Wednesday, September 19, 2007

UPDATE: From Tarmac to Operating Room

Well, the plan was to come home from Fiji, sleep for a few hours, and then start my new job. But as Steinbeck wrote, "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." Instead, I came home from Fiji, slept for a few hours, and then went straight into the hospital to have an operation on my infected leg...

By the time I had stepped off the Fiji-LA-Atlanta-Washington, DC flights, my leg had swollen to the size of Kobayashi's stomach after the Coney Island hot dog eating contest. First thing Monday morning I went to a doctor, who told me that I need to have leg surgery immediately. An hour later, I was waking up from the deepest sleep I've ever had with a golf-ball-sized chunk of my leg missing. Seriously, does this stuff happen to anybody else? At least this all happened on my last day of vacation and not in the middle. I would have hated to miss Everest.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Reflections--Trip's Final Posting

I have been resisting posting a lengthy reflection piece on my six months of traveling. I could write about all that I have seen, about how small the world really is, and about how much I have grown. But I don't want to write about it and you certainly don't want to read about it. I only hope that you have had fun reading some of my stories (though I think I only have about three readers, two of which are my parents) and seeing some of my pictures. I have certainly had fun.

Though I start a desk job next week, I hope to post a funny story every once in a while on this site. So check back in from time to time.

If you don't read another word of this blog, I urge you at least to take a minute to look through my Top 50 photos. Click on the picture below. Don't ever stop learning. Don't ever stop growing. Don't ever stop exploring.

Top 50 photos

Friday, September 14, 2007

Painful "ending" to my trip

I haven't had so much as a headache during six months of traveling. So it should come as no surprise to you that I spent the last day of my vacation, sprawled face down on a Fijian doctor's table, getting a HUGE shot of penicillin in the arse.

An inflamed hair follicle on my leg became infected while I was snorkeling on Fiji's outer islands. For some strange reason, the local remedy of tree leaves didn't heal the wound. By last night, my swollen leg could have passed for one of Kristie Alley's, and I could barely walk. Returning to the mainland, I got the penicillin shot in the caboose, some antibiotics, and enough painkillers to sedate Mike Tyson. At least the painkillers have dulled the pain of leaving Fiji and ending my vacation. If you want to see more pictures of Fiji, click on the image below.


Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Numbers

14 countries (2 under martial law, and 2 Communist countries)
10 time zones
418 miles of trekking
35 flights
32 boats
22 buses
20 ziplines
Countless taxis
14 scuba tanks
6 missed weddings
2 motorcycles
2 rental cars
2 horses
2 bike rides (one of which was 400 miles...)
2 ice picks
1 gondola ride
1 train
1 elephant
1 parachute
1 snowboard
1 sliding rock
Thousands of smiles.

Initial impressions of Fiji

The people here have mesmerizing looks. I can't help but think that everybody here looks like a darker version of He-Man's sidekick, Ram Man (picture at left). Fijians are the most impossibly broad people I've ever seen, with the women even having NFL-sized shoulders.

Fiji seems like the perfect place to get away from it all. Unfortunately, for the last six weeks I have been in Australia and New Zealand, about as far away as one gets from "it all." If I was any more mellow, I wouldn't have a pulse.

I can confirm that they sell FIJI "natural artesian water" here, the stuff that Americans buy for $5 a bottle at Starbucks. The half dozen Fijians that I've spoken with all think its hilarious that Americans are 1) obsessed with the water and 2) pay almost 10 times the local price for it.

And before you ask, no, I haven't run into Vijay Singh yet.


Tomorrow I leave Kiwi-land for Fiji, my final destination before returning home. I'll be on the Pacific island-nation for a few days. By all accounts, there is not much to do there besides swimming in turquoise waters, roasting in the sun, and staging coups. I certainly don't forsee ice climbing in my island activities. I know you don't care what Fiji looks like, but I thought I would post a map just for the sake of blog consistency.

Friday, September 7, 2007

I've done it!

After 6 months of grappling with Moby Dick, I've finished the book. I've slain the white whale. It was worth carting all the way around the world, as it is a beautifully written book. Thanks Herman.