July 30th, 2009

storyteller doll

Vacation Summarized

I am awake enough to post this brief summary. Travelogue to follow, sooner or later. (Two others are in the queue ahead of it, alas.)

I flew to San Diego to go to a baseball game at Petco Park. I'd been to a game at the old ballpark and this was a big improvement. While there, I had the best gelato I've had in the U.S. - chocolate with grand marnier at Chocolat Cremerie.

I took Amtrak up to L.A., where I found that there is, indeed, a left luggage facility at Union Station, allowing me to get rid of my bag and walk around downtown some. That also let me have dinner on Olvera Street, before retrieving my bag and taking the Flyaway Bus to LAX, where I met up with the group from Ring of Fire for the flight to Nadi, Fiji and onward to Tarawa (the main island of Kiribati).

There was some confusion with the hotel having given some of our rooms to a larger group (also there for eclipse viewing) but it worked out in the end, with only our tour leaders needing to share. The bigger problem was that the ferry to Butaritari wasn't running. (We later found out that all ferries in Kiribati were cancelled due to a maritime accident the week before, in which an overloaded ferry had capsized and somewhere between 18 and 50 people were killed, depending on which source you believe.) We ended up making arrangements to go by a chartered boat to Ouba, a privately owned islet in the Abaiang Atoll with a "resort" (really more of a fishing lodge). That proved to be an excellent alternative. While it meant just 140 seconds of totality (about half of what we'd have had on Butaritari), it was a lovely place. The beach makes my most beautiful in the world list and the lunch they served us at the resort (yellowfin, caught the night before and served several different ways) was among the five best of my life. By the way, sightseeing on Tarawa itself consisted of the Parliament building and assorted World War II relics (e.g. Japanese bunkers).

We flew back to Fiji where we spent a day and a half in the luxury of the Sheraton Denauru. I went into central Nadi with another person and saw it was pretty much unchanged in the past 18 months. I also got a little beach time in, but it was a bit chilly to swim much.

A few of us flew to Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands. The major tourist attractions there are the various World War II sites on Guadalcanal. We also went to a village and to the museum.

It was worth the jet lag.
storyteller doll

Letter Meme

Leave me a comment and I will give you a letter.

Then, write 10 things that you love starting with that letter. Post the list in your journal. Give out letters to those who comment in return.

buckeyebrain gave me the letter "K." I interpreted the word "things" a bit loosely.

1. kittens (despite their unfortunate tendency to grow up into cats)

2.knitting

3. kakuro (my favorite number puzzle. I'm lukewarm towards kenken.)

4. keyboard instruments

5. kasha (especially cooked with onions and mushrooms)

6. kibbitzing

7. kibbutzim

8. kangaroos (but not koalas, which may be cute but are nasty tempered creatures who spend all of their time bombed out of their skulls on fermented eucalyptus juice)

9. kim chee

10. Kevin Youkilis