August 31, 2006
We left the Bay area from Pleasant Hill BART, for the beginning of our honeymoon. We took BART to SFO. The flight was at 6:40 pm to LAX. American Airlines and the flight was fine. We arrived in LA with a 3-hour layover. The next flight was on Air Pacific from LAX to Nadi Fiji. SFO was a really nice airport compared to LAX. As we were waiting to be called for boarding, we saw a bride still in her dress and veil board our plane. This was a long flight, 10 hours and 25 minutes. We sat in an aisle and middle seat. Flight was ok. Both of us had a hard time sleeping. The plane got hot then would finally cool down, then hot again. Water started dripping on me from the cooling system. Finally, at nearly 6 a.m. Fiji time, we arrived. (Fiji is 5 hours behind CA but a day ahead) It is now Sept 2nd. Due to crossing the International Date Line, we missed Sept. 1st entirely. The gal with the travel company met us at the airport and got us checked in to our (Fiji) domestic flight to Taveuni. That flight was supposed to be at 8 a.m. It got split up from one flight to two, and eventually at 9 or so we were on a flight. This was a tiny plane with 2 propellers; there were 15 people on it. What an amazing view. It was 1 ½ hour flight. We landed on a gravel runway, at the smallest airport I have ever seen. This was one building, well more like our carport at home. We are not there yet; we still have another part of the adventure to go.
Next, a gentleman with Matangi Resort picked up us and drove us by mini-van to the next part of our trip. It took about 20-30 minutes to get there. It was a beautiful, scenic ride. This was mostly a dirt road, through small villages with some homes that were “shacks”. Women were in the small streams doing their laundry. Very small villages. This is all on an island that is lush, green and beautiful, just amazing to see. We arrive at this area with sand and some local people and children. It’s just a small spot of beach with some fishing like boats. Next we get to roll up our pants, wade through water (ocean) and get on the boat. Just a basic boat with Shannon and I and the boat driver and some boxes with fresh produce. The boat is taking us to Matangi Resort. I cannot put into words how beautiful Fiji is so far. The boat ride was about 30 minutes. We arrive at the resort and again, wade through the ocean to get to shore, just a few steps. A gal then greets us with cold drinks in coconut shells. Yum. We get seated in a seating area, in a lounging “Bure” and we pick out lunch and dinner for the day and they take us to our Bure, Bure #6. It is about 11 am now. Wow!!! That is about all we have been able to say since landing in Taveuni. This is just beyond words. Our Bure is a little cottage. This is what we traveled 25 hours plus for, and it’s amazing. The resort has 14 Bures. They are all different floor plans some are a tree house. We have picked the right spot for a memorable honeymoon.
You know its time for lunch when you hear the drums. Lunch was fabulous, sesame beef & rice is what I had. Shannon had Tuna and mushroom pasta it was wonderful. We are so tired at this point. This is a great day to lie around in the sun, play in the water and relax, so we did. Later in the afternoon, from 4-5, we were told it was afternoon tea and there were fresh cookies. We sat and watched the water and a huge cargo ship came through. This was a strange sight. Apparently it will be dark about 6:30 and it gets really dark. We had a really nice dinner, once again, called to dinner with the drums. I ordered shrimp and they were served whole and I didn’t do too well with that. That night, we both slept really well. There are no TV’s, telephones, computers or anything; just the sound of the ocean and it was very peaceful. We hear and see the ocean and hear roosters all day long. It rained all night the first night.
That morning we woke up to the rain; it was a beautiful sight and scent to wake up to. The rain is so beautiful and amazing. It comes down really hard, stops and starts again, it did this all morning. The English couple and others we did not meet, left that morning. Breakfast was nice. Shannon is really happy.
We are going to go snorkeling today and not sure what else. Liz gave us “just married” flip flops, so it puts “just” on the right foot and ”married” with the left foot, in the sand. We have been wearing these all over the resort, but most the couples are honeymooners, so nobody will know who did it.
We eventually made it snorkeling. The clouds cleared up and you never would know it had rained. Shannon loved the snorkeling. He was out in the water for a long time. The water is crystal clear. We also saw “flying fish” behind the boat that took us snorkeling. We had a nice evening socializing. There is a newlywed couple from Central Cal, in the navy. A new couple arrived earlier, from Oregon; they were on our flights from SFO to Nadi.
Today we are going on our “private picnic”. The resort takes our picnic order and pack everything- fruit, sandwiches, salad, cookies, coffee/tea, hot water thermos, juice, water, tablecloth, utensils and all. They take us by small boat to another part of the island. The island is 240 acres and only this resort. There are maybe 6-8 couples here at the most. They drop us off at the other part of the island, horseshoe bay. We have an enclosed (by wire fence) hut with table and chairs. We can snorkel, swim, eat and relax. There are goats over here, probably about 8 on this small stretch of beach, and bats. (The goats are the reason for the enclosed hut) It was beautiful. Shannon snorkeled. I liked it better to try to walk out and snorkel rather then just get out of the boat in the water. Shannon was like a kid in the water and didn’t want to get out. He swam really far snorkeling. Next we came back to the resort and did something I have never done, Shannon took me sailing on a small hobie cat. Wow! Kind of scary but wonderful. This island is paradise.
The island has bats, goats, cows and pig farm. We will go on an island hike to see more.
Today we went on a waterfall hike on Taveuni. We have to take the boat to the original place on the other island and then they drive us in the van to the rain forest park. We had a great lunch and walked up to the waterfall. There were two waterfalls but we were not wearing the correct shoes to cross the river. It had slippery rocks and a rope to use to cross. The rain forest and the views on the hike were beautiful. Shannon jumped from part of the waterfall, he said water was freezing. (picture)
This is another world. The life people live is so different but they are so happy. We went on a village tour today. This is on the other island, Qamae. We saw the school and the homes. We tasted kava (yuck) and it’s a ritual and “sedative” that is mixed with water and you drink it. It makes your tongue numb. This evening just before dinner, I heard an animal making “chattering” noises. I went out to see what it was and it was Jonathan the resorts bat, outside our Bure in the tree. The resort rehabilitated him and he is used to people and social. They said he may sleep in our outside shower but we never heard or saw him.
Today we went on a “bush walk” island hike, which takes us to the top of the island. What a beautiful view. We lost the trail at the beginning, which is easy to due since it’s so overgrown. The “village tour guide” saw us and said we are not on the trail and took us back to the trail. We had to hike up the side of the hill. It was a nice hike once we were on the trail again. There are goats and birds all over. We did notice that most of the plants we see growing naturally here are the same as houseplants at home. When we got back, we went sailing again. This is really beautiful. Shannon looks so comfortable and natural with it.
Our last evening was really nice. The staff has been so friendly. I don’t want to leave. We have to get up and have our luggage ready by 7:30 am and the boat will take us to Taveuni at 8:15.
We left Matangi resort at 8:15 a.m. We took the boat ride to Taveuni, and a small plane to Savu Savu then to Nadi. Our flight to LAX was not until 10 p.m. The resort arranged to have someone meet up at the airport and take us to downtown Nadi. They kept our luggage and we were able to shop and spend the day as we wished and just let them know when we wanted to head back to the airport. The company they were with is called Jack’s. We wandered around Jack’s for souvenirs. We went to curry house for lunch. It was great. We went back to Jack’s and bought some things and about 5pm we decided to head to the airport.
When we got to the airport, I had decided I should check and see if the flight was still on time and when we can check it. I looked on the monitors and it said all Los Angeles flights = CANCELLED. I had to go find Shannon and bring him with me so I would not freak out. We stood in the line for check in, with hundreds of others, for hours. Finally we asked the staff what was going on since nobody had said anything to us and we were very near the front of the line, maybe 30- 40 people in if that. They really could not tell us or answer our questions, as if we were not speaking English to them. Finally around 10 pm they sent us to a motel for the night with guarantee there would be a flight at 10pm the following night, 24 hours later. The hotel was ok.
We went to the Raymond Burrs’ “Garden of the Sleeping Giant” orchid farm. It was beautiful. We spent a few hours there, went back to the motel after that. We then went with another lady that was stranded with us, to downtown Nadi to the temple. It was so colorful and beautiful. We had lunch at a Chinese restaurant that was very good and went back to the hotel. We spent the rest of the day lounging around, reading and had dinner. At 7 pm we were taken back to the airport and we were able to get on the LAX flight. (We got bumped up to business class as we checked in, that was nice) Once we hit LA, we found out Air Pacific never rebooked our connecting flights. (no surprise) We booked a flight home on Southwest and finally made it home, about 24 hours late.
It was such a wonderful trip up until then, so we didn’t let that spoil anything. We had a fabulous and amazing trip.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007