Waiting for a plane

Hey Dad,

So this morning I checked out at 10am. The hotel offered to hold my bags which was great. I still held onto my backpack mind. 

Knowing how uncomfortable I felt in Nadi, I was not prepared to walk through town with my back pack on, so I decided a day around the pool with a book would be the best way to spend my final day in Fiji. 

It was a great plan, until the storm clouds rolled in and the down pour began. I ran for cover! Which must have looked hilarious; me trying to grab all of my belongings, not having enough hands and slipping on the wet stones. I eventually made it under the cover of the bar. 

Well I set myself up at the end of the bar, and made myself very comfortable. The rain looked like it was going nowhere. 

An elderly gentleman came and sat at the other end of the bar. He explained how he stayed at this hotel for three months a year and how he loved Fiji. He then started asking me questions about my trip and what I was doing. I explained I was just waiting to go to the airport later that evening. He then invited me to join him for dinner. He said how it gets tedious eating alone (I know that feeling) and he would like some company, his treat. Well it would be rude not to pass up a free meal. 

He came and found me still at the bar a few hours later. I packed up my bag and we walked to the restaurant across the road. Only issue though was the food took a little while to come out and I was running out of time. I had a transfer booked back to the airport and not long to catch it. In the end we finished our main courses, and I had to make my apologies and leave him sitting there. I felt awful, but I couldn’t miss my flight! 

I got to the airport and checked in. I was told there was a weight issue on my plane, and my bag may have to fly separately.  I explained this can’t happen as I am island hopping around Hawaii, and I will not have an address to send the bag to, or a phone that they could contact me on. The check in lady went to talk to her supervisor, which seemed to take forever, like literally 1o+ minutes. Anyway she came back and said my bag would be OK. Not sure at this point whether I should believe her or not, but there is not much I could do about it. 

The check in lady then told me the flight would be making a stop at Christmas Island! This was news to me. Why no one had thought to tell me this I do not know! I can’t believe I got to the check in desk before learning this. Oh well, again not kuchen I could do about it.

So now I am sitting in the most ridiculous airport ever! My bags went through security and I was told all the liquids had to go in a plastic zip bag. I just had then in a sandwich bag type affair. He then told me I had to go and buy a bag from the shop, back out through security. I however was not allowed to take my bags. I ran back to this shop and bough a zip bag. I went though security again where the airport guy put the liquids into the zip bag and stuffed it all back in my back pack. What the hell was the point in all that?! He did recheck or scan anything, he simply just wanted me to spend money on a plastic bag. 

Frustrated by this, I went and bought a bottle of water. I was then told I would have to drink the entire bottle before I boarded the plane, or they would deliver this bottle to me once I had boarded. Again, stupid! 

I bought a bottle to have on the plane and walked off to find and corner. Fortunately I came across and water fountain, so I filled up my drinks bottle. 

Now I should point out about now my leg is killing me! Where I smashed into the coral yesterday, my leg is stinging and is really uncomfortable. I had to plaster it up to stop the fluff from my trackies getting into it, which was then pulling on the skin making the stinging worse. So walking around this airport I was frustrated and grumpy.  

I only had a few dollars left, so I spent them on the biggest bag of M&Ms I could afford! That made me slightly happier. 

As I boarded the plane we had to go through one more line of security. It was like being at a festival! It was stupid. We had to find some available person who laid out the bags on a big bench table and riffle through them. All liquids then had to be thrown away. I was searched, given the ok and carried on walking, only to be stopped my another line of security pointing at my water bottle. I was getting really frustrated by then, and making the point I had already been searched and checked. I threw the contents of my water bottle over the side railing, took three steps forward and collected the bottle of water I had purchased in the shop two hours before! For an island where fresh water is scarce, they sure know how to waste it. Stupid system, which seemed to be designed to make more money out of us. 

I am now sitting on a plane with the middle seat free, which is just as well as the aisle seat had a woman sitting in it who required the arm rest to be up in order for her to fit in the seat! 

But now, the real cherry on the cake. 

This woman decided to chew gum. With her mouth open. Now everyone knows how I hate hearing people eat and ‘yap’ their food. It makes me feel sick! This woman’s chewing was unbelievably loud! My phone was running low on battery and was switched off. No music to drown her out. Airplane radio head phones did not block the discusting sounds from her. End result, two pairs of head phones! I put my inner ear head phones in, plugged into nothing, then the airport head phones on top plugged into the plane radio. I swear it took this much to drown her out! I bet you are laughing saying I must be exaggerating, and I really wish I was! 

This is going to be one long flight….. I really hope they don’t bring her food! 

Night Dad x

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A snorkelling day

Hey Dad,

So I made a new friend today. His name was Lochlan and he was three and a half.

I got picked up this Morning to go out for a days snorkel. The shuttle then drove to pick up other people, including Lochlan and his family. He got straight on the shuttle and started to talk to me. 

The snorkel so far on Fiji has not been to my standard, but I have been assured this is the best snorkel you can do from Nadi. 
So we all boarded the catamaran, and I of course went straight to sitting on the canvas on the front. As I sat on a bean bag I had a little friend park his bum next to me. His parents kept asking if it was OK, and I kept saying it was. It was quite nice to hang out with a little person. After a while his parents realised I really was quite happy so they stopped asking. 

We sailed for an hour and a half out to a reef. The tour guide was right, the reef was beautiful, with very little damage. The reef was shallow enough that you could see everything, and we were right by a shelf so I could chuck out my snorkel and dive down. I also learnt I used to be able to hold my breath for a lot longer. Think I need to work on that for Hawaii. The guide also had bread with him, he was handing us bits and the fish were taking it right out of our hands!

Well after an hour of looking at the coral and the fish we all got back on the boat. Lochlan apparently had a melt down and freaked out getting in the water, so his parents had tag teamed staying with him and played ‘spot Kayleigh’ in the water. 

We sailed to a small island with a resort on it where we stopped for lunch. The resort was beautiful, it’s the kind of place you would have been happy staying in; private resort on a private island. 

Back on the boat we sailed out to our next snorkelling stop, the sand bar. I had used all my powers of three year old persuasion to convince Lochlan to come into the water this time. He donned his little goggles (he didn’t like his mask or snorkel) and his yellow flippers and sat on the side of the catamaran with his dad. I jumped in and he followed. Success! His parents swam with him over to the sand bar, he had one of those life swim vests which kept him nicely afloat. He then kept holding his breath, ducking his head and looking under water. “Look! A fish!”

I left them to it and went to explore the reef. I have never seen a reef so shallow. The captain had told us the tide was low, he wasn’t kidding, I could barely swim above it. I found a shelf which was handy, I could actually swim then. 

One slight catch though. The current was really strong. My mask filled up with water so I came to the surface to sort it out. Without realising I was being swept back in towards the coral. I smashed into the coral shelf, scraping the top of my leg and my knee on the coral. Wonderful. Water turned a cloudy pink colour around the top of my leg and it instantly stung. 

It was time to get back on the boat so I swam back hoping the salt water would clear my leg as much as possible. Didn’t help with the bleeding though. By the time I climbed on the boat and walked to the canvas I had blood running down my leg. Of course my legs were soaking wet so the blood ran very freely. Lochlan was very worried. “Mummy Kayleigh has a baddie”. He then proceeded to try and give me one of his ‘Paw Patrol’ plasters. I dried off and the blood dripped less. Still stung though. 

Sailing back to port, the catamaran suddenly stopped. The crewmen started whistling and banging the hull of the boat. Next thing I know the catamaran was surrounded by dolphins! Masses of them. They were jumping out of the water along side the boat. They followed us for ages, jumping out of the water and swimming around. It felt like it was a rehearsed acrobatic display. They were incredible to watch. 

After the excitement of the dolphins Lochlan fell asleep. The whole day had been slightly overcast, which made a refreshing change as I could sit out all day without the bright sun cooking me. I sat on the canvas and talked to my new buddies parents the whole way back.

Well back at the port I said goodbye to my new friend, who had just been woken up and was a little grizzly. Can’t blame him, who likes to be woken up! 

Well time to pack once again! Off to Hawaii tomorrow! My flight isn’t until 11pm mind, so I have all day in Fiji tomorrow, just no room! 

Night dad x

Savala Island

Hey Dad;

Well another day another island! 

Today I was picked up and taken back to the marina to board a boat called ‘ohlala’. Made me laugh. 

We sailed for about an hour and a half on what I think may have been the slowest boat in Fiji. ‘Fiji time’ as I keep being told.

Well we got to the island and again, I think the brochure was a bit misleading. To say this was an island was a massive stretch. A spot of land in the middle of the ocean was more like it. It was tiny! 

First thing I did was find a sunbed, leave my bag and go for a walk around the island. Not even two minutes later I was back! Still private island with only 20 people on it can’t be bad. 

I went snorkeling straight off the island, and to be honest it was a little disappointing. A cyclone went through a tear or so ago and killed the reef apparently. It was more damaged then just humans and boats could have done. But there were some pretty fish, and it was shallow enough for it to be very clear 

After a BBQ lunch, we got to go and feed sharks! We all walked over to the back of the island where a tour guide had a plate of what I assume was chopped up fish and he was throwing it in the water. These little sharks came from all over and were swarming! I had my gopro in my hand. With that another tour guide took my gopro out of my hand and threw it in the water at the sharks! Panic stricken I watched my gopro bob about in the water as these sharks swam around it, hoping they were not hungry enough to try and take a bite. Fortunately the gopro survived, and the guide went in and fished it out after the sharks had gone. Got some really good footage on it too! 

After shark diving was a glass bottom boat tour, which was a bit pointless as we had already seen it from snorkeling.

After a little longer relaxing on a sun bed we headed back onto the boat and into port, being played songs the whole way back. 

Back at the hotel and the useless WiFi is terrible! The only place I can get signal is in the bar. Decided to order myself a cocktail to make up for it. Big mistake, most expensive cocktail ever, and not great. The bar has no air-conditioning  and the bugs are everywhere. Going to get bitten alive sitting here!

Time to go

Night dad x

Temples and mud pools

Hey Dad,

I had a lovely leisurely morning. After the long day yesterday I was in no hurry. I got up and went to book some more day trips for the end of my week, and then ambled back to my room.

I had booked a trip to the he hot mud pools this afternoon, so I went to the hotel pool for an hour before grabbing some lunch and getting ready for my afternoons adventures. 

I got picked up and we drove round picking up people from other hotels. First stop was a temple. It was the most multi coloured temple I have seen. The temple was only 23 years old. Modern compared to some I have seen on this trip. We were not allowed to have bare knees or shoulders, so we were given wraps to put around us. Even the guys had to wear them as shorts were not acceptable. 

From the temple.we were taken to a local market. Or so we were told.  We were just taken to a shop in town. Fortunately it was a shop I did not go in when I went to explore Nadi. From the ‘tourist gift shop’ we were driven out to a food market, selling the most colourful and fresh fruit and veg you have ever seen! 

We past the mountain of the sleeping giant and headed to the sleeping giants garden. Basically a small botanical garden, it was beautiful, but flowers are not really my thing. The tour guide was not spectacular either. Just posted and said a flowers name. 

Then onto the mud pools! The mud pools are a natural hot spring, which comes to the earth surface, heating the water to 75°c. Of course this was only safe to dip your hand in to feel it. The hotel water is then drawn down pipes to a large pool which is at around 38°c. 

We all striped down to swim gear, and a bucket of ‘mud’ was placed in front of us. We then spread this mud over every inch of our bodies. I of course when the whole hog much to everyone’s amusement, face and all! I was covered head to toe in mud. After it dried we then had to enter the mud pools to wash it off. This proved harder then it sounds. Trying to remove mud when you are in muddy water is pretty impossible. After the worst of the mud was off a dunk in the hot pool got the rest out. Although that water was pretty murky. Save to say I destroyed the hotels towel! It was gross. 

Back at the hotel and showered I am still finding mud! 
Well anther day another island tomorrow!

Night dad x

Sailing to Mamanuca Islands

Hey Dad,

Early start again. I got picked up my coach and driven to the marina where I caught a sea cat which took me to Mana to board a sailing ship! 

The ship was a little smaller then I had pictured, and different to what was advertised. Apparently I was not the only one with this thought! 

Anyway we set sail over the most clear blue water I have ever seen! It was unbelievable.  Every so often we would sail past another island, each one looking like a deserted paradise! 

Our first stop was the one I was looking forward to, it was the island where Tom Hanks filmed ‘Castaway’. The island was simply incredible. I first went snorkelling straight off the island, the coral was shallow in parts and the shelf just dropped straight off. 

After snorkelling I went to explore. I found the beach where the majority of the film was shot, and the massive rock face. The rocks are now covered in plants and trees, more so then in the film. Sadly I did not find Wilson, that would have made my day. I can not believe no one has put one on the island. However in saying that you would never know a film crew had been there! Before I knew it we were being called back on the boat. I could have spent all day exploring this island, but no luck, onto the next destination. 

Our next stop was a small village. After being dropped off we walked along a beach and through a town. It was a really bizarre experience. This town has no access to drinking water (other then rainwater) yet had solar panels and phone signal! Madness. We were taken to the village leader, who performed a ritual. Part of this ritual in welcoming us to the village was having a ceremonial drink called Kava. Kava is made from a root from what I can understand and mixed with water.  The result is a muddy looking water. The nominated ‘chief’ drank first, followed by the rest of us. Kava was very strange. It tasted somewhere between aniseed and medicine. It made your younger feel numb. Very odd, and not that pleasant at first. I imagine though with a few more tastes you could become quite partial to it. 

Back on the boat then to head back into Mana to get the sea cat back to the marina. 

Sailing on the boat was a great experience too! The crew all had instruments and played songs throughout. Some were hilarious with animal noises thrown in! Drinks were all inclusive too! A fair few people had too many beers, it was way too hot for me to entertain alcohol, I couldn’t drink enough water as it was!

On the way back we eventually plucked up the courage to ask why the boat was different to the one pictured. Turns out the boat on the advertising was the boat we were supposed to be on, however it hit the reef a while back and sank! Guess that explains why they didn’t tell us at the beginning! 

The boat back also included weaving banana leaves. We all made crowns, and apparently I was the only one who knew how to plait properly, because mine was the only neat one. Their words, not mine! One of the crew also made me a beautiful bird from the leaves.

Today has been a great day! I am exhausted and have had far too much sun today! Early night and a tub of after sun for me I think!

Night dad x

Nadi

Bula Dad!

Or hello! Bula is a traditional greeting here, and everyone seems to say it as you walk past. Everyone.

So this morning I went for a wonder around the hotel. It’s nice, not to your high standards, but fine for me. I have been stung on the WiFi though, it costs a fortune! 

After getting my bearings I decided to go and explore the centre of Nadi. I took a local bus into the centre and went for a wonder round. It was definitely not what I was expecting.  Nadi is one of the biggest towns around, and it was just one road with shops on either side. I realised pretty quickly I seemed to be the only tourist wandering around, that made me feel slightly uneasy.

Walking around the town was like being back in vietnam, people yelling at you to ‘come and see’ and ‘look here’ people then started trying to shake my hand. This was an excuse to hold my hand and drag me to their shops and stalls. I even had one guy tell me that the shops were owned by Indians and tried to take me down some alley to his shop. Nope. 

Walking back through town once I hit the other end of the high street (if you can call it that) I came across the same guy again trying to take my hand and lead me down an alley. Nope. Big fat nope. 

I decided it was time for me to go. I had hit my limit of being hassled. I hung around a shop by the bus stop so I was off the street, partly because me standing on the edge of the road would mean more hassle and partly because I was melting in the heat. 

By the time I got back to the hotel I was boiling, and feeling slightly irritated. So I jumped straight in the pool! 

I spent the rest of the afternoon swimming, relaxing on a sun bed and reading, completely hassle free! 

Well Nadi did not impress me much, but I am heading out on a boat tomorrow to sail around some islands, let’s hope they are as spectacular as they sound

Night dad x

Traveling to Fiji

Hey Dad,

So today I got up this morning and repacked. It seemed to take me forever!

I said goodbye to Esther and Daniel as they left for work and headed towards the airport. Ever tried getting a case on a bus during rush hour to a capital city, it was fun that’s for sure! 

I ended up with a spare seat next to me on the flight over too, flying really is far more comfortable when you have room to move.

Fiji airport may he my new favourite.  Got to love a place where you go through customs with a four piece band playing you a welcome song. Guitars, ukulele and a drum, it was pretty good. Glad the queue was not too long for customs mind, they only seemed to know one song. 

When I got out of the airport it was already dark, so I have no real clue what Fiji looks like. I told the taxi driver where my hotel was, he was not best pleased as my hotel was so close. He then told me repeatedly that this was a small fare and he would have to join the back of the queue when he got back to the airport. Couldn’t help but think this was not my problem. 

Well the hotel is pretty basic, but it’s clean and comfortable enough, will be nice to see what the rest looks like in the morning. 

Night dad x