Friday, November 25, 2005

I generally stay away from this sort of stuff, however...

Your Blog Should Be Blue

Your blog is a peaceful, calming force in the blogosphere.
You tend to avoid conflict - you're more likely to share than rant.
From your social causes to cute pet photos, your life is a (mostly) open book.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

More Photos

Due to the time of year, and the recent promotion of the former University Librarian to Deputy Vice chancellor, I've averaged about one work-related party a week! I'm told it won't last, which is fine by me. Anyway below is me at the Christmas party last Saturday with some of the other librarians.

Here's me getting a Fiji Bitter...

And the embarrassing results of that. You're just lucky I'm not posting the picture of when I tried to dance at the MLA convention. In general librarians are NOT dancers.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Boring Photos

Well, I'm not known for taking very good photos. But I do know that when I was doing research on moving to Fiji, I was very curious as to what my house might look like. So I offer up these boring photos of the interior of our new abode. Above is the bedroom, the bed is always made because I have to pay someone to do it. Left to my own devices I'd not make my own bed or pay anybody to do it either. When my ship comes in (I love being able to say that legitemately) we will have our own bed and bedding.

And this is the living room area, I must admit to loving the Gilligan's Island style furnishing, but the seats aren't all that comfortable.

This is what it looks like to watch TV!

This is the back porch, which is why I couldn't resist getting this place. Yes, that is the Pacific Ocean you're looking at!

More of the backyard, it's fenced from the public beach access just behind the house.

Here's the living room again, looking out onto the back porch.

And this is the spacious kitchen! Another big plus for me.

This is actually a couple of blocks away from the house, looking into the ocean from the public park at Suva Point. If you continued along this course you would eventually end up on the other side of the fence on my backyard.

Same spot, but looking in the other direction. At this park there is also playground equipment and a Kiosk selling icecream, soda, cigarettes and delicious fish 'n' chips.

My backyard, right on the other side of the fence. I see kids climb this very palm tree and get nervous.

And this is what it looks like from the front of the house.

This is the "vacant lot" near my house. Perhaps less depressing than most other vacant lots, but there's still plenty of rotting garbage.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The money

Aside from never really knowing the value of things I buy 'do I think of it in terms of US money?', 'but I get paid Fijian' 'but what actually is my take home pay, I know I pay taxes but I haven't seen my first pay stub yet!', I feel like a child everytime I have to painstakingly look through all my coins and actually read the value of them rather than immediately recognizing them by sight. Part of the problem is that the coins are not related to the US coins I'm familiar with. There are many more to deal with one cent, two cents, five cents, ten cents, 20 cents, 50 cents and one dollar. See Fiji Coin Sets. And to make matters worse some of them are the same size as US coins but worth different amounts. The paper bills are colorful and interesting as most non-US currency tends to be, but I still find them difficult to distinguish as the $5, $10 and $50 are only slightly different shades of red! See Fiji Currency the colors are less distinct once the currency has been crumpled and dirtied through circulation. In summary, something I used to take for granted (identifying different denominations of currency) now takes special attention and leaves me feeling foolish.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


The online Fijian Dictionary doesn't have Davui in it. But it's my favorite part of the FijiTimes.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Small world

Oddly enough, this article in the Fiji Times alerted me to the "Stop Snitching" DVD and t-shirts in Baltimore. What a strange small world it really is. From my time on the Baltimore city grand jury I can attest to the absolute reluctance of anybody to testify against others in their community and the tragedy of the Dawson family (mentioned briefly in second linked article) still makes me sick.

Friday, November 11, 2005


I've added some Fiji-centric links to the sidebar. If you ever wonder what I'm watching on tv, now you can check. FijiOne the only channel you get without cable. (Even with cable you only get four channels and one is sports). It's actually quite nice to have only one channel. You never wonder if there is something better on, you never miss your shows because you're watching something else. I was talking to another expat and she agreed. She said that when she's at home at her mother's in Canada with supercable, she'll click through all the channels, find there's nothing on and lament that she's missing Shortland Street. Which is this terrible Australian soap opera, but it's on every night so you can't help but fall into it.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Surrounded by enemies

As some of you may know I consider Bananas to be #1 on my enemy list. Now coming to Fiji, I tried to keep an open mind thinking 'perhaps fresh bananas right from the source may be different than the bananas I'm used to. After all, a vine ripened tomato is afar cry from a winter "tomato"' Well, after trying bananas here I realized that I still despise all bananas. And plantains too. Yes, I've tried them and they taist just like bananas. The problem is bananas are everywhere here! I came home last night and there were two bunches of bananas from the yard (yes there are banana trees in my new yard) in my kitchen. Then at work today, somebody gave me a banana from his yard! I can't bring myself to decline these offers of bananas, however I have no idea what I'm going to do with them. Perhaps this is bananas "season" and the problem will go away when the season ends, but I suspect that this is not the case. On the other hand, my favorite fruit, pineapple, is also readily available, delicious, cheap and even come in adorable baby sizes!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Here is one thing where Oregon and Fiji are alike

Huge Meth Lab Busted in Fiji

(AP) Police dismantled a huge methamphetamine factory in Fiji's capital Wednesday, seizing enough chemicals to make $540 million worth of the drug — which they said was destined for markets in Europe, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

To completely contradict

my last post, I've already found a house. On advise of other expat librarians, I took the first house I looked at because it was apparently a lucky break to be getting it. It's about a 15 minute walk to work, door to door, or a taxi costs only $F1.50 if it's raining (which it often is). It's also right by the ocean. Before you get any ideas about my lolling on a sandy beach, my choice of the word ocean rather than beach was deliberate. It's on Suva point which is a jettied point meaning that there really isn't any beach per se. And what there is is really full of litter, I mean REALLY FULL. But still there is a little park there with a playground, public restrooms and a fish and chips kiosk!

It's furnished, meaning I was able to move in right away, but when my shipment comes it may be a bit crowded as there isn't much storage space. There's a TV for company, but the kitchen is still pretty unusable as it was apparently "furnished" by a retarded bachelor. As there's a couple of properties next to each other all owned by the same land lady, the utilities work more like your housemate collecting on the electric than something more straightforward. One of these shared services is that of the "housegirl", yep, yikes! There's no not taking her up on the services, same with the landline first I've had in years, so I have to wrap my head around paying someone to do my dishes and laundry. I remind myself that it's similar to having someone pump your gas in Oregon, providing a much needed job to someone, plus my Sim had a maid, why can't I?

I've been into downtown Suva twice so far, and each time only explored a little before becoming totally overwhelmed and needing to go home. Not only are the streets laid out in nothing at all like a grid, there are alleyways, and stores with multiple entrances. Shoppers are approached more than I'm used to. And as I dislike even the mild "can I help you find something?" in an American Wal-Mart, most of these approaches simply scare me off rather than pulling in a sale. I figure that slowly, I'll learn my way around both geographically and culturally. I've also found the grocery store around campus, although my closest store is the CostULess a Fijian Costco which came in hand when I needed an extention cord (or lead as they're called here).

Thursday, November 03, 2005

So far...

I haven't been much of anywhere besides the University Campus and the row of shops opposite. I realized that my whole time in Baton Rouge I didn't make it much further either. The library is instantly familiar, with the same cast of characters and library problems as every other library I've been in. We can't afford the serials we subscribe to, we're running out of space and professors don't understand copyright. This weekend I hope to explore Suva a bit more, and am trying to find a house. I'm beginning to realize that this can be difficult, with things either being very expensive, or very sketchy, but little in between. Although am certainly better off than most Fijians, within the realm of westerners, I'm no diplomat or banker and the "executive homes" are a bit dear. There's only one TV channel, which is actually quite lovely, there is no wondering what else is on, or why something better isn't on. What's on is what's on and that's it. I've got a ton of DVD's but still will watch whatever it is that FijiOne thinks I should be watching, curious Australian soap operas, a completely baffling sub set of American TV (why this unremarkable sitcom and not some other?) as well as local news and a wonderfully non US-centric view of world affairs. Oh and they have Chicken flavored potato chips, that taste like chicken bouillon and poultry seasoning! I'll try to get photos up sometime soon.