finland is wonderful

Brief update: The last week in Finland has been utterly lovely. Aula was one of the most stimulating events i’ve been to in a long long time – brilliant conversations in session and over drinks long into the “night” (how on earth can you call it night when it’s still light out???). I got to meet some folks that i’ve been long curious about and hang out with old friends. This was my first time in Helsinki and it was warm and breezy and utterly lovely; the food was great, the people were fascinating and full of far too much style. I got to spend the weekend on a small island in the Archipelagos with a gloriously rustic cabin – no electricity but utterly glorious outdoors-ness. There was a proper Finnish sauna with dips into the Baltic.

Now, in some reverse-alphabetical logic, i’m off from Finland to Fiji for a few days of vacation before New Zealand. My current logic is that i’m going to rent a car and camp around Fiji since i can’t seem to find cheap bures available in the Coral Coast. Has anyone driven Fiji? Is this a good or disasterous plan? I’m trying to find a solution that involves the ability to lock up my crap and wander around the island – dorms make this impossible so a car seems like a good idea where i can drop into a dorm every few days. Gosh, i *hate* traveling with a laptop but, sadly, i have no choice on this round. More brief updates from down under and then more serious thinking soon! Hope everyone is having a glorious summer!

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10 thoughts on “finland is wonderful

  1. Davee

    huuva houmenta (good morning!). thanks for posting an update from the road, sounds like a wonderful trip and have fun in fiji!

  2. Scotty

    I had the pleasure of spending a month in Fiji several years ago, and it’s hands down one of my favorite places in the world (second perhaps only to Laos).

    That having been said, you’ll be _seriously_ missing out if you only stay on the big island (Viti Levu). In order to see the real fiji, you really need to get off onto the smaller islands. While this means no inet access (or did in 2001, anyway), it also means no big cities, pristine beaches, and perhaps the best – really friendly, laidback fijians.

    If you have limited time, I’d recommend heading to a low key resort either in the Yasawa islands, or on Kadavu. Both have really cool small places run by families that cater both to backpackers and vacationers that are looking for a relaxed atmosphere. Both are a short plane ride away by seaplane.

    The best thing I can recommend, above all else, is to get out of Nadi (where you’ll fly into), as soon as possible. Don’t stay there overnight if there’s anyway you can manage it. It’s quite dangerous, and generally unappealling and unfriendly.

    As far as theft goes, IMO, you run a far of getting stuff stolen in the big cities on Viti Levu than you do in a more out of the way place. I know people that travelled in both the Yasawas and Kadavu with laptops without a problem.

    Anyway, you’ll enjoy it regardless of where you end up – Fiji is a magical place.

    Safe travels!

  3. Kent Atkinson

    Danah, I’m a journalist in Wellington, NZ at the NZ Press Association. When you can spare the time, I’d be interested in talking to you about the extent to which MySpace is losing the battle for global domination of the youth “hanging out” market, particularly to Bebo, and what indications you see of that happening in New Zealand.
    Also I’m interested in how you see the big companies such as MySpace making money out of their “guests” and the extent to which you think that they and other youth-oriented Internet businesses are encouraging the marketing of “pre-paid” or “stored-value” smart cards which allow teens to spend online without having to access parental credit cards.
    Separately, Jeffrey Cole, director of the Centre for the Digital Future at the University of Southern California, recently warned a digital marketing conference in Australia last week that young people might be more resistant to big media corporations than their parents. He compared companies such as MySpace to nightclubs: “When the uncool kids find out about them, or your parents know about the nightclub, you’re out of there and you’re at the new place,” he said. “For members of these communities, it cost nothing to go from MySpace to your space to their space.” In that context I would be interested in the extent to which you believe even big companies could destroy the value of their social network sites simply through product placement perceived as too brash or uncool … or just crass.

  4. dc

    I agree with Scotty – take a short boat or plane and hang out at a small island resort (or island-hop among several if you have time) – you’ll see more traditional culture and better beaches. I flew to Australia and had a free layover in Fiji and stayed in a low-key resort in the Yasawa Islands for a few days. You will probably be approached by people trying to get you to visit their resorts. I normally hate getting cornered as soon as I arrive in a country, but I went with one of the friendlier-looking touts and it happened to work out for me. I had a fantastic beach holiday – perfect sand and calm waters for snorkeling. I stayed over Christmas, and the staff packed all the guests into boats and took us over to their home village for a holiday feast (followed by snorkeling, which might not have been a great idea). I also made a daytrip from the mainland to one of the absurdly small resort islands. I walked around the circumference of the sandy “island” in about 15 minutes. It was filled with an international crowd of young partiers. It was pricy and commercial, not to mention surreal and claustrophobic. As a daytrip, it was kind of fun though.

    You’ll have fun.

  5. Jessie

    DC is right. Snorkelling after eating is a bad idea. I nearly drowned off Beachcomber doing just that.

    I drove around Viti Levu many years ago and it was pretty interesting – particularly in the north east of the island where there’s not a lot of commercialisation and you drive through a lot of villages and jungle. Takes about two days, some of it was dirt road I think but probably not anymore!

  6. sue

    i would seriously reccomend ditching the big island for one of the smaler ones. Try to pick somewhere like beachcomber which is packpacker friendly but also owned and operated by the local tribe.

  7. Sam

    Hi Dayna

    I’ll be attending your Auckland session and am really keen to meet/talk with you if you’re able to spare the time.

    Your visit is more than a little serendipitous, as literally the day before RB posted about the visit I had been reading and learning about Vizster wondering how to get in touch with you.

    Anyway, bula bula and enjoy Fiji. Just watch out for the Kava.

    Kind regards

    Sam T.

  8. Sam

    crap, sorry DANAH… I work with a Dayna and am a little tired. Hope you’re not offended.


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