Tips for Using Natural Water Slides

1. Wear clothes, they help you slide and keep you from developing “rock burn”

2. Wear strudy clothes, this will prevent inappropriately positioned holes from cropping up

3. Occasionally you will get stuck, they are natural slides, not engineered to be one size fits all, try not to think this means you need to diet 

Pushing myself out of a hole

Do You Have a Boyfriend? 

Do you have a boyfriend? Do you have a husband? Do you have children?

One the one hand, these questions could be percieved as progressive, “Do you have a boyfriend and is he so awesome that he is okay with you travelling around by yourself for the year while he takes care of your three children?”

On the other hand, the one I use most, I think “Why are you asking? Are you interested? I rate your opening line as a little forward, but I guess the world is coming to an end soon and no one has time for “what’s your name?””

One of the first question out of Fijian mouths is “Do you have a boyfriend?” If I answer no, the follow up question is “Husband? Kids”? I don’t think it’s meant to be creepy but to a New York brain it does have a little bit of a “I need a wife” or “I am recruiting for this cult and I need to find unattached women who could bear children” air about it. 

I’ve been told that these questions are in fact because here people are constantly looking to arrange someone with someone they know.

According to my current host to fend off this potential hoard (my host has an exaggerated idea of how many times this happens to me) I am to say that I have a husband. For extra emphasis, I’m going to add that I have three kids, and am such a bad mother that I’ve abandoned them for a year. Where’s my ring? Oh, my fingers got puffy in childbirth and I havent been able to wear it since. 

Sidenote: 

I hope two things:

1. Someday soon people stop asking this question to lone travelling women (or anyone)

2. The world changes enough that women can answer this question honestly without feeling like they have just surrendered themselves. 

Good Ideas for Non-Award Winning, but Popular-ish Movies Starring Will Ferrell and Helen Mirren

​Master of Games 

Will Ferrell stars as lovable underdog Mitch who, bereft when his wife leaves him for an ex-Olympic medal winning athlete, feels the need to prove his manhood by signing up for the World Masters Games: held every four years, the global event featuring 28 sports, stipulates that anyone over 35 can sign up for any sport, no qualifications necessary. 

Previously only passingly good at the weekly Simpsons Trivia at their local bar, it will take everything Mitch has to train, compete and ultimately win back his wife’s heart (fittingly with a bow and arrow since he chooses to compete in archery)

Based on: Auckland is currently hosting the World Masters Games and one of my roommates was about to compete in Tennis, she was 60 and assured me (which the rules back up) that you need not have played tennis to compete in tennis at the World Masters Games. Why on earth are these not broadcast ??

The Birthday Retreat 
Helen Mirren stars as Annie, one of seven women who have converged on a tiny  remote island  in Fiji to celebrate a 70th birthday.

Unfortunately, they do not have the lodge to themselves, one loan 36yr old woman happens to have booked the same place. 

The women, mostly grandmothers decend to give the stranger advice on life: over card games, walks on the beach and swims in  the ocean, scandals are revealed, old wounds opened and truths discussed. 

Based on: my last three days on Nananu-i-Ra.

A Taxi, a Minivan, a Bus, a Boat and Jesus 

Bula (hello) from Fiji!

Yesterday was one of those days that probably should have a been a travel disaster, but inexplicably wasn’t: nothing ran according to any schedule I had found on the internet, but somehow it all miraculously worked – possibly all thanks to Jesus. 

I had to get from the tourist hub of Nadi to the tiny island of Nananu-i-Ra, on the north side of the main Fijian Island. I’m staying at a place called MacDonald’s Cottages, and they would send a boat for me to Ellington Wharf, last boat at 5pm.

The question was – how to get to Ellington Wharf? Lonely Planet said the wharf was a 20 min walk from Kings Road (the main road) and I could get the bus to drop me off at the intersection. Great, so now I just had to catch a bus. The bus along Kings Rd starts in a town called Lautoka, which is 45mins from Nadi. There were a couple of ways to get to Lautoka: taxi (too expensive), bus (times didn’t match up), or minivan – they leave once they are full. Okay, so now I only had to get to the minivan station – and a taxi could do that. 

Luckily, I am a bit of a worry wart when it comes to being somewhere on time, so even though the hotel in Nadi recommended I leave at 10:30a, I trucked off around 9:30a and got to the minivan station where, if I paid for two seats (one for me and one for my bag) they could leave right away – seemed worth the $4Fijian Dollars. Arriving in Lautoka, I walked to the bus station and in an onslaught of people someone directed me to stand at Platform 12, a bus pulled up and apparently it was the one I wanted. A painted sign on Platform 12, as well as the internet said the leaving time was 12:15pm, actual leaving time was 11:40am (no idea what would have happened if I had turned up at 12pm)

Clearly looking like I had just arrived from outer space, I was directed to sit right up front, so that I could remind the driver to stop at the intersection. 

Around 2p, I was dropped off at a road and told to walk “that way.”. About five mins later while I was contemplating how big my dinner needed to be, a truck containing four men pulled up. They asked where I was going, “The Wharf”. They said they’d give me a lift – now, I know this is not advised, and now I that I think about it, they could have turned the car around and kidnapped me, but yesterday I only thought “well the road ends at the wharf, so I guess it will be okay”. 

The road to Ellington Wharf

As soon as I got in the car, the driver began preaching the healing powers of Jesus Christ, and according to him, our meeting was destined because turns out they were also on their way to Ellington Wharf to baptize their friend and hopefully cure his gout. 

So, Jesus helped get me to my boat on time, but I also blame Jesus for not giving me the exercise I needed to eat a big dinner: it’s possible Jesus is suggesting I go on a diet. 

The boat, and my bag

Dear NZ: A Couple of Suggestions….

Dear New Zealand, you are a mighty country filled with volcanoes, mountains, earthquakes, oceans, glaciers, daring people willing to throw themselves off all manner of things, and the All Blacks, I wouldn’t change a thing, well maybe just some small things:

1. Sinks. How does one use these tiny sinks? Whenever I wash my face a lake of water forms on the floor. I would suggest bigger sinks, but if that can’t be done, please provide instructions. 

Defeated by tiny sinks

2. Wifi. Better wifi, or even more free WiFi would be great.

3. Feijoa. This fruit is absolutely delicious (it’s like a guava and a strawberry had a baby) and no one knows about it, definite next “world breakout food” potential. Same with Manuka honey. 

4. Spice. Please make the “spicey” option just a tad spicier, your palate might not thank me now, but it will later. 

5. Tea. How is tea the same price as a cappuccino? It only requires a tea bag, hot water and some milk from the fridge – hardly seems right.

That’s about it, thank you. Oh wait, one more thing – advertise the North Island more, it really doesn’t get the credit it deserves.