With a heavy heart, we say Aloha to Hawaii and got checked out of our hotel and into Fiji Air. It all worked just as smooth as silk, although there was lots of walking involved. Our plane was a 737-700 and we splurged for the eight hour flight and upgraded to business. It was a wise choice. My real only complaint is that they fed us twice. The first meal was lovely, I had a wasabi-encrusted chicken breast with tons of veggies and a huge green salad (TBG had the same and Jeff had a filet mignon that was cooked perfectly). Dessert was chocolate mousse cake. The minute we arrived, they started serving us drinks, a cocktail made of Fijian rum and various juices. There were also a dozen wines and various spirits to choose from.
This was lovely and we had a nice flight to Christmas Island. There are only about 5000 people on the island and not much of anything else. Not a pine tree in sight – I wonder what they decorate at Christmas time?
Okay, so we unloaded about forty people (big fishing spot) and loaded up a few more folks and then took off. Immediately, they started feeding us again, but really, it had only been a couple of hours. I can’t understand why they pushed the meal service up so close to take off – it was a five hour flight and we were fed and tucked in within two hours of getting back in the air.
Dinner was no less lovely – TBG and Jeff had shrimp and rice and I had cheese ravioli and another huge green salad. I could only manage part of both. It was just too much food for me. I opted out of dessert, but TBG had it and said it was yummy (lemon pie).
The flight into Nadi (pronounced Nandi) was lovely and we landed smoothly. Everything was lovely and then we hit customs… oh my, that was a bit of a challenge. It is now a day and two hours later (time change) and I really wanted to go to bed. There were still a few challenges ahead. We got through Customs with no problem and got out luggage. Then we met up with our driver (and the king of hard sells – he was determined to book us on a tour for the next day – we declined).
The hotel was, at first glance a bit more rustic that I had imagined, but the room is clean and the beds are comfortable. What more do you need after a long plane ride?
Sleep well, my friends.
Fiji – Day Six
Woke up at about 1:50 this morning to answer the call of Nature. As there was a two hour time difference, this would make it 3:50 and I didn’t think I’d make it back to sleep. Then the rain started and the next time I woke up, it was 5:30.
Since this place is strongly associated with Australia and New Zealand, there is a very definite British influence. Took me forever to figure out how to make the kettle boil. :P After a couple cups of coffee, I was much happier. TBG walked around the place while I worked on getting caught up with my diary and whatnot. Not having Internet service is very freeing.
We walked along the beach as soon as it got light enough to do so safely. We were finally able to connect with Jeff and got some breakfast, included with our stay. After that, we sat around and talked while TBG troubleshot Jeff’s phone. It just wouldn’t get or send texts. Jeff was quite frustrated, but with his daughter’s help, we were able to get it fixed.
That was when we decided to hit the pool. The sun was in and out and I didn’t think anything about it, but I really should have put on sunscreen sooner than I did. I got a little pink, but nothing painful. We swam for about an hour, which was lovely. All the pools on this trip have been salt water and I have decided I really like swimming in salt water.
We finally got around to have lunch at one – a wonderful feast of a grilled mahi sandwich with half a salad on it (Jeff and I had the same thing) and TBG had a club. It was massive and the fries were good. Loved the catsup which was sweeter than ours. TBG also had a Duhl soups, it was a lentil curry soup – very tasty.
After a leisurely lunch, we parted company, Jeff to read on the beach, us to shower and nap… or nap and shower in TBG’s case.
The sun went around three and it grew cloudy again, but no rain. We spent the rest of the afternoon reading and relaxing, finally texting Jeff around 6 to see if we wanted a drink. The only downside to the afternoon is that someone started playing their music – loudly. It was very disruptive and I couldn’t believe that one of our fellow guests could be so rude. It was actually the bar signally the start of happy hour. That made it a little better and they did take frequent breaks, so that helped.
We met in the bar and decided that they really need a serious bartender. He didn’t know how to make a Tom Collins or even a daiquiri. I stuck with wine, an Australian shiraz. After that, we went into the dining room. It filled up, sort of, showing us just how few rooms are booked at this time of the year.
It’s amazing the scope of what they offer here for dinner – from Japanese to Fijian to Italian to Indian. All the food is very tasty, but the portions are huge! Jeff had a Caesar salad with chicken (it also olives, tomatoes, bacon and came topped with a fried egg), TBG had Parmesan chicken and I had a chicken carbonara. All were delicious, but any one could have fed the entire table.
After a leisurely meal, we wandered back to our prospective rooms and settled in for the night. Despite the long naps, sleep came quickly to both of us. The end of a truly lovely day.
Fiji – Day Seven – onto the ship!
Is that a dagger I see before me? No, actually it’s a freaking rooster, but his call cuts just as deep. The first round started at about 4:30 and it steadily went on until about five, slowly gathering more and more avian support as they went. By five thirty, you could hear stirring in most of the huts. Is there a snooze control on a rooster?
Had another restful and peaceful night. If anything, I slept even more soundly. The day broke cloudless and beautiful. It is going to be lovely and that’s just fine with me. After getting pink yesterday, though, I am going to be even more attentive to sunscreen.
Today we leave Club Fiji and head to the pier to pick up our ship – the Fijian Princess. I am looking forward to seeing the ship and hope that we will have restful seas.
Our transport showed up a bit late, but was there, none the less. He drove us to Port Denero, which was where we would pick up the Blue Lagoon Cruise ship – The Fijian Princess. I was a little anxious, but it operated just like a regular cruise embarkation. We checked our bags and were given name tags, which we were instructed to not put on until we boarded, our room key (6)and a boarding pass. I was happy to learn that Jeff was across the hall from us.
We had lunch at a little place called Lulu’s and then I went in search of postcards – which I found. Of course, they won’t get mailed until Hawaii, but it’s the thought that counts. Also picked up a souvenir (my first!) and then headed back to the pier just in time to hear them announce that we were able to embark. TBG was nervous because I had everything with me. :P
We got on board and got to our cabins. We opted for the larger cabins on the top deck. If these are the larger ones, I’d hate to see the small ones. We are talking micro – the only thing in the room is a bed and a writing desk. I was prepared for this because all the reviews I’d read mentioned the small size of the cabins. The common comment was that you are only in there to sleep.
The room is indeed very small, but there is a closet and tons of storage space under the bed. We hung what we thought we’d need – dress is very casual here and did our best to find little hidey holes for everything. The bathroom is the biggest challenge, not so much for me, but TBG will have some stuff to watch for – the ceiling is low and there’s a raised threshold. It’s a wet bath, which means just about everything gets wet. When you are in the shower, you can sit on the toilet – literally. It will be interesting the first time.
No elevator, of course, so there is lots of climbing up very steep stairs. We will be getting our exercise, that’s for certain. Trip hazards are everywhere – you have to really love sailing to be here.
We unpacked as well as we could for we departed almost immediately and were underway. It was okay until we left the breakwater and hit the open seas – oh my golly gosh, not all the Dramamine in the world could have prepared me for that experience. We went to the all hands muster and then I pursued the better part of discretion and returned to our cabin. I took more Dramamine and that seemed to help. We took a nap and woke to much calmer seas.
We docked off shore at the Castaway Island, made famous in the Tom Hanks movie. They had even left his little shelter and the coconut ‘Help Me!’ sign. It was too rough to snorkel and we were advised not to try. We got in the water, but the wind was blowing so hard that it was actually chilly. The water was so invitingly warm, but I didn’t fancy a freezing cold ride back. We were on shore for about forty minutes, but by now it was getting dark and we were ready to head back to the ship.
They don’t serve dinner until 7:30 at night, but there is a tea at 3:30, which we didn’t partake of, having just finished lunch at 2:30. We came down for the Captain’s Happy Hour and the complimentary champagne flowed freely. They tucked us into a nice quiet sheltered spot for dinner, which was really fabulous.
We had a choice of rare beef roulade with rocket and a berry filling or an eggplant/pepper crustless tart as an entrée (?). Jeff had the beef, we had the eggplant. Both were very good. Then there was a Tom Guy or Tomato soup. Both were very good, but the Tom Guy was spicy. For our main entrée, Jeff and I had the silver snapper – so good – and TBG had lamb shank ravioli. He thought our ravioli was better. We had all ordered the sticky toffee pudding for dessert, but I couldn’t do it. I was so sleepy and it was past 9:30. I headed back to the cabin and was asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow.