the waltzer experience :w: 
2001: a Waltzer odyssey
week 102 : 08 Janauary 2001


"When you say a stroke do you mean a wee slash?"

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The Waltzer Experience is a weekly culture website about the office antics of interest to graphic designer and web guru, Alan Wall.


Waltzer returns

Well now that we have left Christmas behind us and all the decorations are down, we can return to some sort of normality. I have to say it's good to be back in The Big Smoke. Well the Waltzer Experience is back in full effect, and thanks to Claire for writing a Wrecks Me Buzz so funny and so long that I need not even use any filler to make the site look good this week!

This year I will be making a few changes - better archiving system, a simpler redesign with maybe (shock, horror!) a third colour being used. More pictures too hopefully, and less waffle from me.

Everyone Still In Trance

Little action in the house this week with everyone recovering from Christmas. Not one notable social event. I have even been wearing my headphones all week. I don't think I am able for communication yet. I'm sure next week will be as mad as ever...

Kevin Stevens' Father Died

I would like to offer my condolences to the family of Kevin and Mike whose dad died last week.

 That Wrecks Me Buzz

by Claire O'Connell

In 1998/1999, my then boyfriend (now husband) and I travelled around the world. Well, the bits in and around Australia and New Zealand anyway. When we bounce our grandchildren on our knees, we'll tell them of the halcyon times we had there, diving off reefs, swimming with crocodiles, eating Maori food cooked in a volcanic earth, and living in the vibe of happiness and love that is Bondi. However, we might just stop short of telling them about Fiji until they are old enough to handle the horror.

We originally booked Fiji as the jewel in the crown at the final stage of our trip. A sojourn in the South Pacific, with its gently swaying palm trees and blisteringly white sand would be just the tonic after almost a year of grunging it with the fleas, fungi and wallies of antipodean youth hostels. Or so we thought.

We touched down at Nadi airport, well warned of the rip off merchants who would sell their grannies to alighting tourists. Outrunning the zealous taxi touts, we boarded the local bus (a vehicle that even CIE might consider ditching) and headed for Lautoka. Our hotel room there was minimalist to say the least, and I don't mean that in a trendy sense. To escape the dinginess, we went walkabout in the town, until I got freaked out by the incessant staring and lewd gestures of the men, who gaped slackjawed at my bare white shoulders (I know, I'm such a jezebel). Taking refuge in the relative comfort of the hotel, we planned our trip to the islands. We booked a boat out to Nanuyalailai, where a new resort had opened, and to our delight we read that it was run by locals. The boat was 4 hours late - this is something that the inhabitants of the South Pacific affectionately call 'Fiji time'. My feelings hove nowhere near affection after several hours in the searing heat, inhaling the acrid fumes seeping from the harbour and nearby sugar rendering plant.

continued next column

 That Wrecks Me Buzz

All was forgiven when we got out to the island and saw crystal waters filled with kaleidoscopic fish, acres of white sand, and of course palm trees at every turn. Our residence was a tiny, secluded beach hut looking out on the sea, and we spent a glorious day wandering, snorkelling and chatting with the locals. The only snag so far was the lack of amenities: there was no electricity, and sanitation consisted of a bucket on the beach (in full view of passers by), and another bucket of rainwater that technically qualified as a shower.

Night fell quickly, it started to rain heavily, and we retired to our hut. Soon after we switched off the torch, we heard scrabbling. As we clung to each other beneath the mosquito net, the hut began to echo with the sounds of screeching rodents. They clattered around the rafters. They scratched at the bed. They swarmed over our rucksacks. Escape from the hut was futile, because the nocturnal crabs would be snapping along the beach outside. Eight hours later, we were still wide-eyed, praying for the sun to come up so we could get back to the grotty mainland. Once there, we booked ourselves on the next flight to London, and found a hotel in Nadi. But our troubles weren't over. The beds in the hotel showed far too much evidence of previous occupants, and the landlady took umbrage at our presence the following day as we waited in the hotel for the flight. In a fit of neurological imbalance, she flung our rucksacks out onto the road, and we followed them pretty sharpish, hopped into a taxi, and barely dared to draw breath until we were safely on the 'plane.

In retrospect, we can remember the nice things about Fiji. The gloriously friendly and happy native Fijians, the sunshine, the balmy, inviting waters. But if you ever plan to go there, take heed and book a European style resort. Otherwise, bring mousetraps and a Portaloo.

Now that wrecks me buzz.

  Waltzer Experience © Alan Wall 2000.