Friday, 29 November 2013

Blogging for The Lowry

Apologies for interrupting the travel blog, unfortunately there's not many posts left to do anyway :(

I have been back in the UK for well over a month now, and still struggling to adapt! Only new things seems to excite me now, and there aren't many new experiences for me in my home city of Manchester. 

I think that's probably one of the reasons I enjoy watching live dance and theatre, especially premieres - most of the time they bring something new to the table.  I was selected by The Lowry Theatre to review the first night of Chelsea Hotel by Earthfall.  This was exciting, my first press freebies (That was something new for me, hurrah)

To be honest I wasn't overly impressed with this pioneering dance theatre company's production Chelsea Hotel. Having heard of them for years, throughout my dance training at university, I guess I'd built up my first time watching a live performance.  The problem is, I've matured watching modern contemporary choreographers such as Jasmin Vardimon and Hofesh Shechter, whose innovative choreography and emotive hold on an audience is profoud; and they were probably inspired by the likes of Earthfall and other physical theatre companies.  And Earthfall are sticking to their classic style, making me feel like I've been transported back in time watching their performances.

Take a look at my review on the Lowry's blog.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Travel Blog: Fiji

8/10/13 - Fiji, Viti Levu

After returning to the mainland, we embarked on the second half of our Fiji trip - the 4 day Feejee Experience.  They do lots of different packages, mainly aimed at backpackers for different amounts of time.  As we were short on time, we just chose a 4 day pass that drove right around the main island.

The main highlights of this trip were: 


Jungle trekking

And, of course, the village visit to a school:

I had anticipated doing some form of volunteering on this gap year, with children or animals, but unfortunately it never happened.  That is why I was so excited to visit a small school in Fiji! Unfortunately we couldn't stay for long, so we didn't have an opportunity to help in the classroom or teach.  We gave them a group donation though, and the teachers were thrilled with it.  The school children performed lots of songs and dances for us, and we were treated like VIP's. It was such a memorable moment for all of us on the tour.
Here's the boys performing a traditional song and dance for us

Monday, 11 November 2013

Travel Blog: Fiji


I don't know where to start because it has been quite eventful already, and we are still only a few days in.

  • We have met a French guy called Pierre. (Yes, really)
  • We have stayed on deserted islands that are more remote than you could ever imagine.  The first island we stayed on looked like the island from Lost.  And it kind of felt like we were stranded on the fantasy island too! It was back to basics - only 8-10 other guests, from all over the world, and we ate fish that had been caught fresh by the Fijian staff.  Spear fishing too, not the lazy modern way!  It also felt like we were staying on some form of retreat or ashram, as meal times were so structured.  The sound of drums summoned us three times a day, to eat whatever the locals had made for us. (Heads up - a LOT of pineapple).
  • And yesterday, whilst lying in my hammock on our beautiful, secluded beach, Rik asked me to marry him.  I wasn't sure if he was serious at first, but it turns out he was and now we are engaged.(!!!!!!!!)

  • Also, we touched a shark!! Maybe it was only a small, harmless, reef shark but STILL. I touched a shark. Unfortunately no photos, because as I have mentioned before, I was silly enough not to invest in a waterproof camera.
So I'm lost for words in Fiji! As I write this, I am at our second shipwreck island of the Yasawas, just outside our beach bure watching the sunset over the calming ocean.  It could definitely be labelled paradise.

We also have this amazing little bathroom in our bure. It is outside, at the back of the hut, almost like a shower garden. I absolutely LOVE it. I would love it slightly more if it dribbled hot water instead of freezing, but hey. I'm not a complainer.
Our beautiful shower garden!! Getting naked outside was an experience
There isn't much else to report on from the first half of our Fiji trip.  It is so relaxed, but for some of our travelling companions "Fiji Time" got very irritating.  Apart from lots of snorkelling, and exploring a cave, there is not much else to do but relax.  Or this kind of malarkey:
For more exciting and adventurous travel, check out my next blog post with the Feejee Experience.  Our main activity on the islands was climbing the huge mountain behind one of our resorts.  It was the hardest trek of my whole year - I was not expecting it in Fiji! New Zealand, or Australia, yes.  But no, it was this rock climbing affair, 900m above sea level that nearly defeated me.  Nevertheless, as always, the view was more than rewarding.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Travel Blog: Australia

16/09/13 - Darwin

We carried on our journey overland from Alice Springs to Darwin with Mulgas Adventures.  Once again it was a really fun journey, always making sure we stop at the best sites and attractions whilst getting to our destination as quickly as possible. Our first stop was the Devil's Marbles, where we had endless fun taking these sorts of photos:

We stopped overnight at an outback pub, in a "town" with a population of 7 people. That's not what I call a town! 
As soon as we arrived in Darwin, the next day we were off on camping trip number two. This time myself and my fellow Dora Explorers were seeking out the great national parks, Kakadu and Litchfield.  These places are not only natural wonders, full of billabongs, rivers and cascading waterfalls.  They have an abundance of wildlife, from fresh and saltwater crocs, to tiny termites that make mounds taller than humans.  And on top of all that, the parks have heaps of indigenous culture ingrained in them, including famous Aboriginal rock art sites. 

Just one of the many huge termite mounds!

The places we visited were incredible, including the most famous Kakadu spots Twin and Jim Jim Falls. Unfortunately because of the time of year we went, the falls were actually dry, but it was still so beautiful! Maguk was another fantastic swimming spot, which was so secluded.  I couldn't actually get many photographs because I didn't have a waterproof camera.  That is my best piece of advice to anyone travelling here - get a waterproof camera!! There are countless spots where you can swim through pools and rock climb to gorgeous secret places; and only one person in our group could take photographs of the amazing scenery.  

A few other exciting elements, like the croc spotting cruise and 4 wheel driving made this feel like the ultimate adventure.  Camping anywhere always feels adventurous, but being told to watch out for dingoes on the way to the toilet block in the night takes it to another level.  We also tried some more local ant! Obviously not as filling as kangaroo or buffalo (which we did eat again from the BBQ) but surprisingly tasty!! We didn't have to kill them either - the only tasty part is their bum, so you catch one, lick its bum, then place it back on its tree.  Sounds quite hilarious doesn't it?!  But it tastes like citrus and is used for seasoning by the Aborigines.
Here's the truck we spent 3 days in:

I'll finish this post with a photograph of me with our tour guide, Rob.  We nick named him Crocodile Dundee, and he was absolutely crazy and fearless.  I hope I'm like him when I'm older - still a free spirit!

Has anybody been to these places? I'd love to hear from you, especially if you have some photographs of the spots I couldn't get my camera to.  Please feel free to ask any questions too, on any of my posts.
Jade x