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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On Cook Islands Time

"Would you like to dance?" A young sweaty (sexy) man, clothed in little more than a grass skirt, asks while gazing at me from dark brown eyes. Not one to be shy, I eagerly jump up from my seat and follow him to the stage, where a growing throng of people are gyrating to the beat of island drums. My sweaty dance tutor places his hands on my hips and pushes them in this up-down-side-to-side manner that felt unnatural and silly. After showing me the female dance moves, he switches to his dance where he where he knocks his knees together, pumps his fist up and down, and whirling around the dance floor. Quickly I'm swallowed in grass skirts and coconut shelled bikini tops twirling around me, the beat pulsing in my head, and my hips trying to keep up. My dance partner smiles and giggles at me. My hip-wriggling attempt is only a trifle of movement compared to Cook Islander women, many of which start to dance before they walk.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

See you later Oz, I’ll be back!

Alas my fairytale New Zealand and Australia trip was finally forced to an end, as the 12-week Georgia Tech Pacific study abroad program wrapped up its final days in Brisbane, Australia. Sadly, I had to say goodbye to Australia, but not yet to the South Pacific! After departing Brisbane, I took off for Rarotonga in the Cook Islands for an entire week!!

“Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." Dr. Seuss

*Pix: A wrap up of Australia (primarily Sydney)
*Love all these emails so much, and want to reread them? Chasing Jessie
*All Pix: Picture compilation

Friday, March 5, 2010

Saving the Best (Weekend) for Last

Leaving audacious, foolish, dazzling Sydney for gentle Brisbane (‘brizz-ben’) after 3 weeks was my closest version of inter-country culture shock. Instead of basking in that awkwardness, I quickly caught a flight up to Cairns (‘cans,’ no ‘r’) for a launching point to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Landed Thursday afternoon, and stupidly booked Thursday night at Gilligan’s, seemingly the biggest backpacker’s hostel in the world. Well, maybe not the biggest, but potentially the loudest sleeping over 500 bodies per night, and dishing up raucous fun on a nightly basis in the throbbing bar, which conveniently amplifies music to nearly every room in the house. Thursday night was “Ladies Champagne” night, but even after 3 glasses served by half-dressed buff men, the noise in my top bunk could not be blocked out even after earplugs supplementation. Oh the life of cheap accommodations! Honestly though, who cares?! I was leaving bright and early Friday morning on a catamaran for the GBR!!!

Two days and one night of miraculousness followed on a live-aboard 120’ catamaran with 8 dives / day on the GBR. Words cannot accurately describe the colors and sights that I saw…