Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fiji! - Bula!

(there are paragraph breaks in this that aren't showing up for some unknown reason. I'll have to fix it when I return and have better internet connectivity) Fiji! It's really 8:48 am Sunday, March 25, 2012 (the iPad still thinks it's 2:48 pm, Saturday, March 24, 2012). At least that's my understanding.  Jet lag from overseas travel seems to vary wildly, depending on how far you, where you go and when you travel. For this trip, we left LA at 11:30 pm and arrived in Nadi at 5 am. It was a 10+ hour flight and I was able to sleep a lot so didn't feel like I was up all night. Kim wasn't so lucky as there was some turbulence and her motion sickness worked against sleep.  The flight was almost full. It was a big-ass plane and we estimated there were between 500-600 people on board.  The seats were tiny which wasn't a problem for either of us since Kim offered me the aisle and I could straighten my legs enough. Getting from our seats on the plane to Beqa Lagoon took approximately 7+ hours. Immigration, baggage claim (even though we were basically traveling with carry-ons, we checked our bags from LA to Nadi), customs, waiting for the other travelers going to Beqa, bus ride, temple stop, tourist trap stop (betting the bus guy got a big commission for that), and finally a boat ride to another island and we arrived. Because of the impending boat ride, Kim and I both applied scopolamine patches which made the ride quite pleasant but the side effects were killer, exacerbating the exhaustion and giving me god-awful cottonmouth. So, my patch came off (purposefully as opposed to Kim's which fell off) right after lunch and right before my nap.  Before I go any further with Fiji and Beqa Lagoon Resort, let me backtrack to our day in LA. We had hoped to check our bags in for our Nadi flight before heading out of the airport but we got shut down on that. After we walked over to the international terminal at 9:30ish, we found out that the Air Pacific ticket counter didn't open until 6:30 pm (although later I did overhear some fellow travelers say that they were able to get rid of their bags at around 1pm. Not us!). So we hailed a cab and headed into LA, dragging our bags behind us. Our first stop was the Beverly Hot Springs in Koreatown for massages.  We're pretty sure that the cabbie ripped us off since the ride from the airport was $65 and the ride back to the airport was $40.  The ride from the airport took much longer even though there was way more traffic on the ride back. I do have what was purported to be the first cabbie's information so am still mulling over a possible complaint when we return to LA.  The spa was nice enough but certainly not 5 star. Definitely pales in comparison to the Spa Castle in Queens. We enjoyed the hot springs and both got body scrubs and bamboo massages. The body scrub was very similar to the one I had had in NY. No modesty allowed. Korean women in black bras and panties scrub practically every inch of your body with a loofah and some sort of scrub.  You're then bathed, head to toe. The best part is when they take a pail full of hot water and splash it over your entire body.  I laid there, thinking do it again. Again!  The bamboo massage was nice. It reminded both of us of a hot stone massage. Not the best massage i've had (thinking about it, I don'think I can identify the best massage I've had) but quite nice.   (break for cool down dip in pool) After another dip in the hot springs and a shower, Kim and I walked to Larchmont Village, schlepping our bags. We must have made quite a scene. Not only are pedestrians unusual in the not very nice neighborhood we were passing through, but to be pulling luggage on top of it? Yep, we got some looks. Larchmont is a really nice stretch with boutiques and nice little restaurants with tasty fare. We ended up eating outside at a little Italian trattoria whose name I'll have to look up on my credit card statement (Louise?).  Then back to the airport to find an outlet (in the relaxation lounge), wait in line to check in, go through security and then watch a movie (Happy. Eh.) while we waited to depart. Yesterday afternoon between my nap and dinner, Kim and I got jet lag massages.  Two massages in two days (or three if you factor in the time change), can't complain about that.  The jet lag massage was better then the bamboo massage, both because of the massage itself and because of the locale.  Here at Beqa, the massage "room" is an open air bure right on the water, so I was listening to the waves and the breeze during my massage. Definitely plan on doing that again.  Lunch yesterday was fish kabobs and dinner was polenta cakes with melted tomatoes.  French toast for breakfast and veggie stir fry for lunch. Lamb shank is on tap for dinner tonight.  Jet lag is working in our favor for the time being. Went to bed relatively early last might but fell asleep easily since it was something like 2 am at home. Got up early too, again because it was much later at home. I'm betting that the jet lag on our return will be much more challenging.  Spent the day today laying around the pool, looking at the ocean, writing this (when the iPad wasn't complaining about how hot it was) and reading about Fiji in the Lonely Planet guide.  The resort is very remote but very peaceful. Kim and I have a two bedroom suite with a living area and a porch/balcony with a view of the ocean. There are beautiful lily pad ponds and an abundance of hammocks strung between palm trees.    The staff is all very friendly and eager to please and the food is well prepared. There are activities planned for each day but almost everyone is here for the diving (except for me and a couple of others). I'm a bit intimidated by the thought of straying too far from the ocean into the interior of the island to do some of the suggested hiking.  Hot, muggy, muddy and buggy (which is how someone who's been on one of the hikes described it) isnt really my thing. Jet skiing, on the other hand, I'm totally down for! Maybe tomorrow. We are talking about rafting on Friday, even though that requires a boat trip back to  Viti Levu. Bula is used to say welcome and hello. It literally means life.    Signing off for today at 3:30 pm. 

1 comment:

Susie said...

I've so wanted to hear about this trip. What prompted it?

Loved reading about L.A. and could picture you two with bags in tow walking around L.A. where no one walks.