Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Bula, Day 12 and 13 of The Challenge, in Fiji

Tropical Fish, but not on our menu!
Clearly visible, no need to snorkel!!
 Day 12

Bula!  After little sleep (neighbour's sexual exploits which lasted till 4.30am), I woke bleary-eyed and we stumbled to the dining room for our free breakfast which consisted of a fruitarian menu!  Fiji coffee brew (not grown here), watermelon, papaya, banana, guava and a fruit salad of pineapple and watermelon with a dollop of yoghurt.  We have noted there are quite a few Indian and Fijian Hishis.  A he who acts like a she.  They are all very friendly, with exaggerated feminine hand manoeuvres and smiles.  A Hishi waiter comes over and asks if we are the vegetarians (news has spread among staff) and strikes up a conversation about the weather, New Zealand and the services on offer at the hotel.  He explains with flamboyant hand gestures that not many people stay longer than a night or two.
We have a head, neck and shoulder massage at the spa after breakfast, 20 minutes for $20 each.  We declare we will be back!  We lie beside the pool and watch whole swathes of air hostesses and pilots drag their identical luggage to or from their rooms.  Apparently, they make up 50% of the guests.  We also watch small planes, larger Fijian Air boeings, sea planes,air pencils (tiny planes) and the occasional helicopter fly overhead.  We are directly in the flight path to the airport.  Hoping for no air disasters on incoming flights! 
The hotel kitchen specially makes us taro chips with sour cream (they make their own sour cream with local cream and lemon juice).  A wonderful pre-lunch snack.  We eat the leftover previous evening’s cold curry for lunch later – no way to heat it.
What shall we eat for dinner – We checked out the local Ikkuyu Japanese restaurant and they were quite obliging to make us a stir fry of local veges with rice.  Afterwards, we felt like the cat who snaffed up the cream!  On their dessert menu they had Fiji ice-cream, made here with local ingredients (or so they said).  We shared the tiniest portion but it felt wonderful!  Such a treat!
We love pizza and there is a pizza oven kiosk here at the pool that we pass several times, daily.  So tempting.
Most staff are willing to help out where they can.

Day 13
Monday, and we moved rooms at about 9pm last night as our neighbour started up her Viagra-fuelled guttural gruntings and squealing!  I just could not take another night of her sexual endeavours, so we requested a move down the hallway.  And as luck would have it, we were kept awake by 2 Phillipino men who yakked loudly all night (well, I resorted to earplugs by midnight, but sometime through the night I removed them and was then woken at 5am when they decided to continue their intense conversation at full volume).  The joys of transit-airport hotels!!

We were up early as we had booked a cruise and had our hotel breakfast of fruit and coffee and then we were collected by a Fijian guy in his aerodynamic super-island-sexy car with aerofoils on the boot.  The engine sounded like a jet-engine, and puffed at each gear change, so it was no surprise to discover he worked as an aviation engineer at the airport.  We were unloaded at a petrol station and picked up by his wife in the Coral Cats van and taken to Denerau Marina for our High Seas adventure!  My friend Sue, had recommended them and arranged for a special “local price” as her friend works onboard.  We gingerly stepped on board the deck of a catamaran, along with the rest of the 30-strong passengers and 4 crew, all local Fijians.
The Cat Boys

High Seas Adventure
We set off on the adventure of a lifetime – I tend to avoid boats since my last cruise on board a giant passenger liner had me heaving my stomach out for the full 5 days!  It was a wonderful adventure and we were surprised that we did not feel sea sick, not even once.  An onboard mid-morning snack of fruit and then we anchored in the middle of the ocean near a reef (aquamarine patch in the dark blue sea) for people to snorkel.  I was not the only one who graciously declined the offer and was super-relieved I did not go into the water as we kept on drifting off, leaving the snorkelers paddling around, marooned due to high winds which caused the cat to follow the wind.

We arrived in Musket Cove – a true paradisical bay with aqua waters, palm trees and fringed bungalows hugging the shoreline.  We were treated to a wonderful local fare and vegetarian feast.  Salads, and a veg curry in a roti roll.  Mike shrugged and ate his.  I decided to keep the Challenge and scraped my curry out, discarding the wheat roti.  Mike said he was simply being gracious and accepting local hospitality!

We share our guava with a local, a Bulbul.
We met a lovely American couple, Bay and Mike, from Oregon.  He is vegetarian and is an organic farmer, while she is a part-time nurse.  We exchanged contact details.
Ty collects coconuts for us on the island
The view whilst lunching on a local vegetarian feast

The return journey was hampered by strong winds and we rose and plummeted for nearly 2 hours.  Of course we got absolutely SOAKED through as there was no escape from the lashing waves, halfway the wind made us all huddle in our freezing wet gear as wave after wave sprayed or dumped on us, bucket loads or bath loads of water at a time!  We ran for the toilet on our return to the marina, and scrambled in our backpacks for dry gear.  I managed to scrape the dry clothes on over my wet and salty body, only to discover Mike outside, clad in his resort pants and a rain jacket as he didn’t have anything dry for his upper body!  We had a good laugh at his fashion-style and at least we were warm and dry for the ride home.
Lunch bure

Island style toilet area

We were sooo tired, sun-burned and hungry when we returned, that we just ordered ourselves a 12 inch pizza to share.  Bugger the Challenge, I said, we deserve this treat!!  A few thousand kilometres air-miles for that wheat, artichokes and olives!  Boy, it sure went down a treat!  I am not sure if we slept like The Dead due to quiet neighbours, or if it was simply through pure and utter exhaustion. 
It is really challenging to be out of your own home-comfort zone, and sticking to a strict 200km zone , as well as a restrictive diet of vegetarianism, and to top it off with an awareness of healthy eating!  We find locally made snacks – only to painfully read of all the numbers and nasty additives.  So much food, but so many restrictions makes for limited eating when out and about.

The High Seas adventure was brilliant – memories are made of these!

 Vinaka Vaka Levu, from Fiji!

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