I woke up underwater this morning.
Well, not really... but for a second as I awoke I thought I was underwater.
Specifically, I thought I was underwater in Fiji. And when my eyes opened I fully expected that I'd be surrounded by dolphins, which is my strongest memory from visiting there.
Alas, I wasn't in the South Pacific after all, which started my day on a depressing note. And then I noticed that the finger I stabbed a couple days ago was throbbing and the area around the wound was swollen. Oh yay, an infection. Nothing quite like going from thinking you're in Fiji... to slicing your finger back open so you can clean it out and pack it with antibiotics.
Unless it's going from thinking you're in Fiji... to slicing open your infected finger... to eating the wrong combination of foods and ending up battling diarrhea all morning...
Good times. Good times.
Needless to say, my work day was severely hampered. Instead of going into work I ended up attempting to work from home all day, barely making a dent on the pile of crap I have to get done.
Now I'm exhausted and needing to get some sleep. Not willing to risk a night of insomnia-as-usual, I decided to take sleeping pills.
After skipping two Bullet Sundays while I was on vacation, my plan was to get back on track this past Sunday. Alas... it wasn't to be. So here we are with a very special, never-before-seen, extremely rare, hopefully never-to-be-repeated BULLET SUNDAY ON TUESDAY!
And I think I'll make it easy on myself by going back through my comments and emails from the past couple weeks to do a Q & A kind of thing from the questions that I got asked. If I missed one, let me know.
• Isn't it awesome that you have blogging friends as far away as Australia? Yes. Oh heck yes. Since the vast majority of my travel is done alone, I can't overstate how grateful I am that I have friends to keep me company no matter where I go. Any time I feel like giving up on my blog, I remember all the great people I've met through blogging and just can't. It's the reason I keep going.
• Certified diver? Is there anything you don't do? That's what I asked myself after taking skydiving lessons! I like to try cool stuff, and SCUBA diving was just one more thing to check off my list. I really do love it though, so I wish I could afford to do it more often.
• Why aren't you being paid to take vacations and photos, yet? I dunno! Somebody should be paying me to go on vacation! But then I worry that vacations would become all about work, and I'd need a vacation from my vacations.
• I want to hold a koala! What does their fur feel like? Is it soft? Koala fur is thick and kind of coarse and wooly... but still kinda soft. For really soft fur, however, you want to pet a kangaroo. Kangaroos have baby-kitty-soft fur! This is actually kind of bad news for them, because they get made into glove liners and slippers and such.
• Do they sell Fiji Water in Fiji? Oh yes. The bottled stuff is everywhere, and no cheaper than if you bought it here. Of course, you can get "Fiji water" from the tap for free, so that's where I drank all of mine from.
• Loving this trip. Now please tell me about that boat ride. The sail from Fiji was on a 50-foot yacht called Pelorus Jack. It was most definitely not a calm day at sea, which meant a couple people got pretty sick. Call me a sadist, but I actually enjoyed the rough ride, as it made for a more exciting trip! In my opinion, the boat was overcrowded, but it still beats those giant catamarans that head out with so many people that they're practically hanging off the edges. Surprisingly, they allowed me to stand on deck despite the choppy seas after I explained that I had been on sailboats before and was comfortable doing so. I was expecting them to say that I had to stay seated for insurance purposes (or whatever), but they were completely cool with it. For that alone, it was an awesome sail.
• Aren't sea snakes really venomous? So I'm told. But, like so many things in the wild, they really don't bother you unless you bother them first. So long as they are not provoked or feel threatened, they'll pretty much just avoid you. That being said, our dive guide picked one up and held it for a bit before letting it swim off. He later said that a bite wouldn't have been fatal to him, so maybe this particular snake has a weak venom or doesn't make very much of it. When diving, I never touch a damn thing. There are a lot of things that can seriously hurt or kill you. As an example, the cone shell is said to be so poisonous that that the venom in just one of them is enough to kill 700 men. Fire Coral isn't lethal, but it is so painful that you'll wish you were dead. The biggest threat to people on Australia's coasts are deadly Box Jellyfish, but they weren't in season when I was there.
• Nothing BAD happened this trip? Who are you and what have you done with Dave2?? Well, sure, problems came up... I just didn't want to dwell on them while I was on vacation. If forced to make a list, it would go something like this: 1) The V-Australia checkin at Sydney's domestic airport is fucking insane (even though I like the airline itself) and I had to seriously resist the urge to kill on several occasions. 2) The people on my first Fiji sailing cruise had -zero- respect for the ocean, and trampled everything they could stomp their fins on. 3) I hate... fucking hate... Brisbane's airport, easily one of the most traveler-hostile airports I've ever experienced. 4) I paid ridiculously high prices for internet access, yet it sucked most everywhere I went. 5) I need to remember that late-night flights are are so much better than early-morning flights, and the $25 I saved only to be exhausted two days in a row just isn't worth it. Other than that, it was a pretty uneventful trip... at least where bad things are concerned.
• How expensive is "expensive?" As in Australia? Very expensive. At least if you're using the US dollar. When I go on vacation, I don't go crazy with spending money... I don't have that kind of bank... but I do budget generously for expenses. The last thing I want to do is fly all the way to Australia and not be able to afford to do or see stuff. So I save money and then set a budget. But this vacation was one of those rare times where my budget was totally inadequate. I blew through my initial funds before I even left the USA while booking airfare and hotels. So I dug deeper into my savings and increased my budget for the actual trip. But it still wasn't enough. When I got home I had a whopping $1300 in credit card debt. It's depressing, but it happens. My consolation is that I had an incredible trip and definitely got my money's worth.
• Now that you've crossed both Greece and Australia off your "list of places you most want to visit," where to next? It won't happen right away (I'll have to financially recover from Australia/Fiji first!) but eventually I need... need... to visit India. And I'm not quite "done" with Australia, as I want to do a Melbourne-Adelaide-Canberra-Tasmania run with New Zealand at some point. But I'm not picky, really. Anywhere I haven't been yet is somewhere I want to go.
Annnnd... that's a wrap! Hopefully next Bullet Sunday will actually be on a Sunday. Fingers crossed.
Yesterday's rain decided to continue all through the night and, when I woke, it was still going strong. This put my snorkeling trip into doubt, as first I got a call saying it had been canceled... then I got a call saying it was clearing up and was on again.
And thank heavens.
My second trip out was even better than the first.
When I arrived at the dive shop, I was greeted by SCUBA-Cat, who was not very impressed to see me...
The tide was still out. This meant a lengthy trek out to the boat. Our guide had a little extra equipment to carry, but he was a real trooper...
This snorkel had quite a bit more interesting things to see than my last one. Like a SEA SNAKE!!!
After two really good snorkels at some impressive locations, it was time to head back. But guess who decided to show up...
A LOT of dolphins! They were racing along with the boat for a good while...
Doesn't get much cooler than that! Quite a send-off, really.
The tide had come in quite a bit, but there was still a long walk back to the SCUBA shop...
Back on dry land, I decided to have some lunch at the resort restaurant. Look who finally decided to get interested in my presence...
Unfortunately, neither my toasted egg & cheese sandwich nor my fries were cat-appropriate. But the sun was shining again, which was kind of nice. But really, really, melt-your-head-and-set-your-hair-on-fire hot. That's the tropics for you...
And now its time to pick up some souvenirs and crap so I can head back to Australia tonight. Three days in Fiji... no matter how much you fill them... is hardly enough. I could have easily spent my entire two weeks here and never been bored.
Sigh. Yet another awesome place I have to find time to get back to before I die.
I walked out of my apartment this morning and had sweat pouring down my face before I could take a half-dozen steps. By the time I had walked across the road to meet some friends for breakfast, I was soaking wet. The heat and humidity were already a lot more uncomfortable than I'm happy with, and the day hadn't even started.
Luckily, I'd be spending most of my day at sea, where at least the wind would keep me from melting...
Arriving at the reef...
Time for a snorkel...
After snorkeling, we headed to "Plantation Island" for lunch and to goof off at a resort. By the time we got there, clouds had moved in and it was overcast. This caused a couple people to be quite upset... saying "THE CLOUDS ARE RUINING OUR HOLIDAY!!" I just smiled politely while being secretly thankful that the clouds would muffle the direct sunlight that was killing me. It was still hot, but at least I wasn't melting.
After lunch it started raining, which caused even louder protests from the peanut gallery. I just secretly laughed to myself because, at last, it was cool enough to be comfortable again. Besides, Fiji is so fucking beautiful that it still looks amazing... even in the rain...
Unfortunately for me, the cloud cover did nothing to filter out the burning rays of the sun. I should have reapplied sunscreen after I was done snorkeling, but with the rain and all, I thought I'd be safe.
Er... Not so much...
I am frickin' Lobster Boy here.
Oh well. I'm in frickin' Fiji, and it's going to take a lot more than a sunburn to ruin that.
Despite every single day being jam-packed, I can honestly say that this is one of the most relaxing vacations I've ever had. Then today I ended up in Fiji, which somehow ends up being even more relaxed and laid back than Australia.
And why Fiji? Well, there's a Hard Rock Cafe here I haven't been to... but I've actually wanted to visit ever since I first heard Lister wax poetic about his dreams of Fiji on Red Dwarf.
So when it came time to plan my vacation, some hard choices had to be made. And because I didn't have six weeks available to see everything on my wish list, I eventually drew a line through Sydney and split my vacation options into two choices, North or South...
Not that I don't want to see Perth and The West, but that's another ballgame entirely.
Ultimately, I went with the North itinerary because it fit better into the two weeks I had available and was quite a bit cheaper. Adelaide, Hobart, Melbourne, Canberra, and New Zealand will have to wait until next time.
And so Fiji it was. It's a short three-hour flight out of Brisbane, so why not?
Especially since Hard Rock #140 was within my grasp...
It's a really nice old-school two-level property that's pretty impressive. I look forward to visiting again when I have a little more time to explore their memorabilia collection.
In the meanwhile, it's time to put a little vacation into my vacation...