I’m meant to be blogging from the warmth of Fiji right now … Right here (see picture above of my family walking by the pool in 2017. My little girl – to the left – is waiting for her Daddy, who took this photo. I’m in the black top. Can you see me? I’ve since been dreaming of coming back); right here is where I’m meant to be. By this pool. Watching my kids. Reading. Or maybe just stuffing my face with ice cream.
But, no! Like many planned escapades, outings, getaways, road trips, coffee-hang-outs and get-togethers (also, ahem … some people), Fiji. Got. Cancelled!
Yep, That Thing That Shall Not Be Mentioned pretty much punctured a hole in our well-established plans and not only deflated our hopes of making more memorable moments with the extended fam, it has caused many other heartaches for awholelottapeople! However … all is not bad. And, relatively speaking, I’ve really not as much to complain about as others.
There are some great things to come out of the enforced isolation. Like: me finally getting on with creating my website! Me, writing another 10,000 words to my novella. Introverted-Me, getting some stay-at-home time. How about you? I’m sure I’m not the only one able to see the “glass-half-full” side to this otherwise “glass-looking-pretty-empty” situation.
Come with me…
So, your travel plans were cancelled. Why not look back at some of your photos and reminisce instead… and actually remember the fun you had while you were doing what you did back there … wherever it was. I know it’s not the same, but the photographs may trigger a pleasant recount of an unexpected happening, a special feeling, a sweet moment in time … or even a hilarious incident!
But, if you’re sick of looking at your photos, here’s what you can do: over the next couple of weeks, why don’t you come on a virtual trip with me over to some of the places we (my family and I) should have been going to or have been to at this particular time of the year?
So, let’s start with this week. Last Saturday, we should have flown out of Sydney’s winter chill to the welcoming heat of Nadi, Fiji. We would have dumped our luggage first thing and then frequented the pool all week, relaxing and sipping Piña coladas. (Not really. Soft drink or juice will do.)
We would have maybe gone back and forth to the rooms to cool down (instead of right now rugging up and cranking the heat to tropical temperatures), eaten semi-healthy food at the restaurants or stocked up on some basics so we wouldn’t have to venture too far from the resort.
The last time we were in Fiji was during a South Pacific Cruise we took to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary. (Oh, the days of cruising … will we see them again? Though some may cringe at the “unhygienic” thought of riding on a big vessel of viruses, we truly felt quite well looked-after, safe and sanitised on the cruises we’ve been on. Our children love the programs, the food, the service, the crew … And none of us have come away sick from any of them.) We took this particular cruise as it was due to make two port stops in Fiji: Nadi and Suva, and we wanted to take our three children to Fiji to show them the place where Mum and Dad had their honeymoon. Yes, we also came here right after our wedding day; Fiji is a special place for us. And apparently for my in-laws as well, who also had their honeymoon here forty-five years prior!
During our first stop, we hired a private car and guide(s) who pretty much took us wherever we wanted to go. (I suggest checking out what the cruises have to offer on their list of shore excursions and see if there is a matching tripadvisor (no, I am not paid by any affiliates for mentioning their names or for any clicks or purchases you make) excursion, deal, offer or other tour you can do. Sometimes, the shore excursions don’t really cater to what you would like. And frankly, you don’t have to do any of the shore excursions they offer. We like to think shore excursions as taste tests of different destinations — if we like what we sample, we can come back another time to explore further.
I did my research of things we would be interested in doing, and one of them was getting all splattered in mud. While my husband and two older children were humble enough to cover up their beauty (the youngest was acceptably dubious. I did not include her photo here, but her expression was priceless. She ran away and watched from beside a bush!), I opted for a relaxing massage. I could have fallen asleep.
We then drove around to see the sights that Nadi had to offer. The picture shows the Sleeping Giant. If you look closer or expand the picture, you’ll see the face looking up to the sky, and you may distinguish a chin, mouth, nose … Of course, a bit of imagination helps!
There are many tours you can also book from your hotel. Just ask your concierge. In 2007, we were taken to a lovely orchid garden. We took a Captain Cook dinner cruise from one of the ports. We also did a tour to a smaller island where we participated in traditional Fijian activities and went kayaking. In Nadi, the main town is not too far from the reclaimed resort cluster called Denarau Island, so going around is not too hard.
Meanwhile,here’s moi, posing with one of my daughters, feeling totally relaxed in front of one of the resorts on Denarau, where you can walk around or take the shuttles, hop-and-shop between resorts, eat at different restaurants and/or play golf.
The other stop, Suva, had us boating up and down a river to a waterfall, a traditional Fijian lunch (with a side of kava), and the girls getting their hair done! Again, this was a tour we booked privately via recommendations we saw on tripadvisor or something similar, but the cruise has a similar shore excursion. There are pros and cons with both. If you book via the cruise, it is a shorter tour, but you are covered by the cruise should anything go wrong (like the bus breaking down, etc). If you book on your own, well … you’re on your own. The cruise ship won’t wait for you if your bus breaks down and you shoulder the cost of catching up with the ship at the next port! On the other hand, the private excursion is more custom, may cost less and mean more value for money! Your choice, your risk.
Ah, well there now. I hope you enjoyed this little Fijian escapade with me. We would have been flying back home this coming Sunday and gearing up for the beginning of Term 3 (Semester 2) of the school year. As it turned out, the school break of three weeks was cut down to two weeks as the school took an extra week off last Easter to prepare for online learning. (So, the kids were already back in school this week; just as well it got cancelled, hey?)
Anyway, back to rugging up and the realities of Friday home-iso. Stay home. Stay well. Reminisce with me, instead. At times when I feel a bit down like this, I am reminded that my hope is in the Lord, and He is ultimately still in control.