April 02, 2002
"For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring"

First one to accurately post the source of my title wins a bottle of Fiji Bitter and my respect (of course). It was an amazingly hot day today and it is true that tempers flare when the sun is blazing. I was basically a crank all day...the combination of my midterm exam, loud neighbors yapping all night and unbearable heat wore away at the cheery Sierra and left in her place the snarky wench. I had my first mid-term today and the opening question was "explain the difference between inspiration and expiration" didn't get much more difficult. I was going to study for it, but the power went out last night and I don't have any alternate sources of light, so I opted instead for early sleep. My plan was thwarted by my neighbor and her 2034982309 friends who thought it best to chat until 1:30 am. Erika also left me for the week, heading off to a village to do some Biology work...being obnoxious just isn't the same without her!

I hope everyone had a great Easter week-end...I'm sure most of you both Edmontonians and Vancouverites (what the hell do you call people from Vancouver???) were studying hard for the upcoming finals. Friday I headed to the Beach, but in typical Good Friday fashion the sky turned black and I was chased away back to the horror of Suva. The night was salvaged by some dancing and backgammon (don't ask me how they were connected).

Saturday I finally got an opportunity to return to my favorite of all places...the kitchen. I have yet to make a real meal in Fiji so I was looking forward to this first venture into Fiji food. Getting ingredients was just the beginning of the Odyssey. Saturday is market day and you cannot imagine the craziness (of course I could show you a picture and then you might have an idea). Ever village within a 150 km radius comes to Suva to sell vegetables and fruits at the market. It is sheer chaos with ever piece of available street/pavement in an area approximately the size of a soccer field is claimed by some merchant. Sadly despite this array of people there is a very limited number of things actually being sold. You can buy the following items: Dalo (spinach like vegetable), eggplant, chilies, avocado, bananas, pawpaws (papayas), coconuts, breadfruit, root (imagine the densest blandest potato in the world), carrots, onions and watermelon. Now this may initially seem like plenty, but try to think of a well known recipe that contains the above ingrediants. I'm sure if I was Fijian I would know plenty, but I'm not...so planning a recipe was difficult. The actual supermarkets don't have much more in terms of food (a Bell Pepper is 2.50$ ), but eventually I decided on Garlic Bread and Pasta with an Eggplant sauce (don't diss eggplants I used to hate them, but they have been my salvation). We bought all the ingredients, which was not exactly fun because it involves bargaining and wading through merchants. You cannot imagine the smell of a market when it is 30 degrees out. Every particle of rotten fruit, old fish and general stank moves that much quicker in the heat (remember putting your wet/sweaty socks on the heater and the horrible smell...). Off we went to the boys' house to start the preparation. One of the ingredients I had decided on was chilies, because they don't sell any kind of spices not used in Indian cooking, so Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary were out of the question. Now I know that certain un-named individuals have warned me numerous times about the danger of cutting chilies with my bare hands and I know that currently they are shaking their heads and thinking "I told you so", but alas I did not heed those words of caution. The first thing was my eyes, as I so foolishly touched them to ease an itch...instant glorious pain like someone was striking a match in my eyeball. It wasn't until 20 minutes later that my hands began to really burn and I started to imitate a happy seal twitching my flippers. Thankfully I had only put 3 of these potent peppers (which I was told weren't nearly as hot as the red ones) in my sauce or I would have wasted an entire dish. The burning wasn't exactly helped by the fact that the boys had a total of 1 fork for the 5 of us. So I ate the hot pasta with my hands, with the heat of the dish compounding the burning from the pepper. It was loverly and delightful. The next morning when I woke up, I tried to write a letter, but my hands still hurt and I decided instead to hold my frozen juice container.

Sunday, I was a good little Christian girl (as always) and I attended church. Somehow I got scammed into reading the Gospel at church (keep in mind I have never been to this particular church nor did I know anyone there...somehow this didn't matter). But, in the end it was worth it because I got to stay and eat the Easter feast...YIPPEE!!! I'm thinking if the free food continues I may just become a regular church-goer. Sunday night we went to the "International House" which belongs to 3 Aussies and a German and made another feast. This time I made the good old standbys...fried potatoes, eggplant and spinach. I will be the Eggplant Master upon my return (don't worry I never plan on eating that vegetable AGAIN after I get back). Hadn't realized how much I miss cooking and am excited about returning to Canada where all my ingredients lie waiting in the grocery store. First night I'm home I'm making the biggest lasagne known to man!

I tried desperately to scan some photos to post for you, but apparently fate decided this was not to happen and despite my efforts I have nothing to show you. I am going to send some photos home and get people there to scan and e-mail them, so you will see them eventually. The MVP of the week is my boyfriend who faked an injury to come hang with me in Fiji (If I haven't introduced you check out the photo)
...you should see how he looks in his speedo!!!

Posted by Sierra at April 02, 2002 02:51 AM

Ow! That is one fine lookin' boyfriend....keep up the good work!

Posted by: Princess TikiTiki on April 2, 2002 08:34 AM

Benvolio: . . .For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.
Mercutio: Thou art like one of these fellows that, when he enters the confines of a tavern ...

I promise to write soon!
love ya,

Posted by: yay I won! on April 2, 2002 08:55 AM

Oh Brendan, will you ever fail Sierra? If only my Eric weren't busy practicing his golf swing for the off season then maybe I'd get a surprise visit too. :)

Posted by: Bop on April 2, 2002 11:33 AM

Hey, I want to see a picture of your boyfriend.
The link isn't working!
Send home some photos and your eggplant recipes.
Or, maybe I'll just wait till you get back,
and then you can cook eggplant dishes for
me 7 days a week.

Posted by: Big sis on April 3, 2002 11:33 AM

I'm Hungy

Posted by: you on April 3, 2002 11:47 AM

That looks like my boyfriend! I got your letter, the first one, way after the second one. oh, well, it was worth the wait.

Posted by: Lorey on April 3, 2002 01:45 PM

Erik you are a genius...I bought you a bottle of Fiji Bitter and drank it...it was delicious!

Posted by: Sierra on April 3, 2002 02:13 PM
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