Wednesday, July 30, 2008

10,000 Maniacs

Hey there. Hope all is well. Here's a few odd's and ends.

1) 'Spondence has had more than 10,000 hits now, which is about what google gets per minute I think so we are really in the big time. That is a lot of visits, Mom.
2) Welcome Sawyer Patten Wichman Mayes. Paige is doing fine and we are all glad he has arrived.
3) Last weekend was Wildwood Beach Ultimate Tourney in NJ, this weekend is LogJam in Vermont. I am getting my disc on. My hamstring is protesting loudly.
4) Here's a really old link I meant to post ages ago: These are the photos of my Leaving pick-up day festivities from my last day in Melbourne (June 29). It was a blast and also sad. Thanks to Owen Shepherd for taking and posting these pics. Thanks to everyone to attended. I miss you guys heaps.
5) Even more ancient history is this australian world wide of sports video clip of the nationals tournament I was in in April in Coffs Harbor. Photos of that event are online here: pics.

Work, as always, is nuts and I had better get back to it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Float Like Gravity

Everything is a Blur. I am making up for 18 months out of the city in one month. Wish me luck. It is still really great to be back. I know you love lists, and I can't be bothered to construct a meaningful narrative here, so here's what I've been up to the past couple weeks:
  • All my belongings from Melbourne finally arrived successfully after being shipped. I have unpacked everything and nothing was lost or broken. I am most excited to have Dierdre back. I am glad to say I still fit into 29. ( I was nervous about that after the palace that was 301.)
  • I went to see my Dentist Dr. Schwartz after 18 months of no dental care, my longest ever gap. (Sorry no trust for Aussie dentists.) I was convinced he would say that all my teeth had rotted out of my head, but luckily there were STILL NO CAVITIES. (*Proving my moral superiority.)
  • After 10 days of begging and waiting Time-Warner set up my high speed internet in 29. Yes, I pay for it now. Not sure why there are no more free hot spots. Also not sure why anyone would make a 24 month commitment to Verizon for a higher monthly fee for DSL than you can get with High Speed Broadband from TW. 24 months? They should give me a diamond ring with that deal. I am very glad to be back connected to the interwebs and even though I am taking a few days 'off' I am working a lot from home.
  • I went out to Long Island City to Jax's gorgeous and huge apartment for a Margarita party. Delicious and satisfying. Beautiful rooftop view of Manhattan. It was wonderful to see her again (and Georgia, Devo, Meg, Ali and Dave.) Not to mention Chip's bride Jen Stout-nee-Christ was in town so we all got a chance to hear about the honeymoon.
  • I went to my first Gastronauts dinner in 18 months and traveled up to the Bronx for delicious African food and some Malt liquor (BYO). It was great to see Curtiss and Ben again.
  • I went to the No Borders tournament in Ottawa Canada with Ambush. It was great to be back with Ambush, even if there were only two players in attendance who were on the team the last time I was there. It is about 9 hours each way with city traffic and summer traffic and we had as pleasant as possible a car trip. The fields were nice and we came 6th place and had a couple of really good games. It was a good weekend.
  • After many, many, many attempts I finally caught up with Paige on the phone. She is about to pop. I cannot wait for the arrival of baby boy Wichman-Mayes.

That's the bulk of my updates. This weekend I'm off to Wildwood NJ for the beach tournament with my favorite beach team, the Sex-Cons. I think we may stop on the way down at Atlantic city to make a donation to the poker tables. I'm also going to a Mets game on Thursday during the day so that should be fun.

I'll check back in in another couple of weeks. I'm off to St. Charles, Illinois (nearish to Chicago) for 3 weeks in August to teach an Accenture class and after that I really am not sure where I'll be, but stay tuned here to find out.

Monday, July 7, 2008


i am home. i am home i am home.

after 2 days of 'additional touring' my luggage is now how as well. i did have to wear the same shirt for 4 days. :(

i have already cleaned 29 extensively, been to a barbecue (happy birthday ali!) and to a yankees/red sox game that went to extra innings (thanks jesse!).

29 is exactly the same. the same graffiti is up in the hallways, shit mountain even has a 'nest' full of hatchlings. the same people are standing around out front smoking cigarettes.

there will be a posting hiatus while i enjoy getting back into the swing of things here. there is so much i still need to do: blue and gold, jones, ambush, schnack, i can't even type the list for the excitement of needing to go do it. it is great to be back. l8r.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

ouchy head. still not home.

another airport, another business class champagne hangover. oh man. at least i am reliable.

i'm in chicago. so close to home. still so far from a shower. nice to be able to use US currency.

so, the flight from fiji was delayed, and then diverted to refuel in samoa. then the flight from honolulu had a leak in some coolant system, so after 2 hours (and some boarding champagne) they got us all off and rerouted me to chicago. now i'm in chicago for a 4 hour layover and then i can finally get home. who knows where my bags are...

it's finally saturday. i had two full fourth of julys. the first was the one i described below, snorkeling on south sea island. the second (after crosing the international date line) was all flying and airports.

the flight to chicago didn't have the personal entertainment system, it just had one big tv for us all to watch and the only movie was horton hears a who. i liked some of the animation but i'm suspect of the anti-choice overtones in the, 'a person's a person no matter how small' mantra throughout the film. while i'm critiquing, just exactly why does carol burnett hate the spec any way? i guess the film just needs a villain but she seems to have no motivation at all.

anyway, that's it. i'm only a timezone away from nyc. i already have plans for prospect park pickup and a barbecue tomorrow. woo hoo!

Friday, July 4, 2008

even paradise is hell when you'd rather be in new york city

day 3 in fiji: quick post here. i am about to head to the airport. (yay!) i cannot wait to get back.

today was great really, but i am so ready to leave. i spent today on this beautiful (calebra-esque) island spec called south island. it was all you can drink and there was a buffet lunch and a 20 minute back massage provided. still, it drove me friking nuts and i could not wait to get off.

one major problem is that there are "couples only" islands, (which i am not eligible for) but no child free islands and those little buggers just scream and scream. i hope there are none in business class. grrr!

on the up side, snorkeling was even more incredible today. the island is completely surrounded by a reef (does that make it an atoll?). i saw huge bright plum starfish at least 16 inches across (inches are back! bye-bye metric system). also heaps of sea cucumbers over a foot long. i also saw bright blue fish and swam through a school of large fish with every fluorescent color on their body at once. incredible. the weirdest bit is that you can hear the large fish when they eat, when they take bites off the coral it makes a loud "chomp!"

lynn: i took out a sea kayak called a 'peekaboo' with a clear plastic floor. i had fun and saw lots more fish. i also got beached on the reef several times as it gets right up to the water level quite suddenly. (i know it's bad to touch the reef but this one is pretty much gone as it literally has children climbing on it all day and there are no warnings or restrictions. i decided to be part of the problem...)

i also went for a ride on a glass bottomed, and sided boat and saw even more of the reef and the diverse fish population. beautiful. crowded with humans.

i am still quite sick of taking multiple ferries everywhere you want to go and the requisite 30 minutes for loading and unloading. and all the honeymooning couples. and all the college backpackers. and the families. and basically anyone but me!

happy 4th of july. see you in nyc. anyway i am about to miss my plane.

(ps: does anyone remember how to make it rain in gaston hall?)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bula! (Proud Mary)

so "Bula!" is what Fijians say as a greeting and i hear it here about 200 times a day. Proud Mary is what the Fijean 3-piece acoutsic guitar group is playing right now by the pool in my hotel. of course.

today was better. i did one of those package tours. i know what you are thinking: 'how touristy'. i know, but there's no hiding it really and i'm here for 2.5 days on my own and hardly about to dive in to the real fiji. i think i will be back for a proper trip for that. it's just easy to be taken care of and to have so little expected of you (because you are a tourist). i like not worrying if i am getting lost or if i am in a strange place for a single woman to be. a lot of the island (>50%) is hindi and their women seem to be expected to stay put and act specific ways i don't really know.

today at 8 am a bus picked me up at hotel and drove to 5 or 6 other hotels before taking me to (no joke this is what it is called) robinson crusoe island. a 30 minute skiff ride to a tiny spec of sand with an eco hotel. i spent the day on the island, snorkeling, eating grilled fish, watching fire walking, fire dancing and drinking fiji gold. if you are ever here, do not miss the turtle viewing. the snorkeling was the highlight. i swam through a large school of bright blue fish and saw fish of every other imaginable color near by. also heaps of coral. it's a bit surreal and i lose track of time. i could do that all day.

special to lynn: i tried to do a little shelling and got you a pretty one, i was carrying back to my bag when it bit me. i guess it was a hermit and i hadn't noticed. in typical suave-courtney fashion i screamed and threw the shells everywhere and everyone looked at the weird american girl there on her own. anyway, you won't be getting that shell. (neither you, mom.)

amy: thanks for the tip on the indian food. dosis! naan! curries of all varieties. and for cheap. oh dear!

all fijian women seem to have the same hairstyle, one like oj simpson had during the naked gun films. come on ladies. diversify....

lots of men here still wear skirts or whatever the right name is for man-skirt loincloth things. security guard? skirt. taxi driver? skirt. handicraft dealer? skirt. school boy? skirt.

there was a bus strike today. the government imposes a fixed bus fare, but the buses are privately run and have to buy their own fuel, the price of which has increased 7 times this year. the bus fare can't increase to match the fuel price, so the buses operate at a loss. the bus strike stopped the city of nadi in it's tracks. school children use the private buses to get to school so they were just milling about in their school uniforms (all skirts, the boys with ties). by the time i got back from robinson crusoe island my driver told me the strike was over, but it wasn't clear if the bus fares would increase. that would be hard on school children and most of the workers who rely on the system... i'm a free market fan. whizzer? what's a libertarian to do? what about the school kids?

the soap in my hotel smells exactly like grape hubba bubba. exactly. even though i know it is soap i have considered eating it. (just a little piece...)

my hotel tv gets three channels: the national geographic channel, a fijian news & soap opera channel and espn. i am in heaven and have not had any trouble finding something good to watch. also, there are no commercials for some reason, so when sports center goes to break they just show one of those 'on this day in sports' bits and come right back.

i went into a supermarket and there was a huge display of canned mutton. hundreds of cans. must be all the rage here.

speaking of espn, i just heard that favre is coming back. again? maybe i should just go back to australia. please. what a fool. he had the unexpected chance of a lifetime to go out on a high note after 6 bad seasons and he wants to come back again? i hope he goes down in a steroids probe.

i'll be back in nyc soon and am already looking forward to tournaments in ottawa and a wildwood! i can't wait to get home... see everyone soon.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

quick fiji update

i am here in Nadi. my resort, the smuggler's cove, is safe and clean. i think they kill drug smugglers here so the name seems a bit ironic.

the island seems pretty nice. it is 27 Celcius today and sunny.

service is quite sloooooow and casual. no one is in a hurry.

all the fijeans are are SUPER friendly which makes me think they are trying a scam or something but i think they are just like that. they won't accept tips. even when they carry your 38 kilo suitcase up two flights of stairs.

it is pretty quiet here and i think most people just come for honeymoons. i will take a tour of the outer islands tomorrow and do some snorkleing. i am glad i only have a couple of days here as there is not a ton to do in Nadi. i think Suva is where it's at, but i'm not driving or bussing to the east side of the island in the next two days.

i'll fly to nyc on friday night, arrive sat morning. i am looking forward to that.

food seems not so great so far, reminds me of puerto rico, lots of bland fried fish, but i actually think they are just trying to pander to what british tourists want. today i'll try to find some more authentic food.

just wanted to let you know that all was well.