Saturday, June 23, 2007
Wow folks - wow. We unfortunately haven't been documenting our travels due to relocating to a small island off the coast of Fiji for fun in the sun and keep isolate from civilization including no phones, internet, cars, houses, etc. Our all inclusive resort costed $55 Fijian dollars ($35 USD) and including a personal hut on the beach and three delicious square meals a day....but before we get to that, lets address the world's greatest and world's worst airline - Air Pacific. Peter if you are out there this blog is for you buddy in retribution for the 30 hours delay that included assembling a new jet engine and attaching it to our plane for the maiden voyage.......let's tarrentino this and take everyone back to our last day in Hawaii.
Day 9 found Justin and I alone in a romantic corporate condo on the shore's of Waikiki with travel insurance covering our meals due to Air Pacific's technical difficulties. Coco Mancini had already shipped back to the mainland as many underprivileged citizens had gone un-screwed by his missed time at the private equity shop and business needed to continue as usual.
Our first and last Hawaiian Shrimp Shack.
Let the upgrades begin...given that travel insurance tentatively was covering our meal expenses we decided to eat level of dining as our prior meals and stopped into Red Lobster for the most expensive dishes to be had. J-Hump (Buttercup) had the surf and turf while I had an entire fish - at noon.
Later, we took the Keith (of Jason's Deli) Express busline to the airport which included stopping no more than ever 20 feet. Three hours later we arrived to more delays and Peter our friendly Air Pacific representative. While the team was slightly weary and in need of shelter our coach went on a upgrade venture resulting more food vouchers and a 5 star resort stay in Fiji (meals included for about $100 USD a shot), and upgrade to the top level of the 747 flight to Auckland, New Zealand (our current location), and all you can drink specials on both flights in and out of Fiji. Keep your players happy and the rest comes naturally.
Our 4am arrival in Nadi, Fiji led to a 3 hour delay in search for an Air Pacific rep (holder of said hotel voucher) and our first introduction to "Fiji" time (don't worry we got another free breakfast out of it). This leads us to our first rule of backpacking - You are entitled to request a shocking ly cheap standard of living and asking for anything (and I mean anything) for free. With a player like Humphreys you can only imagine the discounts, people are just giving $h!t away. Anyways.....
Out travel agent at Nadi airport hooked us up with an all inclusive trip to Mana Island of the coast of Fiji (West Side). Accommodation included our own "Villa", boat transfer, three meals, and SCUBA certification for around $920 Fijian dollars....bula bula (*hello in Fijian). There, nestled away within eye shot of "Castaway" island, we kicked out feet up with the locals and boatloads (literally) of fellow backpackers and sipped our nights away (from 7pm to midnight) on $5 Fijian bitter 32 ounce drinks... let us take a moment to bring our audience down to reality to understand what this was really like. Beyond the frills, bells and whistles, and paradise you may be imagining from this vivid description - there is the backpackers reality.....this includes swatting flys of your meals, no a/c, no telephone, internet etc. electricity that only comes on after dark, and no access to anything outside the rice and noodle meals provided.
The locals while un-traveled were aware of the tourist benefits and incredible friendly. We spent most of our days relaxing on our front porch and enjoying the ocean views with our new friends. Okay, now I am turning this over to Justin....I guess this needs to be funny if you are going to keep reading....
What Smitty really means is that while we soaking up the upgrades from the Worlds best and worst airline we experienced a diff side of Fiji. While no sleep from a 6hr, free drink flight one would think to sleep but coach said to lace up and hit the court. The best part of this section of the trip is that we had no idea of what time it ever was. We woke up when the rooster crowed, ate lunch when they Josefa put the plates down, drank beer when our scuba instructor told us to and went to bed when the bonfire burned out.
While on the island we never wore shoes, rarely a shirt and mostly just board shorts all day. The cast of our new Fijian family is Suka- receptions, LeRoy- Scuba and entertainment, Junior- spear fisher and all round good guy, Joesfa- food prep and always ready to take your plate, Vuni- the oldest who would try and pass wisdom "follow me Justin...", Dee- toddler who ran around in the sand and cried earlier mornings, the bloody english kids- 4 guys from Leeds who can make a party, some other English ladies, a guitar playing Somaian, and someone German. You combine this crew on a small island acting like we were shipped wreck and you have a great story.
Spear Fishing. Smith really got into the spear fishing idea and tried is hand many a time. We went out every day and managed to catch a 5in pin fish. Hit him right through the heart. Fortunatley Junior took the spear and caught 13 fish that day and we had dinner. The spear looks real cool and sounds masculine but we need some training.
Diving Certification- Our main goal was to get certified and by golly we did. Most courses take approx 4 days and class work with confined dives. In Fiji however, they throw you right in the water with the tanks. We studied for about 1-2hrs took our quizzes and exam after our 4th dive and ran through a series of interesting events. Don't you guys worry though we are good divers. The course would rank somewhere between Tom Emanski's instructional baseball skills video and vegi-tales. On our first skill session, Smith was laying on the sea floor performing a task while a poisonous rock fish was right underneath him. Leroy didn't catch that one. On our first boat dive we got ONE explanation on setting gear and jumping into the water, we turned around and he was already diving. With an peculiar look on our faces we gave the OK and the old college try and dove right in. Of course we are amazing athletes and the coolest guys in the world so it wasn't a big deal at all. The fish were actually asking us for lessons. I gave a parrot fish a lesson on public speaking and Smith talked a reef shark about managing his IRA. The night before our final dive to the "Supermarket" shark central we decided it would be grand to party all night, and we thought this was a good idea b/c LeRoy was right next to us. Great teacher. The boat capt took us and two of the English guys out to the open and we ripped it. Charlie was a bit hung over and feed the fish by puking in the ocean a few times. James was just chipper to be alive and Josh and I were diving unsupervised in illegal depths(22meters) doing back flips next to bull sharks, playing with manta rays and chasing our hungover guide to the depths. Shockingly Josh was never worried even though his depth gauge never worked. Thats safe. The dive was freaking awesome with tons of huge sharks (6-12ft) swimming around. We got back at 11:55 and the boat to leave the island and catch our flight left at 12.
Fire Dancing- While on the island do as the others do. When in Rome...Agree to disagree. We made a massive bon fire and played some obnoxious balloon games with our new crew the last night. The English guys, a few maple leaves, some natives and a some random stranglers watched to milkly way while singing songs all night long. Sounds beautiful doesn't it. Then the record started turning and the LeRoy started fire dancing and performing the native dance. After his run we asked if we could give it a shot. He said not while you guys are drinking, so we put our glasses down and grabbed the flaming stick. Once again we are amazing dancers and have surprisingly hidden talents. We didn't get burned but damn that stick is hot. Pics will be coming.
Justin really tan..
(Author - Josh)
Last night we used our hotel voucher (from our previous delay) and stayed 5 star in private rooms with A/C and huge free meals - life is rough backpacking it, but someone has to do it.
Our flight into Auckland, New Zealand include free drinks - I think we had a bottle of wine between us and we struck up another great deal at the airport. We rented an RV. Apparently you can park and camp anywhere you want and the lady had an RV that needed to get down to Wellington for $5 NZD a day ( that is $4USD). So Justin and I will be rolling out Chevy Chase National Lampoon tomorrow. Mock - Yeah. Pick'em up. Tonight we are rolling out on the streets of downtown Auckland. We will be in touch. Don't call us, we will call you.
FYI.....Josh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and Justin at email@example.com at any time.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
I do believe that the Man Child did fair a little better than the Coach. I have heard of desparte before but I have never heard of anyone covering themeselves in bread crumbs in order to feel that "flutter" in their stomach.
Hump, the 5'7" pillar, proved that he would he was able to rally late night with the chef in 517 and would still be well equipped to reach peak 3 again tomorrow.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Our morning incorporated omelets prepared by the team for coaching staff in a make shift appreciation day. This was a key turning point where I realized that while genetically programmed to be a provider, I could no longer hunt lions (we are on an island) to feed the team and turned to spear fishing. That is right folks I am not in possession of a collapsible spear and will be hunting fish on a regular basis.
Day 6 included my first aquatic adventure in attempt to prove my worth to my tribe. Much like many of you out there, my full expectation of bringing a barrel of fish home in a sign of nomadic and prehistoric appreciation of the team and said omelets. Shockingly - I didn't see one freakin fish. We are on an island in the North Pacific and there wasn't a single fish. Needless to say, we are starving at this point. Note to self, Kailua beach is no longer on the World's Best Fishing Spots. To be far, we told John if we had to K2 anyone it would be him first, he is the meatiest.
But the team pulled together and did beat the "We are at work and jeolously reading your blog" Tribe from the main island and basked in our reward. Our evening was sponsored by Mike "Coco" Mancini at a Japanese Steak House. You may be wondering why he is called Coco. You ask some great questions. Mancini emphatically insisted that we call him "Man Child". For you Seinfeld subscribers we all know you can't make your own damn nickname T-Bone. Anyways, dinner was delightful and kept us on our toes by placing a scolding hot grill in the middle of the table from which we were required to cook our own food.More than anything Tuesday was a really important day because John Leu was voted off the island and we extinguished his torch immediately. He had no idea it was coming even after each one of us asking him to spell "Leu" throughout the day. I am pretty sure he still hasn't figured it out and is at home waiting for a postcard. Keep checking that mailbox buddy.
Subsequently, we talked smack about him and vowed that any previous alliances were merely shadows and dust. Totally unrelated to seeing him again at the final tribal council I just want to say John Leu is the man and definitely made his presence felt. He will be missed.
We discovered that if you don't try and help the bartenders close the bar or get rid of all their alcohol you get up much earlier and more energized. Coach and Mancini sweet talked the rental car lady and got a VIP upgrade to the four door, soft top Wrangler. The worlds greatest car. It was worth it, Mancini only had to make out for 2min with the lady and Smith did a hula dance. Teamwork. After some site seeing we got amphibious, visiting the worlds greatest beaches (sunset beach, Lanikai, kailua, North Shore, Waikiki) and doing the worlds greatest snorkeling. We do great things.
John Lue is the greatest snorkler and found a sea turtle in the ocean. Good work John. Bobo made sure her towel didnt blow away and laid down the whole day. Mancini got sun burned b/c thats what Irish Italian guys from Boston do. We got a message from out liver and it was not happy that we brought him all the way to Hawaii and didnt take him out last night. So the worlds greatest shot glass was abused again that night. The double bubble was blessed by Smith. The Yard house bar and grill has the worlds largest selection of beers, the bar tender doesn't have any validation but he said it with confidence. The night conclude with the worlds WORST karaoke performed by everyone. Livin on a prayer, Green Day, Journey and other. What a play list.
High Points - greatest, beaches, cabs, American Idol. Run with those. And try the world's greatest pickup lines or just pretend to be part of the waiting staff.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
We started off the morning with the ritual of chugging three glasses of water and two Advil, and of course coach threw his eggs out the front door. After pulling it together we decided to adventure on the day and J-Lue lead us some of the most epic hikes for the day. We put on our gear and went 3miles to the first peak over intermediate terrain to find ourselves on top of the world with a view of the entire island. With the MVP race heating up Smith, John and myself went for gold and battled the second and third peaks which the guide books labeled as advanced and expert level and for the acrobatic climber. After realizing we were all of these and were minimally equipped (no food low, ropes) we decided we perfect for the climb. Mom, Dad and loved ones you would have been slightly nervous as we were dangling of the side of mountains with loosely secured aged twine. We got back after about 5-6hrs of hiking and climbing.
We reloaded the team bus and departed for a 3-4mi hike to a waterfall and 40ft cliffs jumps. Completely exhausted we decided it was best to climb the muddy rocks and dive into a swimming hole that a few 16yr old Beavis and Buthead look alike said was safe. They were trust worthy. The day ended around 8pm with a little hot tub and cheap chinese food and all of us crashed on the floor. The final results came for the current MVP voting came in late and looks like I have won by close margin. It had to be the gun show on top of the mountain. Chicks dig that kinda stuff. VICTORY!!!!!
Saturday, June 9, 2007
Day 3 and 4 were slightly indicative. The team found ourselves at Waikiki beach for most of the day throwing done Sinjin Smith and Karch Karri - esque spikes with Honolulu's finest.
Shortly following we hit up the BBQ and onto the main event - Fat guys huggin.
We arrived fashionable late to watch the world finest morbidly obese sumo wrestlers talk it over in the ring.
Oh did I mention more drinks? We took the opportunity to reunite John Leu with his kin last night as much as possible, but unfortunately the racial draft had closed and even while playing to his audience John lived it La Vita Boston.
Friday, June 8, 2007
Pinch Hitter....Mike "Man Child" Mancini has joined us for the following 10 days and our new closer John Leu is in route. In combination with our Amanda "Cleat Chaser BoBo" Boaz pitching in for relief efforts as required....This season should leave everyone will something to remember.
- Uh...Josh hasn't packed yet and the cab is five minutes out.
- Hump won't relinquish a record breaking game of Minesweeper
- Josh sends out departure email at 1:15PM Nevada time.
- Cabbie departs 1:16PM and immediate evaluates his drives capabilities in relation to his Ethiopian cohorts. The ride includes racial slurs and the cabbie sending about 15 text messages, free of charge.
- 3:30PM Josh and Justin chip in some gas money and give ATA a push start. We are nicely crunched between a oversized gorilla, behind 4 untamed children.
- 7pm - We did it....we water landed into Honolulu airport. For all those people out there, yeah you, that said we couldn't do it....ha..we did it.
- 9pm dinner with Kevin Bobo and Bobo Boaz is sighted for the first time.
- 11Pm Smith and Hump walk the Waikiki mile. Unbelievably, Thursday night in Waikiki in summer is an 18 year old paradise.
- Justin stays out all night, Josh heads home.
If you can't find him, you will want to ask for Joe Bravo, friend of Chaska, he runs the Vegas Strip. If he doesn't get you in for free to Pure, he might just hit you in the face.
Last but not least after you finish off your huge Tuesday night on the town and there is nothing left of your 6AM omelet at O'Sheas "Classiest casino on the Strip" morning spectacular, you want to quickly ring up Johnny "Focker" - Best cab drive this side of Reno.
Hope you liked the talking points...details to come. The 8 oclock is completely different from the 6 oclock.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Every team has a great coach. So we should be on target to compete with the 2000 Prairie View Cougars ( 2- 15). But they had a great time. Every Morning I start off with two raw eggs, just throw them out the front door, the 6am sports center, its usually when I am getting home and a little Boston, More Than A feeling. Getting ready for this season as been tough from Boston to NY to eventually Chicago, and from Deloitte to a backpack to Kellogg Business school in the fall. I will cherish the good times we had and look froward the memories we will create. Like the wise man Dale once said, " What ever you do, Be the best at it."
LADIES and gentlemen...How is this possible???
Starting off at guard running the point its J-HUMP. 5'7'' 150lbs from Jacksonville, Fl. My first time in the octagon was summer of 2002 when Smith and I completed the Journey of Hope cross country cycling event. Since then summers are for the backpacking adventure series that we call life. In the very near future I will have to grow up and attend graduate school, get a better job, married, etc, etc but for now lets ride the wave and make it happen. Much love and thanks to everyone in my life that has made this Journey possible. Make it happen.