Touchdown in Auckland

We've had an extraordinarily eventful last week -- so much so that blogging has taken a backseat to actually livin' our special brand of tropical backpacker hobo lifestyle. Internet in Fiji is wicked slow, and who wants to sock away 45 minutes behind a neon screen trying to represent the very beach bumming experience they should be having in that exact moment? Not Us! But alas, here we are in Auckland, New Zealand -- and the connection is prime again. We have a ton more photos from Fiji that hopefully we'll get around to posting in the near future.

Highlights of our last week on the Coral Coast: Hammock time! Yes, so much of it, with  uninterrupted views of crystalline clear blue waters brimming with turtles and sharks and pilot whales, and a rather curious creature that calls himself the "surfer". We went on epic kayak paddles everyday, beaching on deserted beaches and spotting marine wildlife. We did a Kava ceremony for Dennis' 25th birthday with a local chieftain of sorts-- Kava is a traditional Fijian/Polynesian drink made from the root of the Kava plant, and it is drunk in a traditional fashion that includes an arrangement of hand clapping and chants before and after the bowl is passed between participants. It is basically muddy river water that tastes like tree bark and mildly numbs ones mouth. We visited a local kindergarten, a one room school house right on a small bluff above the beach-- easily the best natural setting one could ever imagine a school in. They sang Dennis "Happy Birthday" in English and added an extra verse: "Happy Long Life to You, Happy Long Life to You..." . They also sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for us in Fijian, English, AND Japanese. Later on, we did another special birthday kava ceremony at "Beachouse "(We stayed at a backpackers style resort, kind of a mixture of hostel and resort) with many of the guests who were there on the night of March 21st. 

We then took two big vans full of us to an amazing dance hall on the beach a few kilometers away from Beachouse. There was a rip roarin' cover / dance band that was composed entirely of Fijian Police men and they rocked out for hours while we danced and talked to locals. The location for this event was simply stunning -- we didn't have the foresight nor feel the need to bring a camera, but just imagine a Disney fantasy palace on a faraway tropical beach and you'll get pretty close.

The following day, we took a guided jungle walk with a truly awesome staff member from Beachouse named either "Chuta" or "Juta" . We still debate that. He told us a wealth of information about the history of his country and it's current state of progress as he walked us along a bending river through the jungle up to a gorgeous cascading waterfall. It was a bit of a challenge because the trail was so muddy, but we absolutely prevailed and were rewarded with a swim in some of the most inviting and rejuvenating waters one could ever hope for -- and we also sat in a natural spa carved directly by nature into the gushing waters of the waterfall. Yea, it was good! Plenty more has come to pass, but we are on to a new chapter and currently type this from an extremely charming little garden villa in the Kingsland suburb of Auckland.

Today we helped refurbish an artists studio by sanding down the window panes and prepping the place for a new coat of paint in time for their winter. The woman who is hosting us is named "Anita" and she is truly delightful -- her husband also lives here, but he is currently a visiting artist/lecturer at Stanford University for the month. We will pick up our work in the morning tomorrow, then head out to the city center to explore the City of Sails and see what we can dig up! Until next time, it was great transmittin' to y'all!!