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Challenges of Flying to the Pacific from the East Coast of America

Islanders like this Pacific Woman in Philly (PWIP), understand all too well the dilemma and challenges of packing for a trip to our lovely islands and especially if one is travelling from the East coast of America. From trying to find the best deals on flights, without the hassle of catching ten flights, right down to the intricate details of packing one suitcase so it can weigh exactly 50 kilos and not over that. I think the new airline rules were made up for Pacific Islanders.

I remember flying decades ago,  seeing the boxes and suitcases that islanders like myself, would take on the plane. It’s a wonder the plane was able to get up into the sky with all that cargo.

Another challenge in travelling to the Pacific is the price of the flight. I’ve found that the most economical way is to fly with an US airline that works with the international carrier I’m flying with because than I’ll be paying one fee for excess luggage (should it happen), which is often paid at my original destination. If this PWIP flies US airlines that are not affiliated with the international airline…. no matter how cheap the flights are…I’ve ended up having to pay more for my luggage if  it has surpassed the 50 kilo mark. Often times I’ve pleaded and begged the international airline staff or have had to take stuff out and placed them in my carry on bag.

Besides the packing and the price, the length of the flight is one I usually find very daunting and stressful. For those of you following this blog from other parts of the world, here’s a brief description of my flight schedule to the South Pacific leaving from the East Coast of America. If I leave on a Monday, I arrive at my final destination on a Wednesday. It takes at least 21 hours or more of travelling time from the moment I leave my house in Philly to arriving at an airport in Australia, Fiji or New Zealand. I’ll most likely board three or four different airlines, if I make connecting flights within the US and if I’m trying to travel the frugal way. At this time of my life, I’m more interested in taking the least amount of airlines to get to my destination.

I believe that the excitement of travelling, learning about new cultures and meeting new people, far outweighs the challenges I’ve written above. Hoping that you will be making some great journeys this year.

 

 

 

 

Bula and Hello from Philadelphia

 

My apologies for being on hiatus from this blog. I do appreciate all of you for following my humble blog and for your comments. As you may have read, this blog is about the mundane and simple stories of my life as a Pacific woman living in Philadelphia.

This past year, 2016,  was an extremely busy one for this Pacific Woman in Philly. At the beginning of the year, I focused solely on honing in on  my design skills. Moore College of Art helped me grow rapidly in that area of my life….and did I mention… I love that school. Most days I was designing patterns and sewing outfits, from here to Timbuktu. In between the schooling, designing and sewing, I babysat the grandkids or namakus. I also had time in between all the handiwork to visit the sights, the sounds and the  museums of Philly. I also concentrated on living a healthy lifestyle by doing yoga and eating healthy.

In the middle of 2016, I travelled to Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. While travelling, I focused on journaling about some of the funny and interesting stuff I encountered and also did a little bit of drawing. I may (emphasis on the word “may”) show some of my doodles in a future blog, along with pictures and memories of the wonderful time I had on my trip.

By the time the end of 2016 rolled around, I needed to take a rest from the long trip, plus prepare for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas and not forgetting the Presidential elections and all the hoopla that came along with it. All in all, 2016 was a fruitful and  learning year for this Pacific woman.

Vinaka vakalevu and thank you for following and hoping you’re having a wonderful day or night wherever you may be in this beautiful world.

 

 

The Good. The Bad. The Ugly.

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The Divine Ms Ross
Last night, this Pacific Woman in Philly (PWIP), attended the Diana Ross concert at the Mann Center for Performing Arts in Philadelphia. The songs she sang brought back memorable moments spent in the Fiji islands with best friends, Joyce Taito Vunisa, Melania Elo Saubulinayau and Rusila Kearney. Especially, when Ms Ross came out in her bright yellow outfit to sing the theme song from the movie, Mahogany, “Do You Know Where You Are Going To.”

While swaying and singing along with Ms Ross, my mind wandered back to my twenties, “Lordy, who “wudda” thought” that I would be raising my hands and singing this song, live, along with Ms Ross. To my dearest friends, “Did we know through the years and the ups and downs………”

I can look back and truly say “vinaka vakalevu” and forever grateful to Ms Ross for all the songs and for jogging my “noggins” to reminisce about the wonderful memories.  As the song says, ….. “now looking back”,  I know we did NOT let dreams slip by.

With that walk down memory lane over with, I’ll get to the good, the bad and ugly of the concert.

The Good

Thank you to my PWIP friend, Lusiana Loanakadavu Browning, for being my date to the Mann. It’s also good to have a friend (Lusi) with a temporary “handicapped” tag because you get to park your car right at the entrance of the concert venue. Our ticket purchased through Groupon for $30 a piece, was so worth it. I liked seeing the diversity in the concert goers, ranging from the cane and wheelchair crowd,  same sex couples, the young and the old including the dressed down and the overly dressed. At 71, Ms Ross still has the voice and the fashion style to excite the senses of the crowd and this PWIP.

The Bad

Ms Ross sang for only an hour and I know people paid up to  and over $100 to see her perform. She must have changed her outfit at least five times during the concert. I think she could have used those times to sing more songs. Most of the concert goers, like myself, aren’t there for the clothes, but for the voice. Besides that, the majority of the women and “over the hill” fans aren’t going to buy the outfits, but we’ll definitely go out and buy the music for the memories that the songs invoke. I was hoping for more of her songs from the eighties.

The Ugly

There was a lot of rumbling after the concert. Most of the attendees including the PWIPs didn’t realize she was only performing for an hour. Ladies sitting around us were stunned when the concert ended. They didn’t want to leave their seats, thinking it was intermission. The other ugly part (like every event) is the “getting out of the parking lot” ritual. There were motorists driving every which way and unhappy concert goers did not help the driving situation.

All in all, this Pacific Woman in Philly was thrilled, delighted and ecstatic to have attended a live concert by the divine Ms Diana Ross. I used to dream, but to be able to see it in person is truly an experience. Thank you Lusi for going to the concert with me.

As the song says, “I like the things that life has shown me” and I “kinda” know where I’m going. This Pacific Woman in Philly is hoping you aren’t letting your dreams go by you.

 

CONCERT AT THE PARK

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Folk-rocker Jeffrey Gaines performing at the neighborhood concert.

 

This Pacific woman in Philly was excited when folk-rocker and guitarist, Jeffrey Gaines came to perform in our neighborhood. It was the first time our park was having a live concert like this one. The evening was perfect for gathering with friends, having a picnic and listening to a famous singer/songwriter. The rocker performed non-stop for two hours with just a guitar for accompaniment and his distinct voice to entertain the crowd.

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Pacific Women in Philly Lusi and Monika posing with the rocker.

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Gaines voice is similar to folk rock artist, Peter Gabriel. One of the songs that propelled Gaines to stardom in 1998 was Gabriel’s song, In Your Eyes. Listening to Gaines play and sing this song, one could almost hear the similarity of his voice to Peter Gabriel. Besides singing, In Your Eyes, Gaines sang many other songs during the evening concert  and especially my favorite, Hero In Me. If you want to hear more of  Gaines songs, you can go to YouTube, Spotify, Pandora or Apple Music, just to name a few of the online sites where his music is available.

I hope our neighborhood continues this concert series next year. It brings the neighbors together and makes the community more diverse culturally.

This Pacific woman in Philly is hoping your neighborhood is doing something exciting also to broaden your cultural life.