Saturday, February 9, 2008

I Live In Fiji

Morning:

If you really want to get an insight to the working economy of any country – take the early bus. That means public transportation. Forget taxis. Taxi can only teach you where the hookers and drugs are. Make sure you catch the earliest bus possible. Then you can see the proletariat at its best, instead of at the end of the day when they’re filthy and grumpy and tired. The early bus will put your finger right on the pulse of the workforce. What’s the age range? What type of work do they do? Is it only men or equally mixed? How many hours do they work? Is the bus packed? What’s the attitude? It’s a great way to get a ground view of the place you find yourself in. My new favorite past time here in Fiji is riding a bus around, sitting in the back, & staring at the afros. Oh – and read the local paper. That’s usually not an option in foreign nations but English is the national language in Fiji.

Midday:

Global sailing is beginning to reveal to me its schedule of motion vs. repair. It seems I sail about 8 months and then repair Barraveigh for 4. I guess that’s an acceptable ratio. Even the repair months are peppered with adventure and cultural learning’s. It’s forced me to learn Spanish in Panama and some Hindi and Fijian here. These months, when I’m not entertaining visiting US dignitaries (Mom, Brother, Todd G, Nash and their girlfriends) I spend the days repairing and making alterations to my boat. Somewhere after the first year, I learned to stop throwing things away. I’ve activated this “handy gene” within myself that I never even knew I had. For the most part, I can now keep this boat running with my own skills and the things I used to pitch.

Evening:

240 volts snake their way past my A/C unit, tumble down the companionway stairs, and take a U-turn through my very expensive (borrowed) 3000 watt transformer. The high pitched, almost inaudible whine is music to American ears. When most of the rest of the world is 240 volts (Hurts like hell when you get zapped. I expected to see my fingers on the wall), we in the US of A run 110. The newly converted 110 volts then climb back up my stairs, takes a run thru the cockpit to the shore power plug-in and gives me endless electricity delivered in a form that is so irresistibly simple, docile to use, and dastardly veiled that I make the link nearly daily. They only charge for it, if they catch you using it (however, they only check at exactly 2 am. I was tipped off by the security guard in exchange for a $6 backpack. It’s a weird country). I have so much power that I run my radar while slipped in the marina just cuz I like the green glow that the screen throws off into the cabin at night. That emerald hue, coupled with the red from the chart plotter (ha! It pulls a paltry 3 amps) turns my living quarters into a nightclub affair. Disco Barraveigh! I dare you to resist my play list.

The drinking has already begun and I have a karaoke machine.

Pathetic in Fiji,

Bobby

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