''Survivor'''s Ramona recounts the highs (mud baths) and lows (Jenna) of her final days on the island

By Ramona Gray
Updated July 28, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

When we last left Ramona, she was reeling from getting two votes at Pagong’s first Tribal Council (only the ousted B.B. received more). In the final part of this exclusive journal excerpt, she tries to make sense of her island strife and prepare herself for her post-Pulau Tiga existence.


By any means necessary
Malcolm X

We lost again… kinda bummed out, but the reward challenges just don’t seem that rewarding to us. Today’s reward was two pairs of snorkeling goggles, fins, and a spear. The thing is, we’ve already had fish. Minnows, but fish nonetheless, so it wasn’t really a big loss to us. Tomorrow is another immunity challenge, though, and we need to win. The other tribe has beat us twice now, and I think they feel a momentum shift — we have to put a stop to that.
I think we were so burnt out from last night’s fiasco [the trek to Tribal Council] that we only had half to give.
Meanwhile, I’m feeling great today, physically. Mentally, I’m working on it. It’s hard — I don’t trust anyone anyway and now it’s just worse. I talked to Gervase about how I was feeling like people had sorta formed cliques and how I was a part of none — that I felt like an outsider in the group — that people who had been talking to me before weren’t now (or not as [much]). The group is more [comfortable] with Gervase than [with me], probably because he’s been around white people all his life and this is the most I’ve been around for this amount of time. Like dogs sense fear, I think they’ve picked up on it.
All I can do is be me, man…that’s it. I’m not gonna be someone I’m not for the sake of gain. That would not be fair to me — I would not be being true to self, and that has to be done at all costs!
The moon is a day away from being full — nighttime is amazingly bright and beautiful! I am so blessed. I have shelter that’s right at the sea’s front door, food, clothing, and companions. I have full view of God’s creations…the heavens and earth, land and sea, and the creatures that inhabit both. I’ve seen beautiful sunsets and sunrises and the moon and stars as bright and as close as they’ve ever been…and think, this is the WORST it’s ever been for me!


Believe it or not, I just ate roasted rat! I know people will never believe it until they see it, and never in a million years would I have thought I’d do it — BUT I DID AND IT WAS GOOD!
Not sure if we have an immunity challenge today, but if not, the plan is to wash clothes and visit the mud volcanoes.
I feel like I’ve made peace with things here; the people, my place within the tribe, and the possibility of being voted off next. I’m so cool with it. I know it sounds corny, but I really do feel fortunate having just been chosen. I’ve seen another country (and can knock Asia off the continent list), been to Los Angeles, stayed in great hotels, met lots of new people, learned some new things about myself and others, learned to appreciate more by living with less, seen beauty in more than one way every day — and most of all, I’ve had one of the greatest adventures of my life!


The good news is we kicked ass in the immunity challenge this morning!! Yeah, baby! Three more days. I just had one of the most incredible experiences of all since I’ve been here — a mud bath in a natural occurring mud volcano! OH MY GOD! It was UNBELIEVABLE! I was a little hesitant at first, but then I figured, what the heck — have fun and enjoy it while I’m here. It would cost me at least $100 in a spa and I’m getting it FREE in nature. You can’t beat that. We all trekked through the jungle about a half mile to get there, but it was well worth the hike. When we got back, we allowed it to mostly dry and then went into the ocean to wash it all off. WHY was the ocean water WARM?? It was PERFECT. No spa treatment will ever beat that! Another good thing that came out of it was the bonding that occurred. But again, MY SKIN FELT SO MUCH BETTER ONCE I RINSED OFF. IT WAS DIVINE! Thank you, Jesus!

DAY 10

We had the worst night ever! At first it was only God putting on a light show; the lightning was beautiful and I watched it in awe until we all went to bed. AND THEN IT HAPPENED: THE FLOOD. There wasn’t really a flood, but it rained all night and every inch of me was soaked — all of us were. It was hot, humid, wet, and cold all at the same time. UGH!
We made the decision during breakfast — we had to rebuild. So WE DID IT. We took the entire structure apart, scouted the beach, and found a new spot around the corner from the latrine and rebuilt. It took all day long with everyone bustin’ their butts, but we did it. It’s a lean-to, smaller, but very sturdy and comfortable.

In other news: Jenna’s ”cheerleader” attitude is slowly working my nerves — I’m all for feeling good and having a positive attitude/outlook, but she has taken it WAY over the top! Everything is GREAT! Or she’s doing GREAT! Or feeling GREAT! Even when she’s throwing up. I’m like, ”ALRIGHT, ALREADY! GIVE IT A BREAK!” It’s just not normal and it’s now on the verge of being an act. And for the record, I HATE IT. I need her to come down a couple of octaves.
Joel dug a little trench at the mouth of our lagoon and voila: We had Pagong Falls! It was absolutely incredible. I keep using amazing, incredible, beautiful, and unbelievable becuz that’s just how sharp and clear and vivid everything is here. And even those words don’t do the events or pictures or thoughts justice! So, anyway, the mouth slowly opened and got bigger as the lagoon emptied out into the sea, taking huge logs and the like along with it; the only not-so-good thing was the smell — GEEZ! If I wasn’t certain before, I knew afterward that there’d been some NASTY S— in that lagoon! So, now we’re left with a lagoon bed with a small stream running through it.

We got mail: a note telling us to send one person to test out tomorrow’s reward [challenge]. We sent Jenna. She was gone about two hours, but when she came back she had our reward challenge note. Basically, we had to build a sign, signal, message in the sand, and a plane would fly over. The team with the best one (clear, imaginative, easy to read and understand) would win. We settled on the smiley face; I think it’s a good choice cuz it’s simple and easy to read and interpret.
We spent our first night in the new hut.

DAY 11

Reward challenge # 4. WE LOST — I’m bummed out, but tomorrow is the one that counts! I did find out that when Jenna went down to test/check out the reward yesterday, she told them all we wanted was a spice rack! We ONLY wanted the spice rack? Do you know how PISSED I would’ve been if we’d won and the only thing we got was that damn spice rack? No pillows, no toilet paper, no HAMMOCK (that’s what I wanted); I would’ve blown a gasket.

Can’t we all just get along?
Rodney King

It happened! He did it! Finally! Joel caught a fish! WHOO HOO! He and Gervase had gone out and vowed not to come in without one — well, after about two hours passed, we started to give up. Who would’ve thought it would take him getting OFF the raft into shallow water? Well, what he caught was a doozy — I think they called it a cuddle fish [sic]. I really don’t care what they called it. We cooked it and it gave a welcomed new taste other than that rice.

DAY 12

Oh, man — what a difference a night’s sleep makes! I feel great and I’m ready to compete and win.
Once again, I’ve witnessed something totally phenomenal! First, as myself, Gervase, and Joel are playing cards, we see the black-and-white eagle like the one from the Eagle and Snake (about Pulau Tiga and Snake Island). It’s flying not far out over the water and we’re admiring it as it circles and soars — when it suddenly DIVES and catches what I think is a fish but what everyone else is saying was a snake! It was awesome. People have spent months out here to capture that very thing and never see it, and I witness it on my front porch playing cards: That’s incredible!
IMMUNITY CHALLENGE # 4. Well, I’m sitting in a tent writing this, so you can assume that I was the lucky one this time! YEP, they voted me off. I was stunned, to say the least. I suppose I was always vulnerable from the first Council, but somehow I thought the ax would fall on either Jenna or Colleen next — clearly, I was wrong!
[Tribal Council votes] 4-Ramona. 2-Colleen. 1-Jenna.
So, in the [post-eviction] confessional, I basically said that I was glad that I came — that I thought nothing happened by chance and that everything was ordained by God; that out of over 6,000 applicants, I was chosen not by chance — that I was there for a reason, and although I’m not sure what it was, it must’ve been fulfilled — that I have no regrets and that I had FUN. This was the adventure of a lifetime and I made the most of it. EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY SECOND OF IT, and I’m glad. I knew that I was strong; now I know I’m STRONGER. I can do ANYTHING and NOTHING can stop me! This is all part of God’s plan.
I don’t know people’s reasons for their votes, and I don’t know if I care — I’m not mad. If anything, I’m glad! I just took a shower and before that had shrimp, beef, something leafy, AND guess what? RICE — yep, freakin’ RICE. Of all the foods to give someone after 12 days of rice 3 times a day — but, you know, I killed it, right? And with my fingers nonetheless (what’s a fork?)!
I’m incredibly proud of myself — I knew I could do it! Now the hard part will be waiting for the show to air and all the hoopla that follows!