Friday, July 6, 2007

Off The Grid in Fiji

Off the Grid in Fiji

We are staying on Taveuni, the third largest of the Fiji islands - the garden island. Taveuni is the place to be if you want adventure of the eco type. The attractions here are of the natural variety - snorkeling and diving, jungle hiking, waterfalls and breathtaking vistas.

And we are rectifying some of our carbo0n sins by living off of the grid. That is, the house we are renting is completely solar powered - with propane fridge and water heater. You have to really watch your energy consumption because when the power is gone - it's gone until the sun shines again. This is quite a challenge for a family of 5 addicted to computers, ipods, cameras - even electric beauty equipment.

So far we have run out of power every night around dinner time - which is still kind of charming. The kids dig having to light candles and go to bed after the sun sets. It's so very 1800's,''

But sometimes it's not so charming. Yesterday it was around 7 pm and the sun had set. We were monkeying around with candles and such. Mike went into the bathroom. "Jules" he said "Um,..C'mere a minute." I went into the bathroom and blanched.

There on the shower curtain was the largest spider I'd ever see. This thing was as big as a dinner plate - brown and hairy. I think he was wearing a dinner jacket and smoking a pipe. "Good evening" he seemed to say as he cocked a hairy eyebrow and peered at us over the rim of his reading glasses. "I've been waiting all night for you."

"Oh god" I said. "Don't show that to the kids."

"Don't show the kids what?" came the reply from the next room as the kids ran in to investigate.

"Holy crap that's HUGE" was the informed consensus of the group. "Hey dad - get rid of that thing hugh?"

"How am I supposed to do that?" asked my knight in shining armor.

"I don't know, trap it or something".

Mike tried to "scare" it into the shower using a kayak paddle. He later reported that he planned to trap it under a b0wl. Turns out we didn't have a bowl big enough for this Goliath.

But this spider had other plans. He was not afraid of us and our silly paddle in the least. In fact, it charged directly at Mike - FAST. I'm talking blur or movement fast - chasing all of us out of the bathroom and into my bedroom.

And in true Hitchcockian form, it was just at that moment that all of the lights went out. A cacophony of screaming, slamming, falling, and yelling ensued.

Mike located the flashlight and, praise to the gods of bug amelioration, found one gigantic spider corpse under the kayak paddle. Thank the heavens. If he hadn't landed that lucky blow I am sure this event would have ended the "round-the-world" journey.

The next day we retold the story to local new friends and they just laughed at us. "Oh yes, that is a house spider. They are friendly and very good for the house." was what we were told.

"Friendly hugh?" I thought. "No thanks - not interested in making friends with THAT. My friends don't' charge at me in the dark and threaten to crawl up my leg. Wait....on second thought.... I might be wrong about that. Actually, my favorite ones do exactly that. :)


Anonymous Feiyie said...

That's one really big spider right there! I've seen them one time in our house. Luckily, they're harmless.

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