3 am. Loud knocking on the door and a woman's urgent voice. She told us to get up the nearest hill. A huge earthquake had just rocked Japan's coast and tsunami warnings had been issued. I went from groggy to wide awake faster than you could blink an eye. Couldn't believe it. Did I really just hear that word? Tsunami??? Since I was a little girl this has been my recurrent nightmare. I am petrified at the thought of it. More than any other natural disaster that exists. And that night, on the little island of Waya, I was terrified. Despite my fear, I packed my Camelback with the "essentials": laptop, camera, chargers, passport, wallet, and an extra set of warm clothes. What did I think I would do with a computer if a tsunami hit? Don't even ask me. My roomies and I climbed up the dark path to the top of the hill. Everyone else from the resort was already up there spread out on tarps. I heard hushed voices whispering that we were surrounded by reef which would break a wave if it tried to cross. That was a very comforting thought. However, I looked around for a coconut tree just in case and then tried my luck at catching a little sleep. That was impossible due to the sleeping, elderly gentlemen next to me who breathed in my face. Also, one of his eyes was open and that was just creepy. So I opted to sit by the small campfire and shoot the breeze with Dominique, one of the resort managers. The other manager, a Scottish guy named Frasier, passed out chocolate bars to all those awake. We waited on that hilltop for 3 1/2 hours. The sun was getting ready to rise when we received word that the tsunami warning had been cleared. With relief I practically ran down the hill and back to bed.
Woke up a few hours later to catch breakfast. The morning was spotless. Bright, beautiful sunshine streamed from the sky and bathed Octopus Resort. A beautiful last day on the Yasawa Islands. Sadly the adorable Swedish couple and all my new UK friends left that afternoon. But there were others to replace them. A group of about 10 Mormon dental students. They were spending a few days vacationing on the resort before setting up clinics in more remote villages. DAD you are not going to believe this… one of the guys knew Dr. Ambler! Unbelievable, huh?! They were a unique bunch. Nerdy in the extreme, most under the age of 30, and every single one of them married with at least 1-3 kids. Or "two and a half" as Doug said. His wife was due in March. Yup, they were certainly unique. But also super cool. Some of the nicest, most down to earth people I'd run into. And they played volleyball! Sort of. We had many a match over the next 24 hours. Confusing, hilarious, energetic round after round of my favorite sport in the universe! Nerds colliding everywhere, spectacles flying, many a selfless sacrifice of the body for a dig in the sand… except most of the time contact wasn't actually made with the ball :)
Dinner that night was a BBQ, and oooOOOhhhHHH was it GLORIOUS! There were grilled steaks, chicken wings, sausages, fish filets, and veggie kabobs. To accompany it was a table piled high with bowls of tangy 3-bean salad, fresh pineapple coleslaw, pasta salad, baked potatoes, and garlic bread. I went back for a second plate. Following dinner was a beach party complete with a coconut bar, games, and music. But I was so freaking exhausted (only got about 4 hours of sleep) I went straight to bed and passed out.
The next afternoon I said goodbye to the Mormons and left Octopus Resort for the mainland. As if to wish me luck, Fiji gave a full rainbow on my way out :) After a wonderful 10 days of island hopping, I found myself once again at Bamboo Hostel. It was good to see everyone. "My friend!" the locals would exclaim while giving a big, sweaty hug. They offered me more kava but I happily declined.
Woke up way too early in the morning. It was 5:30 am. So I went out to pay a few bills online, do some writing, catch up with the gossip on FB, skype with my boy… all that jazz. Paid my car off finally too! I ate my free breakfast of passion fruit and toast while having a chat with the hostel owner, Richard. He brought out a plate of "eggplant jam" which you might think would taste horrible but was actually very delicious. Like raspberries! Richard and I were discussing the recent tsunami warnings. He said before the scare they hadn't had a "tsunami action plan", but now they do. I asked what the action plan was. Richard replied, "Get up to the top floor over there and get the party crankin'!" This was the old Kiwi's "Fiji time" type of outlook. He is so laid back it's ridiculous :)
When I went up to my room around 9 am to pack my stuff for the AP, I couldn't find my wallet anywhere! Thank GOD I had my passport in another backpack! But my cards, $200 Aussie dollars, driver's license, and Peter's e-mail address were all in that wallet. I emptied everything out, searched under the bed, under the couch pillows, in the closets and drawers. No wallet. I was devastated. In tears, I rushed over to the office, thinking that one of the roomies had stolen it before they left early that morning. Richard called the police to file a report and I was about to cancel my cards when… I picked up my laptop case to put my computer away and out fell the wallet! SUCH RELIEF!!! Do you know how scary it is to face 3 days in 2 different foreign countries with NO MONEY?!! I thought I was gonna have to sleep the next few nights in airports and ration out the 2 Luna Bars and 2 Raman noodles in my backpack. I felt really bad for causing such a panic for the staff. But Richard assured me that this has happened 4 times now, and every time the "stolen" item was found. Make that 5 times.
Once on the Sydney-bound plane, I finally relaxed. Amazingly, I had met this girl at the Smuggler's Cove Hostel pool that morning named Sarah. She was from Chattanooga, TN of all places!!! :D Small world. If that wasn't crazy enough, she was on the same flight to Sydney. I told her about my plans to visit Bondi Beach tomorrow. "No way!" she laughed, "That's where I live!!" We decided to definitely meet up tomorrow at the beach around 10 am, get some sun, hopefully catch a scene from Bondi Rescue (should be absolutely retarded, lol), eat some wedges, get a pedicure, and mayyyybe catch a show at the Opera House. Assuming there is actually a show going on.
Fast forward. I am once again at the Blue Parrot in Sydney, Australia. Decided to eat cheap tonight as tomorrow may be a bit expensive. Spicy lentil dahl soup out of a can. Oh stop gagging, I warmed it up first. It was quite tasty. As I finish this blog I am serenaded by the snores of the Irish boy below me. Upon entering the room 20 minutes ago, he warned me that he has asthma which has been acting up lately, and he also has a sinus infection. When I arrived at Blue Parrot earlier, I was told by Chris at the front desk that I had 2 choices of rooms: A. a 6-bed dorm with 4 boys in it (smaller room) or B. a 6-bed dorm with 4 boys in it (larger room). Wasn't totally stoked on either of them but I picked the lesser of 2 evils and went with the bigger room. HUGE MISTAKE. This guy will not stop snoring, slobbering, or coughing. It's 11 pm. Is it too late to ring Chris up and tell him I want to switch rooms STAT?!!!!!!
Plan: Bondi Beach tomorrow
Fiji day #11 (Octopus Resort) - $22 room (moved to a 15-bed dorm), $35 food, $10 other, $5 internet
Fiji day #12 (Bamboo Hostel) - $65 boat transport to mainland, $10 room, $10 internet, $4 dinner, $2 water
Fiji/Sydney day #13 (Bamboo Hostel/Blue Parrot Hostel) - $4 lunch, $3 taxi, $2 water, $10 taxi, $38 room