Bula (Hello in Fijian)
(This is my journal entry from 1-9-08)
We are in Fiji, the first destination of our journey. We arrived here this morning at 5:30 AM Fiji time after a long 11 hour flight from LA. We were originally planned to arrive yesterday but when our first flight of Cleveland to Chicago was delayed, supposedly due to fog, and we realized we'd never make our connection in LA we decided to stay another day at my parent's in cleveland. the next day we arrived back at the cleveland airport to realize that the flight to chicago was delayed yet again. This time it was due to the fact that the president was there. Needless to say we were beyond upset. I went up to the ticket counter and asked the attendant about our situation. That turned out to be a great move because it turns out the plane that was about to pull out from the gate next to ours was going to DC where we'd be able to catch a connection to LA with enough time to make our flight to Fiji. So Lynette and I rushed to make in on board in time. The pilots could be heard over walkie talkie complaining about the hold up because they were ready to pull out. (Now they now how we felt.) Thankfully we made it on board in time and were on our way. We just kept our fingers crossed that nothing else would go wrong.
The day of flights seems to blur together because it was such a long and stressful day. I don't remember much about our lay over in DC. LA I remember because of how badly organized and confusing the airport was. No directional signage whatsoever. We had to ask several people how to find the international terminal and our gate. I can't imagine how foreigners do it. I guess I'll find out when we are the foreigners in some non english speaking country.
We got there with over 2 hours before our next flight but ended up being crunched for time. Between running this way and that, waiting in lines for checkin and back check and security check, the shuttle to the gate, and navigating the crowds I was surprised we made our flight.
When we got to our plane that would take us across the pacific I was happy to find that it was one of those jumbo jets with 3 rows of seats rather than the 2 row kinds that I'd been on many times for our US flights. The one from DC to LA was too, but this was even the kind with a second floor. I wasn't even sure those really existed, as though they were just a thing made up to make airplane movies more exciting. But they are real and we even got to sit on the second floor. The flight didn't actually feel that long probably because I slept a lot on and off.
We finally arrived in Fiji. It was beautiful right off the bat. We got off the plane and walked along an elevated open air walkway into the airport. With gorgeous skies and mountain ranges all around. The car to pick us up for the hotel eventually arrived and we made our way to where we'd be staying for our night on the island. The drive was interesting. The two guys up front of the old van were friendly. They navigated the windey streets of the small neighborhoods and backroads well. Along the way they stopped once to get some hot bread, once for a bag of ice, and once to pick up some woman from the side of the road. Each time we stopped at the old buildings for one of their errands I thought, "I sure hope this isn't the place. It doesn't look like the pictures on the internet." The structures were old, rusting, dirty, falling apart, and hardly appeared to be structurally sound. hardly the Fiji getaway I imagined. Thankfully we drove on each time.
As we got deeper into the backroads they got muddier and bumpier, but the views got more spectacular. Amidst the gorgeous palm trees and fields of greenery, the mountains rose up in the distance over the plains of clear blue water. We finally arrived at our hotel which turned out, to me, to seem more of an oasis paradise, especially after our long journey. The front desk, dining area and bar are all under an open air roof structure. And above that can be seen big beautiful palm trees. Then the clear skies of intense blue and just a few billowy clouds. The small but sufficient pool is lined with recliners which are shaded by yet more sprawling palm trees. Our room is on the first floor and is small and quaint but just enough emenities for comfort. One of which being an air conditioner! The screened windows have no glass just wide wooden louvers to shut out the light. They don't shut out the pool and deck noise but we have ear plugs for that. There's live music playing here tonight that I plan to enjoy but you never know, jet lag might hit me and send me to the sack. All our meals will be taken here since its too far to go anywhere else, but that's okay because the food here is great. We've decided to just stay here for our 1 1/2 day stay instead of trying to run aournd and see all the sights. We've been doing enough running around for a while and we'll see plenty of sights later on our trip. This is a great place to just get some relaxation time and let the realization that we really did this sink in. Its hard to believe that after all the planning and excitement and thinking this trip would never come that its really begun and we are doing it.
(Please pardon any typing errors. We are paying for our internet time and I don't have time to do corrections.)
I'll post photos at a later date. - Stay tuned for more!