28 April 2010

Time is running thin

Yikes. Where does all the time go? One moment it is Sunday afternoon and I am making overly large toasted sandwiches for lunch, then the next moment it is already mid day Wednesday.

Oh yes, I know where my time is going... it is a not so balanced mix of university classes a few times a week, meetings, researching for my thesis, working a few days a week, exercising, field hockey on Saturday afternoons, catching up with friends on Sundays and whatever else life can throw at me.

The funny thing is, I am enjoying every minute.

20 April 2010

I be cruising! - Part Two

(Part One can be found here) Next up, day 6, Port Vila! Port Vila is the capital city and also the largest city of Vanuatu, and let me just say it was an experience you don't forget in a hurry. One thing I loved about this whole trip (and yes, I am a nerd) was seeing the different cultures, way of life, people. I live in Melbourne, Australia, I have my whole life as have all my friends. You see movies and hear the news of foreign countries and until you actually see it for yourself you don't really realize how different other places in the world really are when compared to your own.

That's not to give the impression of 'oh my god, they actually live like this!?' as if to say 'our way of life is so superior'. Not at all, I am merely stating that it is very very different, something I find very interesting!

If I had to sum up Port Vila in a word, I would say: hectic. The town lives and breathes tourism, and the locals know it. As soon as you step out of the dock (and this is not a joke) there is literally 3 dozen locals all fighting for your attention in the hope you'll take one of their cabs into town, and wow are they persistent! As a tip, make sure you haggle, never accept their first price.

Port Vila was a great place to do some shopping (which was great because I was yet to buy stuff for friends back home). There is a main road that has most of the commercially owned shops, but just behind that by the bay was the local huts (which in my opinion are much cooler!). While shopping we got followed... actually make that stalked, by one of the crazy taxi drivers I mentioned earlier on. He literally walked around with us as we went in and out of shops in the hope we would finish our shopping and wanted to be taken somewhere else.

Eventually I turn to him: "Nah sorry, we aren't ready to leave yet, we are looking for Michael's wife, can't find her" (Michael doesn't have a wife by the way).

Taxi whisperer: "Oh ha ha, that's funny! Well, how about I drive you around and we look for her?"

... that was strange.

Anyways, eventually we did decide to end the shopping and do some sight seeing (Taxi Whisperer was so happy that his patience had paid off with us, not before saying "forget the wife, we will find her on the way back!"), so we went to the absolutely beautiful Cascade Waterfalls.

That's not before experiencing one of the most insane times of my life haha, the driving over there is... let me put it this way. Imagine seeing a line of ants following a thin path from the gap in your door to the sugar jar, each ant just behind the one in front moving along that same small path, with each ant often behaving in a 'stop start' motion and frequently having to veer a little to avoid crashing into ants traveling in the opposite direction... now imagine that same scenario but instead of a thin path, it is a web of roads, potholes and pedestrians, and instead of ants, it is vans and cars. I was fearing for my life but high on adrenaline at the same time haha!

Again I will let the pictures do the talking of Cascade Waterfall.

Day 7 - Pentecost Island. Umm... what the hell is with this place!? For those of you who are unaware, Pentecost Island has a lot of rich and... unique history. I will not go into too much detail (it is quite graphic so I'd hate to scare the younglings) but Pentecost is very famous for their tradition of 'land diving'... which yes is pretty much how it sounds.

If you look closer there is a man standing at the top of that tower. The tradition is to climb that tower, tie these special vines around their ankles that grow in the forest behind, dance and clap a lot and then jump off the tower!.. but before any of you over zealous minds jump to conclusions, they do indeed survive, the vines are strong and catch their fall just before the hit the ground... well that is what is supposed to happen lol. We got to witness this first hand... I know I was a mix of fright, excitement, confusion, anxiety, disbelief... no way this guy is going to ju... oh my god he just jumped off the tower!

A sight that you don't get to see everyday.

This was the last island to see so it was smooth sailing for the next 3 days back to Sydney. As mentioned we made friends with those 3 girls who were now a core part of our trip. The next day us guys and the girls played bingo, did rock and roll dance lessons (in the end I got pretty good lol), swam in the pool, drank and partied every night, watched comedians, saw a really well done circus act, ate, ate some more, drank a little, ate some more while drinking. It was a great time!

This recount was just the tip of the iceburg... so much more stuff happened, the people I met... Penny, Matt, Emily, the girls..., the sights I saw that I didn't get pictures of, the relaxation, the feeling of being so lucky to actually be traveling around this beautiful world of ours... just wow.

Alas, it was time to come to an end. The last night was the worst, we had become such good friends with the 3 girls it was so sad to have to say goodbye. Michael and Hayley had become somewhat of an item in the last few days so that made it especially hard for them... I remember about 1am we said our goodbyes and went to our separate cabins, wishing we could stay for another week.

I definitely wasn't ready for bed, nor was Jason, lets get the girls out of bed! After a lengthy argument where Rod wanted to go to sleep, Mick didn't want to see Hayley again because saying goodbye once was hard enough, and the fact we weren't sure if they were already sleeping or not, it ended in Jason and I were only allowed to go wake them up on the agreement that we walked to their cabin in only our underwear lol... it was totally worth it!

The girls found it hilarious when we showed up, we invited them back to our cabin and we all stayed up laughing, reminiscing about the trip, remembering the good times, how good it was meeting each other and how close we had become, we made some plans to visit some time when we get back home. Eventually all of us just drifted off to sleep at about 6am... the trip really couldn't of ended any better then that.

I be cruising! - Part One

I have just come back from an absolutely life changing 10 day P&O Cruise! I am not even sure where to start, it was just an indescribable experience, everyday was an adventure, the people we met were amazing, the sights we saw, the cultures, the entertainment... just amazing. Lets start from the beginning =)

Back in December my friend Jason randomly called me to ask if I would want to come on a cruise, which of course I jumped at the idea, who wouldn't! It was for 10 days leaving from Sydney, Australia and traveling to the islands around Vanuatu for a few days, stopping at 4 separate islands before returning back to Sydney. I went with one of my best mates Jason, our mate Mick, Mick's older brother Steve and a friend of theirs Rodney. We are all single, in our early 20's, and work/study far too hard, so a holiday like this sounded epic from the start.

Luckily I kept a log while on the cruise which makes it much easier to recount the trip. You know when you go on holidays and you return back home to receive the expected "how was your trip?"... and you'd think you would have have a week's worth of stuff to tell but you kind of blank out, don't really know where to start, what parts to tell. Well that happens to me anyway lol.

Our first 3 days were spent at sea so we made the most of it by exploring the cruise ship. These things are floating resorts it is unreal, there's bars everywhere, all you can eat buffets, casino, theater room, nightclub, pools... you get the drift. (Get it, drift? Classic!). Also with 2000 passengers it doesn't take long before you start chatting to strangers, there were quite a lot of characters that's for sure.

It wasn't long until we met some new people, namely these 3 girls at the nightclub on our second night to which we hit it off with them from the start. Hayley, Amy and Laura. By the end of the cruise they became like best friends to us and became a significant part of our group, we did everything with them and the cruise definitely wouldn't of been the same without them!

First up was the island of Numea... and as my luck would have it I was terribly terribly sick for this day lol. I kid you not, I thought I was going to die... I missed the entire day and instead opted to stay very very still on one of the pool deck chairs. In the end I slept from 10am to 4pm, stumbled around for dinner, then fell asleep again from 10pm that night until 9am the next day. So, yep, the most I seen of Numea was through closed eyes haha.

Numeo, taken from the back of the boat.

Woke up the next day feeling awesome though! Which was great because today we were on the absolutely stunning island of Lifuo!  For this place, no explanation will do it justice so instead, I am going to let the pictures do the talking.

Clear skies, clearer waters, sun on your face, knowing your hundreds of kilometers from home and being able to spend the day without a single care in the world... priceless!  My favourite part was snorkeling in the crystal clear waters, seeing a huge abundance of life just below the surface.  The rest of the day was spent doing a bit of sight seeing, looking at what the locals had for sale and then just wasting the day away on the beach... I felt so privileged to be able to live a life where I have the chance to do these amazing things.

Oh yeah, I got my hair braided by the locals haha, and bought a bandanna to go with it... it surprisingly suited me extremely well.

Part Two can be found here.

04 April 2010

Busy busy indeed

Funny where life can take you isn't it? No day is truly the same, nor is any week, month, nor especially any year. Think back, to this very day exactly a year ago. Where were you? What were your dreams? Your fears? Your most pressing matter of the time. Whatever it was, it probably seems so minuscule and meaningless now that you laugh at yourself for ever thinking about it in the first place.

I love how things change, of course it doesn't always work out for the best, but oh well. Things find a way to just work, don't you think?

I couldn't believe how little I had posted lately, well anything worth reading that is, those last 2 posts were just ramblings I published just to give the illusion that yes, I am still here. Ha and no, this is not one of those 'omg guys I am like so sorry I haven't posted in so long wow I totally like missed you guys!' posts... although to have some readers who even blinked at the realization of my absence would be nice =P

Currently my days are spent balancing the very tender balance of work, studies and socializing... with varying success, but loving the challenge nonetheless. My Honours study is going great, and work is as fun as ever. Although I seriously cannot keep still from the excitement of knowing my cruise adventure is a mere few days away!

I hope everyone is going well and living life to the fullest, I would love to hear of somebody else's daily excitement some day. I'll be back in a few weeks!