early on that makes Matrix's look like the muppets show. The first hands on fight between TX and the 'old' Terminator is about 5 times as fun as the bathroom fight from Matrix 1 (and about 100 times better than video-game-neo fighting 100 agent smiths).

    Now .. here is my fun part: a to do list for John Connor for the sequel, things he just MUST do in order to exist and save the human race:

      (i will try to use inviso text, to keep those of you who have not seen it unspoilt, you need to swipe with mouse to read)

      John Conner's To Do List:
    • Start out in that cave with that chick and make babies, marry her later.
    • Try to locate your father, try to locate a time portal, get him to memorize some fancy lines, give him the only photo you have of your mother, make him go through the time portal butt-nekkid. Destroy time portal.
    • Acquire old Arnold looking Terminator, reprogram him to save your younger self, find new time portal, send him through, butt-nekkid, and destroy time portal ... (makes you wonder how many of them are around)
    • Still alive? Good, now recall that when you see that Arnold Terminator again, not to fall for your childhood sentiments... this one is coming to get you now. Die, then have your wife reprogram him and send him back (after you taught her how to find time portals, maybe on ebay) ... If you do not die, you will soon anyway, as you have learnt that fate is inevitable ...

    So .. that pretty much sums it up pretty much :) Could make for a kick-ass new Terminator trilogy, only that Mr. Schwarzenegger is not really getting younger ...

    Comments-[ comments.]

    Sunday, July 13, 2003

    Recipe time!

    I came across a nice sounding recipe for lamb loins recently and last night I got to make it:

      Boneless Lamb Loin with Mushroom Crust
        For 2 People:
      • 1 leek, trimmed of hard green parts, split in half, well washed and roughly chopped. One Potato, peeled and chopped.
      • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
      • 2 oz dried black trumpet or other dried mushrooms. (if you need to dry them yourself, a) make sure they get really bone dry and b) you'd be surprised how many mushrooms you need to get the 2 oz.)
      • 1 egg, beaten with a little salt and pepper. Flour for dredging
      • 2 Loins of boneless lamb
      • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
      • 4 ounces morels, shitake or other mushrooms, trimmed and cut into chunks.
      • 2 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
      • 2 thyme sprigs, or 1 oz dried thyme

      Cook the leeks in boiling salted water until tender, about four minutes. Drain and transfer them to a blender with butter and salt and pepper to taste. Purée and keep warm. Boil the potato chunks until soft and mash with leek puree.

      Put the dried mushroom in a spice or coffee grinder and grind to the consistency of coffee. Put them on a plate. Beat the egg in a bowl and put the flour on a plate.

      Wash, dry and then dip the lamb very light in the flour, shaking off excess flour, then dip the lamb in the egg, then into the mushrooms. Pat the mushroom to adhere; you want to coat the lamb heavily. Refrigerate up to two hours, if time allows.

      Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and add the mushroom chunks, garlic and thyme. (If you use dried thyme, let it sit in the olive oil together with the garlic for a while) Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are crispy (about 20 minutes). In a seccong pan heat the remaining olive oil and fry the coated lamb for about 2 minutes on each side. That's at least how I did it. The original recipe calls for a mixed use of both: Pan and Oven, which I found a waste of gas ... but here are the original instructions: "Meanwhile, put the remaining two tablespoons of oil in an ovenproof skillet and turn the heat to medium high. A minute later, add the lamb; cook for two minutes on one side, then turn over the lamb and put the skillet in the oven for three to four minutes for rare meat, a little longer if you like it more done."

      Let the lamb rest for a minute, then cut it into half-inch slices. Put a dollop of leek/potato puree on each plate, top with a portion of mushroom, the put the lamb on top. Sprinkle with salt and serve. You can also add some mint jelly. Goes very well with a nice Shiraz or Chianti Classico.

    Beside of that, our weekend was mellow and nice, the weather was murky and did not really invite to do anything outside ... The sunday shopping was fun, as we realized again just how small the island is and kept running into people we know. We again went to Vinod Patel, the hardware store and bought stuff for house and kitchen. Then Cost-U-Less to get ingredients for the above dinner. Entertainment wise we kept watching "Friends" episodes left and right.

    The cat continues her habbit of sleeping with us in our bed, but now sometimes wakes me up by gently biting my toe, probably to play or to get food :)

    Comments-[ comments.]

    This "Hulk" related article made me laugh and wonder in many ways ... yes, it reminds us of the recalled Tarzan doll and the joy many young female Harry Potter fans had on their vibrating broomsticks ..

    In this case I think it is just a jobless journalist with a dirty mind, a wife having the skill to create a fake dingdong and a cute daughter to pose for the photo ...

    back to the real world

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