Well, the last days have been interesting. The "turtle conservation program" was shut down after the police came (there is a law in Fiji to protect turtles as they are threatened by extinction). A girl made a... ehh... Let's say critical Facebook post. I think "inhuman" and "animal torture" were some of the words she used. However, Green Lion (the organization here in Fiji which is responsible for the coordination, accommodation and the actual projects) informed us (after a lot of semi-true excuses and explanations) that we could choose if we want to try a different project or get our money back. It wasn't really a hard decision. I'm just glad that I got my money back without any problem because I know about 7 people who had to go to court to get some of their money back because the agencies made a lot of great promises without keeping them. What they offer is not really volunteer work, here they call it voluntourism. A lot of money which doesn't actually help anybody but just finances the international agencies. I got quite disillusioned about volunteering here. I left the volunteer house as soon as possible and went to a resort. The turtles were set free, but they are probably dead because they have been in the tank for too long and weren't able to survive anymore. I'm so sorry for them.
But well, you don't make experiences without trying things, and sometimes something goes wrong. Maybe it's all for the best. Now I have 7 weeks left in Fiji. I think three weeks of traveling will be fine, but after that... The resort life is nice and you meet a lot of interesting people, but it has nothing to do with real Fiji. People here don't live in nice resorts and have a beach right in front of their doorstep. What you can learn from the Fijians you don't learn in the resorts. And I actually came to do something here. So maybe I'll find a project which actually helps somebody and is not just a way of making money. I'm sure I will find something to do.
Yesterday was amazing. We did a horse trip to some waterfall (well, that's what they called it ?) actually it was maybe half an hour's ride and then an hour's walk through the jungle. Barefoot. Through the muddiest mud you can imagine. I loved it. He whaterfall was beautiful and I had so much fun. I think I've never been that muddy and dirty ?. I think I broke a toe, but it will be fine.. I guess... However, it was worth it!
I had my first kava (or however it's spelled...). It's the typical Fijian drink, made from some root. It actually tastes like mud water, but I like the ritual ?.
So, my tourist days are over now, my project has started...
The days before I went to Suva for my Fiji introduction week were quite great. The Fijian people are incredible. One afternoon I went to Nadi by bus (it is located maybe 10 km from the hotel I stayed in). If you want to experience a culture, just go by bus. Window screens are completely overrated, aren't they? The bus actually sounded like a volcano just before eruption and I had at least five oh-my-God-I'm-going-to-die-moments, but the unlimited view of the Fiji landscapes and the really REALLY loud music just made me happy.
There was a woman in the same bus who started talking to me and then eventually decided to show me around in Nadi, she even accompanied me back to my bus and waited With me for 30 minutes because she was worried about me not finding my way back. She even invited my to her village.
The market was a nice place (especially for vegetarians ?????). I ate the BEST pineapple ever.
Next day I went to a so called "eco friendly adventure park" where I did some zip lining and visited a whater fall in the jungle with a Girl from the UK. We had a great time (especially doing the zip lining upside down ?) and the jungle (well, the touristy 500 meters we actually saw...) is beautiful.
I'm getting really used to wearing a sulu (a sarong)... They are quite comfortable ?
Well, after these days I was really optimistic about starting my project, but I got very disillusioned as soon as I arrived in Suva (fiji's capital town). The accommodation for the volunteers is okay. Let's call it decent, although there still is a big difference between dirty and decent I think. But I can cope with that, this is not the actual problem. I talked to some people who already did the so called turtle conservation program (and stopped it, for good reasons). It actually consists of two perfectly healthy turtles kept under awful conditions in some kind of bathtub like pool. So, they kind of torture turtles just to be able to call it a "project". And I actually support this with my money. I will take a look at it all as soon as I get there as the project takes place in another island. The location has to be beautiful and I'm sure I can still have a great time with the people there (25 people for 2 turtles... Makes sense, doesn't it?), but this is simply wrong.
We will see what I can do about it. But I will certainly not be the first one to complain.
I finally arrived! Meeting people lasted exactly 16 hours (flight included). It is so easy to start a good conversation here. Fiji is amazing, I haven't seen anything yet but I am already in love. My taxi driver even gave me his phone number in case I want to do a home stay... People are laughing and joking all day although I imagine life is quite tough for the locals here.
When I first arrived at the hostel, I was completely done ( I think I have never been that tired ??) but this view helped my to overcome that quite quickly:
I had to wait for my room some hours, but here is a good place to wait and my only struggle was not to fall asleep to early... The room is okay, although everybody else pays half the price I do. Next time I will book with hostelworld.com....
I enjoyed my first sunset here and went to bed at seven... I have never slept that well, although I share a room with three guys. Luckily nobody snored ?
On my first day I did a daytrip to a small island called Tavua with a British guy I had met the day before. It was just a tiny island in the middle of the sea, but it looked like paradise. We did some snorkeling and the food was veeery good, but the stay was way to short. Fijians smile and sing and laugh a lot, what is even more wonderful than the beautiful landscapes.
All of this made me overcome my jetlag quite fast. I think I got a beautiful first glimpse at fidji ? I am just happy to be here!
Finally arrived in Korea and haven't slept for 26 hours... Only 14 hours left until I arrive in Nadi ?
Finally sitting on my seat in the airplane, surrounded by five Koreans who talked to me in Korean very fast (no idea what they wanted, after a minute they gave up ?), I really understood how Bilbo Beutlin felt running after the dwarfs with his huge backpack shouting "I am going on an adventure!!"
With some Fijian dollars and some Korean won in my wallet I am starting to feel quite international ?
Hey! In this blog i am going to report on my first big trip (two and a half months in fidji), where I am going to travel and do some vounteer work in a so-called turtle-conservation-programme with praktikawelten.de.
If you want, take a look at this blog sometimes, because I am not sure if communication per Whatsapp or facebook will work so well... I will be happy about every comment by you!
I have (almost) packed everything, although I am SURE that there ist something important missing... as always... So, tomorrow is the big day and I start getting really excited. I think I won't sleep well tonight, but there will be plenty of time in the plane tomorrow..