Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Ever walked into a sauna with 2 coats on (so you could carry everything), 6 kids and 12 bags of carry on luggage?  I don't recommend it.  That's how it felt walking off the plane into Fiji.  Keep in mind that we had 3 inches of snow the night before we left!   We walked into a very welcoming (though very HOT) airport to go through customs.  Holding all the bags, kids that were just on a flight for 13 hours, and wearing two coats becomes too much quite quickly!  To pass the time of that long line we were able to talk to two Elders that were just arriving to the island. I may have had two coats - but they had a full-on suit to wear!  After waiting about 20 minutes in a long line of people quietly counting how many kids we had with us, we finally made it to the front counter.
Our plane! This was as we were heading into the Fiji airport.
On our way into the airport, greeted by singing.
Heidi didn't want to play "Go through the Claims line"
The people there were thrilled with the kids. Heidi's chubby legs got pinched more times than I can count.  Everyone was very sweet and tried to get us through everything as quickly as possible. After the customs line, we waited for the other 12 pieces of luggage and two carseats.  We had many people help us out to two taxis and help us on our way.

If you have never driven on the other side of the road, that part is scary enough.  Add to that the pothole dodging and it's TERRIFYING.  The driver was very sweet and offered all kinds of advice for while we were there.  However, he would drift into the other lane as cars were coming, dodge the rather large holes in the road - into oncoming traffic, and got out of scrapes that I was actually rather impressed with.

This is the way to wait to be checked into a hotel room!
We survived the trip and made it to our hotel.  It was AMAZING. We stayed at the Sheraton Villas and the ocean was RIGHT THERE.  We had to upgrade our suite because the one we'd paid for wasn't available until 3 PM. And as it was about 6 AM when we got there, we were just a tad early.   After getting everything ready we managed to get everything into two golfcarts and we were on our way to the villa.

We had two suites right next to each other. You opened the main door and the kids were in one side and we were in the other. It was basically one apartment but enclosed at the same time. Pictures will help me make more sense.  After running wildly through both rooms (Hey, you would too after 15 hours in a plane!!), we got ready to go swimming.  The pool was huge.  It was U-shaped and each line of the U was about 100 feet long and about 15 feet wide.    There were bridges in a couple of places and you could go under them to get to the other side.  My kids didn't want to leave but we figured lunch would be a good idea. Even though it was only about 10:30 at the time...

Instead of going to lunch, everyone decided it was time to fall asleep. The weather agreed.  It rained hard and nonstop for the next several hours.

I was anxious to start emailing people to let them know we were alive, so I finally dragged everyone out of the apartment and over to dinner.  We had 15 minutes to spare before dinner so we went into a little air conditioned room to check email as fast as possible.  I'd forgotten it was air conditioned until I opened the door afterwards and got blasted by the humidity and heat. Yikes!

Waiting for the Internet.
We ate at a buffet that was open to the outside (meaning birds could come in whenever they wanted). The food was excellent. There were dishes from all over the world. Everyone loved it. Except Ethan and Heidi.  Ethan had fallen asleep while I was checking email and did NOT want to wake up. He screamed at everything (If you know Ethan, you know what I mean). The waitresses were very sweet and tried to hold him or help him with food or anything else they could think of.  I finally took him on a tour of the food and he found chicken, prawns and tortillas that he loved.  Meanwhile, Heidi was also fussy so another waitress took it upon herself to get Heidi to sleep.  They made a bed for her out of several chairs.    We left the buffet STUFFED to capacity and ready for bed!

We were in bed by about 9 PM and slept until about 4 or 5.  Our time zones were still messed up...  We waited until breakfast started and headed back over to the buffet for breakfast. This time it was mostly fruits, oatmeal, bacon and bean pizza (actually pretty good!), bacon and eggs.  The kids were ready to hit the pools but we decided it was time to sightsee.

We took the Bula Bus which is this awesome looking trolley with a thatched roof. They call it the bula bus because that's what you yell (bula, not bus) whenever you see someone. It's 'hello' in Fijian.  We went over to the port to do some shopping. Which really meant that we walked around in blazing heat listening to kids whine that they were starving and tired.  One of them is reading this over my shoulder right now, defending himself.  Anyway, we got each of them little souvenirs (pens, fans, necklaces, etc) and then went over to the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch.  It was so hot Steve and I just got a salad to share.  I'd insisted on Hard Rock Cafe thinking it would be air conditioned inside. NOT. AT. ALL.  And the service was terrible. So glad I got what I wanted. :)  The food was great though.  I know the kids' food was great because I ate theirs along with my salad. Oh and we'd asked for an extra plate so that we could split our salad.  They gave us a TINY plate so I ate half of the salad and then let Steve have the other half.  Which is why I was fine eating everyone else's food.

When we got back to the hotel we got our swimming suits and went pool jumping.  We visited three different pools in that time.  One was at a hotel down the road from us since they all share the same management.  While we were there, we decided to check out the beach.  By our villas there was no sand. The ocean went right up against the rocks.  We wandered to the 'designated area' of the beach and had the time of our lives. I fully expected the ocean water to be freezing like in California and was pleasantly surprised by the warm water.  Heidi LOVED IT.   She and Ethan were having a blast picking up sand and throwing it. Neither cared that the water was splashing into their faces or that there was sand all over them. All they cared about was getting to as much as sand as they could. I wish I'd had it on video but I was stressing out too much making sure they didn't get washed away!

When my blood pressure was sufficiently high enough from making sure I still had six children, we left the beach and headed to pool number two.  This one had a little walkway into the pool that the kids loved playing on.  We met a few little girls that flocked to Heidi and got up in her face.  They were from Australia and when they found out we were from America their mom asked who lives in America. "Hannah Montana!" It was so cute. They were just positive they were going to go and meet her.

After we finished there, we headed over to the last pool which was the pool we went to the day before.  We didn't stay there for long because by that time the younger kids had had it with water. I didn't think my raisined fingers would ever be the same again!

I bathed all the kids and got them in bed while Steve headed off to the store to get food for the night.  I sat glued to the TV, watching news about the earthquake and the warnings of the tsunami.  Yeah, I was a little freaked out.  The news going across the screen was "the mineral peoples (that's not what they are but I forgot the word) have determined that Fiji will not be hit by the tsunami but if it does, it will occur at 3:37 AM".  Was that supposed to make me feel better?!?!  I packed everything up knowing they'd be the hotel bright and early in the morning to get us to the airport.  I finally was able to get to bed.

I woke up relieved that 3:37 had passed and that we were okay.  We rushed to the airport (with me hyperventilating when our ride didn't show up on time) and had to sit and wait while Steve checked yet another bag.  They were nice and charged us yet another $100 for the bag. The security guard that told him to check it was rather unhappy about it (he didn't think they should have charged us).  We were rushed to the airplane and on our way to Sydney.

Waiting to leave Fiji
This flight was not nearly as fun. The kids were whiny, the people around us were rather grumpy (although if you had a kid kicking the back of your chair you would be grumpy too) and I was about ready to give Heidi away.

We finally touched down (Heidi fell asleep 10 minutes before landing) and were on our way to our new home.   We ordered a couple of meat pies (HOLY COW good!!) and rushed to find our plane.  It was the one plane that was delayed.  It was a small plane because it only had to go about 50 minutes to Canberra. I actually liked that flight the best because you could see everything!

My kids are now screaming at me to go have dinner.  I'll be back to continue the adventure!! Here are photos of the our island and villa

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! I love hearing all your adventures. The beach sounds like a dream but you know I'd be stressed too. Keep sharing the details! I love your honesty. Hopefully things can settle soon.