Location: HOME!!!, England
We're home! (just in case you didn't already know!!) Hope to hear from you all soon! I need some perking up in my post travelling slump.
Thanks for everything along the way, all of the messages and for continuing to check up on us. I (we) had the most amazing time!
All my love
Location: New York, USA
Hello for probably the last time whilst we're away!
Well as Joe so beautifully put it the other day, It is indeed Cold here...well it has been warming up actually. The coldest days we the first couple. When we arrived at JFK on Tuesday evening it was 0 degrees and quite a shock from the hot climate we'd been used to in Fiji for two weeks. We both had flip flops on and nearly lost our toes to frostbite...Because of an unfortunate losing of trainers on the boat in Fiji, Sandals were the only shoes I had and so until I managed to get to Macy's the next day to buy some, I was walking around New York (fashion capital) in Socks and Sandals...classy.
However, with warm feet and a new pair of gloves for the both of us, we began to look around and enjoy the city. The day after we arrived it snowed and New York in the snow is very pretty! We were lucky enough to see it falling, before it all turned to sludge later in the day.
We caught the Subway down to 34th Street, went to Macy's, past Madison Square Garden. Then we walked up to Times Square for some lunch. Because we are here for so long we've been spreading out the sightseeing. So it was back to our hostel for some warming up and some dinner at Mama's Pizzeria down the road. woop. (why do you care were we ate our meals!?)
The next day (Thursday) we decided to do the Downtown stuff. I've been singing that Petula Clark song ever since. We went all the way down to South Ferry (where the Staten Island Ferry leaves from) around Battery Park, looking out towards the Statue of Liberty. Then a quick, hop, skip and jump across to Wall Street for a coffee (just like the locals) a look at Brooklyn Bridge and The Bull and Stock Exchange. Because we were down that way, we walked past Ground Zero. It was really strange seeing this big gaping hole in the city, which is still a pile of rubble 6 years on. I found it quite bizarre trying to imagine the streets we were walking around covered in dust and fire....erm, anyway...happy thoughts....that was enough sightseeing for that day and back we headed to warm our little icicles of bodies up.
Friday was a lot warmer (I didn't even need to cover my ears up!) We wandered on down to the Empire State Building and went up to the Observatory, it was quite a clear day so we were lucky and could see quite a long way out of the city. After we came down in those super speedy lifts (that made my ears pop) we walked up 5th Avenue past The Public Library, Rockafella Centre, St Patricks Cathedral, Saks, Tiffanys and Trump Tower (I thought of you Rob!) among other things. Then we walked through Central Park all the way back up to 103rd St (where our hostel is) The lakes in the park are all frozen over.
Yesterday, we did a bit of shopping and looking about. Nothing amazing though.
Today after deciding that we couldn't really afford the Natural History Museum Joe went back to the hostel while I went for a Sunday constitutional in Central Park. I've never seen so many prams, joggers and people with small dogs in coats in one place. It felt quite nice to be walking through the park amongst the New Yorkers and the tourists, on what turned out to be a really nice day.
In short, I like New York. It's a blooming big place but you can forgive it that because of the ease of moving around here.
I've had an amazing time and am really looking forward to getting home now. I hope you're all ready for some well needed hugs and hours of looking at photos and hearing stories....the unedited versions! :p Speak to you soon
p.s. in case you hadn't guessed Joe wrote the last New York blog....such a comedian that boy! :)
Location: New York, USA
Location: Los Angeles, USA
Arrived in LAX Tuesday afternoon and after the extensive immigration process, (well I say extensive, they just take your fingerprints and a photo) we got a shuttle to our Hostel. It's a really nice place on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, and its set up well for international travellers, which is good.
We've been doing some of the touristy stuff, like Hollywood Boulevard, Chinese Theatre, Hollywood Sign. I've stood on Johnny Depp's star and all that stuff! woo! I actually quite like L.A. People have told me that I wouldn't, but it's cool.
The Americans look at us like we're crazy when we walk everywhere, especially now that i've done something to my ankle and am limping around like an idiot. Los Angeles is really spread out and nobody walks, everybody drives or gets the bus...but not us. Who needs the bus when you can limp?
Yesterday we went to Universal Studios, which was cool. Went on the rides, didn't throw up. We also did the Studio Tour and saw where lots of famous movies have been filmed and then we drove past the end of Wisteria Lane (Desperate Housewives) but i didn't see any famous people. It was really really good though, the Americans are definately very good at theme parks.
Talking of famous people, we've had a couple of near misses but as yet nobody. We drove past a shop and there were loads and loads of photgraphers at the window but we couldn't see inside. Then later on, we saw a big blacked out car and Two Big Bodyguards, Joe saw a woman inside but didn't know who it was....
Somebody at the hostel told us that she met Ron Jeremy a few nights ago...he gave her his mobile and home phone number, I don't think she's going to call...hopefully. :s
Anyway, our big plans for today are going to the 99c store and maybe to the $3 cinema! Bargains all round!
I'm really sorry this is so unwitty. My head hurts....I blame the pollution. (blimey, whats with me, moany pants :p)
Hope everybody is well and we'll see some of you very soon! I can't believe we only have 10 days left!!
All my love
Location: Nadi (again), Fiji
Ni sa Bula!
Blimey it feels like I've been out of contact an eternity...a whole two weeks. But we're back on the mainland (and civilisation) again.
We left Nadi on the 15th and caught the bus to Denarau Marina to board the Yasawa Flyer. The first of many trips aboard the big white boat (as it's known around here). Our first stop was Nacula Island, the big boat stops in the waters near the island and you get a little transfer boat to come and pick you and your bags up (this is basically the locals fishing boat!) so off we went to our first place, "Melbravo." For the first day and night here we were the only guests, we had our own little Bure, the traditional thatched Fijian hut and when we ate dinner they would come and sit with us, which was, at times, a little strange. But they were lovely friendly people and made us feel welcome. The fijians and all quite enthuasiatic about their culture and will try to involve you as much as possible. They are always happy to answer questions (even if you didn't really ask!). It really is so beautiful here, just how you would imagine paradise to look and feel. I know that sounds a bit soppy, but it's true!!! We spent most of our time, swimming in the sea, lying on the hammocks and drinking coconuts fresh from the trees. (Joe was to soon become an expert at husking them!!). The second day Dan and Stew from Preston arrived and we got on really well, we actually ending up spending the next 5 or so days with them.
After Melbravo, it was a short hop, skip and a jump over to Nahula Lailai island, home of the Blue Lagoon (apparently there's some eighties film with Brooke Shields filmed here! :p) the lagoon was stunning and the water was so calm. At our resort "Seaspray" we met Queen, who when we arrived she said something to the effect of...."I am, how do you call it?!" we then answered quite politely..."erm, a bit camp maybe?" "A Fag!" she says! Brilliant. She used to work on the luxury resort on Turtle island just around the corner and told us all about the celebrities that she had met and how Oprah Winfrey had invited her over to the States to "dance" at her birthday. All in all a brilliant person and a real laugh! They fed us well at Seaspray, while we were out in the islands we have eaten a lot of traditional Fijian food and it's so nice!!! Really really lovely food.
After a couple of nights there, Dan, Stew, Joe and I headed off down the islands to Naviti and "White Sandy Beach." This was probably my favourite place. Because we had made quite a big group of friends and so there was always someone to do something with or have a laugh with. While we were here Dan, Joe and I did some snorkelling and it was amazing!!! I've never seen anything like it! The reef here is one of the best in the world (apparently!) and so accessible! I saw loads and loads of different types of fish and coral (I won't bore you with them now!) and generally had a big smile on my face, snorkel permitting. We also walked over to the other side of the island to the deserted beach, there was nobody else there and it was beautiful. The boys celebrated by building a sand fort. How English. The staff at White Sandy were really friendly and every night we had to dance and sing and generally make fools of ourselves. We are now pros at the 'Bula Dance!' and to top it off, Joe has discovered a new talent by means of Limbo Dancing!!! Oh. My. God. He beat the Fijians!! It was great, I sat and watched as everybody fell by the wayside but that boy just kept on limbo-ing. Best. Thing. Ever. :)
After Naviti and lots of fun, (as well as the best beach yet!) We said goodbye to everybody and headed on down to the Wanna Taki Cruise. After we'd got used to the rocking we had a nice time, jumping off the side of the boat into the water and watching the Dolphins that swam alongside.
Next stop was Waya and "Sunset Waya" here we met Simone from Switzerland and also tried our hand at Handline Fishing, and, to put it mildly, were rubbish. Apparently I wasn't feeling for the fish enough. I was seasick though, which was nice. Anyway, the nice fijian fisherman we were with caught us some lunch and we went back and had them smoked on the fire. It was so delicious, I've never eaten fresh fish that fresh! We ate Snapper, Parrot Fish and another one that I can't remember the name of but the cook kept calling Nemo, (which put me off a little!) We drank more Kava here (our third time!) Joe won another limbo and we were treated to a fire dance by the local lads. All in all, pretty cool.
After Sunset it was onto our last stop Kuata. Where we did little more than play cards, sleep and eat. Bliss.
A couple of days ago, we caught the boat bak to Denarau and, after bumping into Dan and Stew again have been enjoying hot showers, cash machines, power points and laundry.
I think we have both really enjoyed Fiji and are both looking forward to talking about it in more detail when I have the time. This account has been chopped down quite a bit because of time restraints, but I hope it will keep you going for now!!!
Laura and Joe x
Location: Nadi, Fiji
Bula from Fiji!
Blimey it's hot here. Got off the plane and the humidity hit us hard, it's just like being back in Thailand. (well sort of).
We arrived at our little hostel yesterday afternoon (just!) and it was raining....alot....i mean proper tropical storm kind of stuff. So to cheer ourselves up, we drank some rather camp cocktails..woop. Today we've been booking up our trip out to the Yasawa Islands. We got the bus into town (a whole 65c! - thats about 20p) and got swamped by some locals trying to sell us stuff....BUT, we did get offered some kava, and were made to sit on the floor, clap once then received the bowl, drink it in one, while eveyone else clapped then clap three times. It was all a bit strange and made our heads feel funny, but still quite cool.
After we had spent far too long already in town, (it was all a bit stressful) we got back to the hostel and finalised our island hopping and accommodation arrangements. Then tonight we've eaten a very nice 3 course meal...yum...i even had black forest gateau which made me a happy girl.
We are heading out on the early boat tomorrow and spending 10 nights out on the islands. We may not be in contact very much because the phone system is lousy and lots of the places we are staying don't have net, or if it does, the property runs on a generator and so time may be limited. Anyway, just to warn you. We'll try our best but we haven't forgotten about anybody!!! Just think of us, diving, snorkelling, drinking cocktails and generally lying on the beach. Woop.
Sorry it's another short and sweet one, getting eaten alive by mosquitos sitting here and am off to find the 80% deet spray and anti-histamine cream (god bless them!)
All my love to everybody!
Laura x (and Joe)
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Well it's our last day in New Zealand today, and although we are both looking forward to a bit of white sand and turquoise sea in Fiji, I think I'll be sad to leave. I've really enjoyed it here and hope to maybe one day make it back.
The last few days have been spent in Christchurch, we've been really lucky in finding a great little hostel with lots of home comforts and have just been enjoying all the (free) stuff Christchurch has to offer. Things like the street performers (some of which I've seen numerous times!), The Cathedral, The Arts Centre, the Botanical Gardens, that kind of thing. Joe and I both watched Maori perform a Haka yesterday (although at the time we didn't realise we were both there at the same time!) It was really good, but actually quite scary. You can see why those Rugby players get intimidated.
Anyway, I'd best be off got some packing to do before our early flight up to Auckland and then out to Nadi, Fiji tomorrow morning!! (Will be packing all my cold weather clothes to the bottom of my bag again!) and there's a beer back at the hostel with my name on it.
Sorry for the short little entry, it's just to whet your appetite I suppose.