A Tale of Two Resorts
So Sarah Beth and I said our tearful goodbyes at the Auckland airport where I was whisked away into the Air New Zealand premier boarding lounge while she had to wait for the United check in gates to open. Bad planning on my part. Sorry.
The flight to Fiji was fine and it was raining as we landed. Perfect. My last chance for some R&R and it's the rainy season here. But by the time I got my luggage and through customs, it had stopped. So I normally don't complain about my hotels, but . . . . . I had checked the website and it said that the Raddison Blue had an airport shuttle. But it doesn't. It basically will arrange transportation for you. Which I hadn't done in advance, so there goes $45 FJD (or $22 USD). Not a lot, but just annoying. I make it to the Raddison Blu which is in Denarau which is basically a resort complex where there are probably a dozen different resorts. It's fine. My room isn't ready when I arrive, but by the time I get lunch and have a drink, it's ready. The room is nice, and ACed, and the first thing I do is crash for a nap. I wake up to a cloudy sky and make my way to the beach front restaurant so I can have my sunset cocktail. And of course it starts to sprinkle. But I've got my book and I've got my cocktail so I snap a quick pic and then head into dinner. I go back to the room to re-pack for the trip the next day. The bus is picking me up at 0800. I'm up early and l head to check out and that's when I discover that to pay by credit card I have to pay the 3% credit card processing fee. Are you f%^king kidding me? You have a cashless system at all of the restaurants and bars so people can't pay with cash as they go. And you are a Raddison for God's sake! You are turning over 300+ rooms a night. Are you really telling me that you're going to pass the credit card processing fee onto the guest? Super lame. Losers! Sad! (Sorry if I sounded like Trump there).
So when I was planning Fiji, I wan't exactly sure what I wanted to do. The main island is pretty big and hard to get around. And they drive on the left side of the road. And I wanted someway to sample more than just one resort to get a feel for the country. So as I was doing my research, I read about the Yasawah Islands off the north west coast of the main island. They are an island chain that have a number of different resorts on them. And there is a ferry that leaves Port Denarau in the AM and makes it's way up the chain dropping folks off at the various island resorts and then when it gets to the northern most island, it turns around and picks people heading back to the main island. This would give me a chance to check out a couple of different islands and different resorts. And they had a range of options from backpacker style accomodations to more luxurious options. Guess which one I picked?
So we're on the boat heading out and it's overcast and a bit grey. Perfect. I end up chatting with a USAFA grad who is getting his degree from Georgetown in Foreign Affairs (like I did) and he's on this working trip where he goes and spends time at the US Embassies in Fiji, Australia, NZ, and one other place. Talk about a rough gig. Anyways, we pass through the first set of islands and we stop to do at sea boat transfers for the people going to those resorts. We head north and as I'm looking forward I see an island that's covered by dark clouds overhead. That's my island. Of course. We approach the island and smaller boat comes out to pick me (and two young women) up from the ferry. The smaller boat makes it's way to shore and we have to hop out of the boat into the surf and walk up the beach to get to the Octopus resort. Loving this by the way.
A cool towel and a welcome cocktail and I'm definitely relaxing. I had splurged for an ocean front burre and it was nice. No AC, but a fan. The mosquito netting over the bed looks romantic, but of course I'm looking at the holes in it and thinking great. More bites for Trey. I do love the outdoor shower. The outdoor toilet? No so much. It's a flushing toilet, but still I don't want passers by to hear me while I'm taking care of my business. And I'm assuming my trip to the toilet in the middle of the night will be another opportunity for the mosquitos to sample my blood. Good times. By the time I settle in, it's time for lunch. Which is good. And then I scheduled a snorkeling boat trip in the afternoon. It's still cloudy overhead which is good or else I would fry in no time. We take one of the small boats around to the next bay over for some snorkeling. The water feels amazing and it's so clear! I'm loving the fish, the coral, the plants. It really is awesome. We get back from the snorkel trip around 4PM which means it's happy hour!
Now the drinks are measured pours, so they are a bit lame, but I get the rum, pineapple juice, and club soda special. And it's pretty tasting. It's started to sprinkle again but I'm under the covered bar area with my book so I'm pretty happy. So I have another drink. And another. Now 99% of the time, I'm a happy drunk. But every once in a while I get rather melancholy. Almost everyone here at the resort is a couple, so of course I started thinking about John. I've thought about John a lot on this trip. He would never have been able to get this much time off. Even as a partner in a law firm. And I'm sure he would not have been that keen on hiking the Milford Track. But this? And beautiful beach resort in Fiji? Oh this is right up John's alley. Of course, we wouldn't have stayed here. With both of our incomes, he would have found an amazing, more expensive, more posh resort for us. One that probably had the drinks included. But all of this thinking about John sort of made me a little bit sad. So I headed back to my beach front burre and just called it a night. Hope the weather and my mood will improve tomorrow.