Saturday, October 17, 2009

18 October

Today is our first day off in Fiji. We are still waiting for the instruments we shipped to get out of customs. During the past couple days, we drove all around Suva to buy hardware and other supplies. We also began to prepare the wooden mounts we will use for the stations' solar panels. Due to the original delay with our trans-Pacific flight and the delay in obtaining the seismometers due to public holidays here in Fiji, it seems as if the start of our (already) tight schedule will be pushed back by three days. Hopefully, we will still be able to install the nine seismometers on the islands within the remaining week and a half.

Despite the unfortunate set-backs, I am very much enjoying my first few days here. One of the highlights so far is 'Diwali' – the Indian festival of lights – on Saturday October 17th. From an outsider's perspective, this holiday has taught me that all people – no matter where they live – love fireworks. As I watched the fireworks being set off all around the city of Suva from the balcony of my hotel, I was reminded of my most recent 4th of July – spent in Great Falls, Montana. The only difference is that here I watched the fireworks explode over palm trees instead of rocks and dirt.

I am also really enjoying the food here in Fiji. I have big plans to eat as much fresh fish as I can before I go home to middle part of the country. For last night's dinner, we ate at the floating restaurant in the harbor. This was a real treat with the tasty selection of fresh fish and the perfect evening breeze coming in off of the water. As an added bonus, we enjoyed our meals while rocking back and forth on the water (just like old times). I tried kokoda, which a type of salad with tomatoes and walu (fish). Even though 'fish' doesn't normally spring to mind when I think 'salad', I will have to make sure that I get to eat kokoda at least once more before I leave Fiji – it was very tasty. Today, we went for a stroll through the garden park and the waterfront near the old Parliament building in Suva. We weren't the only ones taking advantage of the fabulous weather. A number of families, soccer players, pigeons and stray dogs were all hanging out there with us. Hope you enjoy the pictures, more to come later...