Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Start of 2011

Another new experience since moving to Australia - 100+ degrees for New Years Eve!
Most of the bars in Melbourne had really expensive cover charges for NYE and because we had a flight at 9 a.m. on the 1st we didn't really want to spend a lot of money to get in somewhere if we couldn't maximize on our money.  Luckily Emma graciously hosted us all at her apartment before going to see the fireworks at midnight. Emma and Rockey were great hosts (I especially liked the pineapple and cheese!!) and even if some of the beer may have "disappeared" I hope they will still invite most of us back soon :)

Here are a few pictures from the night:
Kelly, Emma, and I

Fireworks over the EY building
Thanks to Kelly I made it home before 4 a.m. and made it to my flight.  Thanks Kel :)

Before we get to Fiji I thought I would take a look back at 2010:

Places Lived:
  • Uptown with Rachelle
  • Bloomington with Ben and Erin
  • Prairie City for 2 weeks
  • Serviced apartments in Melbourne for one month
  • St. Kilda West AUSTRALIA
 Places Visited
  • Waco/San Antonio, TX - I got to see where my friend Katie lives/works in Waco and well as attend the wedding of my friend Danika and her new hubby Troy!  Such a fun wedding - even if I was unprepared for the cold front that hit Texas right when we arrived
  • Frederick, MD/Washington DC - Mini Contiki Reunion with Kim and Kelly.  I think I remember all the food we ate the most :)
  • Many trips to Iowa to see friends and family - Hopkins family reunion, my cousin Staci's wedding, and young adult retreat at Camp Pine Lake -  to name a few
  • Gap Adventures trip to Africa - countries visited: Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, and Kenya.  Travelled with Kim, Annie, and Bel and met AMAZING people on our trip.  I was lucky enough to meet Justin, Kiz, and Carlee who are all close by to my new home. I love travel friends!
  • Seoul, South Korea to visit Amber, Jon, and Lincoln. I want to go back just for the bulgogi hot pot!
  • AUSTRALIA!!!! 
  • Fiji with Kelly, Matt, and Amy (Keep reading to find out more) - oh shoot we technically didn't arrive here until Jan. 1 but I'm keeping on the list to make it more impressive
New experiences 
  • Petting a lion
  • Getting a smartphone!
  • Spending Christmas away from home :(
  • Riding in a helicopter
  • Relying solely on public transporation to get around
  • Quitting a job (other than those due to school)
  • probably many, many more that I am forgetting!

Fiji - the part you have all been waiting for (I'm sure you are all still wondering how we got stranded on an island - yes, we were STRANDED)

We arrived in Fiji on the evening of Jan. 1 and were greeted by rain and overcast skies.  We had seen the forecast was for rain the entire time we were in Fiji so we were a litle prepared for this.   A private transfer took us from the airport to The Pearl Resort on the Pacific Coast - about a 2.5 hour trip.  We got McDonald's on the way and then all fell asleep :)

For someone who is used to staying in hostels, tents, or very cheap hotels, this resort was luxurious!!  We spent 3 days at The Pearl. Luckily the weather forecast was wrong and it was gorgeous the entire time we were here! My time there was spent laying by the pool, reading, sitting at the swim-up pool bar, eating, drinking, and getting a massage!  What a relaxing vacation so far!

The Resort

Happy Hour!
 Next up - Beachcomber Island
Several people had told us to go to Beachcomber Island - also known as the party island.  Not that we are finally off the island none of us can remember who told us to go there.  Beachcomber island is tiny.  There is just one small resort and you could probably walk around the whole island in 10 minutes (I never tried the sand hurt my feet too much).

We got to the island around mid-day and got some lunch and drinks (it is the party island after all).  As I said the island is tiny, we were staying in a 16+ bed dorm and I needed a break from the the only logic place to hang out was the bar.  We also played some volleyball a little later which I think led to the destruction of the bottom of my feet.

The party island lived up to its name and even though I lost my sandals and the key to my dorm bed, I would say it was definitely worth it for one night.  At 9:45 we were supposed to leave for Mana Island.  We boarded a small boat with several other people leaving the island.  The small boat was supposed to take us to the ferry that would take us on to Mana Island.  When we got on the small boat we could see the ferry waiting.  But then it just left! Hey -how can it do that!  The driver of our boat didn't seem to concerned.  He just nonchalantly said "that's your boat, maybe it will come back."  But it just kept going!  We went back to Beachcomber and were told that we could get the next ferry at 1:00. Not ideal since we had already checked out of our room, hadn't showered, and were just ready to get off the party island.  But 1:00 didn't sound so bad.  Beachcomber doesn't have any restaurants (breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included in the price and are all one hour don't want to miss it).  There was a small stand that had grilled cheese and hot dogs so I had two grilled cheese sandwiches to tide me over :)
Shortly before 1:00 we were told that there was no ferry coming at 1:00 and we could get the 6:00 ferry.  None of us were too happy although the staff didn't seem to care. After all we were on "Fiji Time."
We did get the 6:00 ferry to Mana - after it nearly drove right past us. 
After reading this description you are all probably still thinking it wasn't that bad - I guess you just had to be there.  Kelly, Matt, and Amy understand my pain :)

Not much to repot about Mana.  The island was a little bigger than Beachcombers but was only one resort.  We stayed in bungalows right on the ocean.  Sadly it did rain the only full day we had at Mana (we lost one day due to being STRANDED on Beachcombers).  Amy and I got our second couple's massage (not sure why they kept putting us in the same room).  This time we got wraps - my first ever.  And another scalp favorite :)

The view from our porch

We arrived back in Melbourne on late on Jan. 7 and had the weekend to recover before heading back to work.  Overall it was a great trip  - maybe I will start taking relaxing vacations more often!

1 comment:

  1. You forgot getting a fish pedicure! Although, not quite as impressive as petting a lion. : )