We checked out the menu in the restaurant as we passed by and it was a la carte thankfully so we went to our room to get changed and came back to the restaurant to eat. We started with garlic bread which the waitress had told us was ‘4 slices’ so we ordered one serve to share. They were 2 very small slices cut in half so equalled 4 pieces ROFL David had the ‘Curry of the Day’ which came with a pappadam that he kindly shared with me as we both love those.
Neither of us can remember what I had to eat, but whatever it was I wanted salt on it and reached for the pot on the table. Pepper came out so I tried the other and pepper came out of that too. Now I mentioned to David that they were both pepper and, being a man and doubting my capabilities to have honestly tried both pots and not picked up the same one twice, he said “Are you sure?” I replied “No, one’s brown powdery salt!” and he tested both to check my skills just as a waitress came by so he told her his!!! amazing discovery and asked if she could swap one for a salt. She took our pepper and put it on the next table and stole their salt so now they had 2 peppers, gave us the salt and went on her way. I shook the salt over my dinner and… nothing. Completely empty. I put my hand out and shook the salt pot to show David, and I was making a big deal of it, not aware that the waitress was behind me and saw the whole show. As soon as she came into view the 3 of us cracked up. She got us another salt and this one worked.
The food may not have been memorable but I had the most amazing cocktail. It was so nice that we asked for the drinks menu back so I could write down the ingredients. Not that I’ll ever make one but perhaps I could keep it in my diary for the once-a-year event where I might ask for one somewhere.
While we ate we watched a tiny gecko that was up on the ceiling heading for a right angle that went up to a higher part of the ceiling and we were wondering how he would negotiate the turn from being upside down to being on a vertical surface. The waitress came and brought something and distracted us for 2 seconds flat and we missed his transition.
The thing that really kept us entertained during dinner was the ‘band’. There were 3 male singers, of which two had guitars and the other a ukulele thing. They were awful. Absolutely awful. Why is it that the person with the worst voice always sings the loudest? He was so off key it was unbelievable. And there was one table that insisted on clapping at the end of each song which of course David declared was through relief that the whining had stopped, and made me laugh. Eventually, they went away on a break and we kept a sharp eye for them returning and ran for the hills with no dessert as soon as we saw them.
After that we sat and watched David’s DVD player with some ‘Darling Buds of May’ episodes until it was bedtime.
Our last day. We’d checked what time we had to check out and it was 11am which was rather nice so at least we had somewhere to call home for an hour more than we’d expected.
We went to breakfast unshowered, so we could leave that until the last minute, and chose the continental breakfast, completely relishing our fruit juice, fresh fruit and pastries with no nasty cooked breakfast making promises it couldn’t keep. We took our time and enjoyed the beautiful cheery song of one bird who was determined to come in and serenade us, and the antics of one waiter who was determined the bird would stay out.
Eventually it was time to go back to the room and we packed what we could, then showered, got dressed and packed the rest and trundled off to reception to pay our bill. They said to leave our cases and backpacks against the wall in reception so we put our valuables into one backpack and my handbag, which we could take with us, and went out for a walk. We walked as far as the shop where I’d bought the fabric as I had meant to buy one other design but the shop was shut. It was Sunday and we hadn’t been sure what the protocol would be here – some shops were open and others shut so it was worth the try. We’d have had to walk almost to the far end of the shops to get some money from a machine had it been open so I had mixed emotions that it was shut.
David wanted to walk further but I was feeling quite warm by now and we no longer had anywhere we could shower so we walked slowly back, keeping to the shade where there was any.
Once back near the hotel it was still far too early so we walked past it for a way and I thought I’d photograph a typical part of the road. This was as main a road as we saw anywhere and the condition was the same on them all. A lot of the cars were quite ramshackle, though there were nice ones too. The footpath ran out at the top of this photo and there was nowhere to sit to enjoy our last pineapple as we’d hoped so we turned around and walked very slowly back to the hotel (to use up some time).
Quite warm by now we discussed where we could eat our pineapple and I said to David that there were tables and chairs around the pool at the hotel so that’s where we headed. We somehow managed to find the pool towel supply, which was quite a way away, and I went and sat on the edge of the pool and dangled my feet in the water. Our bathers were packed of course so we couldn’t swim but I appreciated the cooling effect of the water and got chatting to a guy that was swimming. He was eventually joined by others who we spoke to as well but then I stood up, as soon as I could swing my legs without showing everything up my skirt to those with their heads at my knee height, and went to sit with David at the table.
David cut the pineapple into slices and we slurped it up knowing it was our last deliciously sweet juicy pineapple, perhaps for a very long time.
After that we wiped the table, put the skin and core in a bin and found somewhere to put the towel and returned to reception to waste some more time before our transfer bus arrived. As we got there the bus was about to take some people for an earlier flight to ours so we told him we’d go at the same time hoping to save him a trip. Truthfully we could have walked to the airport, but not carrying our bags in the warm humidity. It was only perhaps 2 kms from the hotel to the airport but far too bumpy on the footpath for the suitcase wheels.
In the airport there was not even a check-in desk for our flight yet so we sat around people watching for at least an hour until they opened one up for us. This was far more interesting than wasting time in the hotel anyway. In the end there was another couple sitting next to us who we overheard commenting on the check-in counter we needed to go to. They were plotting to be first there the moment it was posted and David and I laughed and made comments to them about ‘we were here first’, ‘we’re getting in front of them, quick!’ and other such things while laughing. The other people were closer to the corale entrance than we were so they won but we chatted to them as we went backwards and forwards between the ropes. And eventually we checked in and joined the queue with all the other flight passengers to go to the international lounge.
As we finally got through the queue, and then having to go to separate desks asking for our passports and boarding passes we reached the waiting area and who should be there but our German family. We were so pleased to see them and had a lovely chat with them for about 30 minutes until their flight was called. It was very good to see them again and sad all over again to wave them goodbye.
We had already been hungry but didn’t want to waste time with the family by going to get food so now went to order in a hurry. We told the lady behind the counter what we wanted and she asked for our flight number and then told us we didn’t have time for that and to order something else. We both chose a toasted sandwich and chips after asking if we could pay in Australian dollars, and we could. And then we waited, and waited, and waited some more. Being the slowest eater on the planet I began to think I would not have time to eat mine and I asked David (who never seems to offend people whereas I do) to go and ask for an E.T.A. on our E.A.T.s in case they’d forgotten. He came back saying that it had ‘left the other kitchen’, which is what he’d been told.
Soon, along came 2 paper plates wrapped in gladwrap with the sorriest excuse for a toasted sandwich you have ever seen in your entire life. Soggy, pale and really blurk but we ate them anyway as it was a very late lunch and we knew we didn’t fancy anything on the Virgin menu for the next 4 hours. The chips were the same, soggy, pale, clammy – shudder! But I’d barely eaten a couple of mine when our flight was called. This was almost an hour before we were due to fly and seemed really strange. I ate a few more chips anyway as we never rush to join the push and shove of a first call. After another few tasteless mouthfuls we threw the rest of my meal gratefully into the bin, though I doubt the bin was grateful, and went off to the gate and got aboard without further ado.
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The captain announced that everyone was aboard and because we had strong headwinds we were going to leave right now and we should be in Brisbane on time. And that’s what happened. The only excitement on the flight was when the captain announced that we were flying over New Caledonia and we got to gawk out of the window at that. Being well dosed up on travel sickness medication I felt tired and asked David to sit in the 3rd seat so I could lay across 2 and then have my head in his lap and tried to snuggle down and sleep a little but only managed a bit of a doze. Still, it passed some time. All else went smoothly and uneventfully and we arrived a little early for a late twilight landing in Brisbane. We were very grateful for this as we only had 90 minutes to get to the domestic airport for our transfer and had also found out that we had to claim our cases to go through customs.
First stop off the flight was the loo and then to find the cases. Customs went well as we had nothing to declare other than the shell necklaces we’d been given as we entered Fiji airport and they were fine with those; didn’t even want to see them! Off to the transfer desk to recheck our cases, grab an AirTrain ticket from her, up the escalators, over the bridge and onto the platform. This was the last train of the night so we were really grateful to have landed early so we could catch it rather than mess with taxis. And from there along to the Domestic Terminal in time for a 10 minute breather before our next flight was called. We grabbed a muffin each from here, and went to the loo to squeeze out another wee before boarding.
Again there’s not a lot to report other than we thought we’d watch some DVDs but when David got the player out the on button must have been pushed at some point and the battery was flat. Can’t win ‘em all. So we read our books for a while instead.
When the hostess came along offering food and drink we decided we would have something as it had been about 5 hours by now since our awful ‘food’ at Nadi so I asked for the pumpkin soup. I was stunned when she poured a packet into a cup, added hot water and stirred. I’d not expected that and wouldn’t have ordered it if I had. Goodness knows what chemicals are in one of those. Certainly no nutrition. But I was hungry so I ate it and it tasted OK. David ordered noodle soup, now knowing what he was going to get and he was right – shake, rip, pour, stir.
It always mystifies us that to come home from Brisbane we cross the Great Australian Bite. I‘ve Googled it and it has to do with the jet stream winds and the curvature of the earth;
and I’m sure the pilots know what they’re doing. ‘Across to Esperance and then north to Perth’ she shrugs. I love the few planes where you can watch the speed, altitude and progress of a flight and this was one.
In not too bad a time we began the descent, and the lights below us started to increase in number, and then in size. Even though it means that the holiday is totally over, there is a certain excitement in coming home and we landed in beautiful Perth once more, our adventure at an end. By the time we got to bed we’d been awake for 23 hours. Perth seems to be the city of midnight flights for us.
But there are 2 things I’ve forgotten along the way so I’ll add them here to make the story complete.
As often as the Fijian people said Bula in greeting they also said Vinaka, which is thank you. These are definitely the 2 words you need to know in beautiful Fiji.
And the final part was one night at dinner. The family went around the table asking each member ‘What was the best part of your day?’ When they’d each told their favourite thing they asked me and I said without hesitation “Being with David”. Then they turned to him and we all cracked up that he was now totally on the spot because of what I’d said. I expected him to say “Being away from May for 2 minutes when…” or “Pulling a face at May behind her back” but he didn’t, he said something about the reward of climbing the stairs to the top of the hill and seeing the beautiful blue ocean and the exotic, palm-clad islands stretched out to the horizon and beyond. (Or David’s words to that effect anyway LOL)
THE END OF OUR FIJI HOLIDAY
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