??Journey or destination??

Exploring life experiences at home and beyond – Destination Happiness


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Today is Thursday but Friday at home

Today is Thursday in Waikiki however it is Friday where I live.

Today, is an important milestone in my life. It’s far from the most important, but a milestone of importance nevertheless.

Today I complete my life as a worker. Close of business, at 3:20pm in NSW, sees me officially retired. For 34 years I have been employed permanently as a teacher in the public school system. From that 34 years I must subtract 5 years as a stay at home mum and 2 terms leave without pay to travel. I’ve used all of my LSL also… to travel, be a HSC mum twice and this year to be a wedding planner, grandmother and myself, no longer answering to bells 🔔.

I filled out ‘separation papers’ to retire. Yes, that’s what they are called and, from the amount of love, sweat and tears I put into my job, it was like a marriage.

I have many fond (and some not so fond) memories of my time and I was a lucky one because I really enjoyed what I did. It was an honour to be part of so many children’s lives as they journeyed along life’s path, hopefully to a place where they love learning. Learning is not something that happens in a room. The room teaches how to use tools to build their learning with. It was an honour to be entrusted by so many parents with their most precious cargo. I was a part of their joy and hardships.

Work is a lot more than just making money. It was an opportunity to make friendships with fellow staff members and I cherish those who are still part of my friendship circle.

So, at 3:20pm Sydney time, 25th October, I will raise a toast to the door that closes. I’m sure I will have a small tear cause that’s me. But it will definitely be a happy tear for I already see that next door creaking open ( I’ve been having a sneaky look all this year 😂)and behind it I can see so many new things and most importantly I see time. Watch out family and friends 🥳😍.


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Relaxation is the name of the game

I only really and truly fully relax on my own. Give me a sun lounger, a pool and a sea view, and I’m happy.

Miranda Hart

This is how I spent my day-well a lot of it. I had those things , plus my ukulele and a lot of YouTube videos.

Enjoyed the pool alone today as Brian returned to Pearl Harbor to see what he missed out on yesterday-Arizona Memorial and a few of the free exhibits. I saw it all yesterday as I didn’t do all the things in as great a depth as he did.

Eavesdropping as I like to do I heard lots of people excited to see the same people they see here every year. They came from all across the USA. With a hat on and sunnies I managed to remain the unfriendly person I can be and kept to myself.

They were discussing what they had been going for the past year and where they had been in Waikiki since they arrived. Was intrigued by one lady who said she hates the beach so never goes there but just stays in the pool. But they were definitely leaving cold weather behind so I suppose that’s the attraction of Waikiki. One pair had left Dakota in snow. I can only imagine that difference in departure and arrival. How difficult that must be when choosing what to wear in the plane. And here’s me worried cause I haven’t packed a cardigan for my train ride home from the airport on Saturday.

After turning my body a rich red I returned to the air conditioned comfort of my hotel room.

The city sprawls way past the Waikiki high rise skyline. The mountains are magnificent and their folds and greenery spectacular.

With the curtains drawn back I watched the view of the mountains as I set up you tube and played ( struggled to press strings ) along on my ukulele. I think I can now play ‘C Major’ and Row, Row, Row your boat. Sounds impressive to those that aren’t musical but the song needs one note only and that note needs only one finger. Starting slowly haha.

Tried G Major chord next. Let’s say my fingers don’t seem to be agile nor long enough to meet the right string holds. But the video did say it takes a lot of practise. I’m trusting that ( and secretly hoping my fingers grow longer). When I can master it I will be able to play “Singing in the Rain”, which brings back memories ( funny of course!!) of a school dance festival 😂😂

Tonight found us back at our favourite dessert place…The Cheesecake Factory. We have eaten at a different place for mains every night.

Although I know it’s a lot of cream, I secretly was a little disappointed that the salted caramel cheesecake was decorated in thick caramel not extra cream. That was until I tasted the caramel.

If you haven’t been, take a look at the menu of cheesecakes here. Which would be at the top of your list?


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Somewhere over the rainbow

If everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a better place.

Jake Shimabukuro

My bucket list for Hawaii consisted of just a few things. In no order of importance…

1. Watch a hula show

2. Eat shrimp from a truck on

the North Shore of Oahu

3. Buy a ukulele and play it on

the beach

4. Eat cheesecake at the

Cheesecake Factory

With just three days left I took a look to see what was left in need of ticks.

Number 2 was ticked off on our Island road trip.

Number 4 – well I’m working my way through that that menu 🙂

Tonight we watched the hula show in Kuhio Beach, not far from Duke Paoa Kahanamoku’s Statue. That meant number 1 was done too.

Chief blowing the conch shell

Hula dancing

This left only number 3… and guess what?? As we strolled down the street after the hula show, in search of dinner, we found a ukulele store. There are others I have seen but knowing my commitment to new hobbies I didn’t want to outlay hundreds of dollars to add the ukulele to the pile of other unloved instruments and gadgets at home.

This one is ‘Designed in Hawaii – but assembled in China.

Couldn’t eat dinner fast enough to get back to the hotel to strum my ukulele. I have been on YouTube learning ‘ROW ROW ROW YOUR BOAT’. Might be a while until SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW is in my répertoire.

Found this little poem on a site of ukulele poems.

I hope I don’t stay this little girl!


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Wise words by George and Minnie …or O’ahu road trip

“Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?”

George Carlin

Take the back roads instead of the highways.

Minnie Pearl

Hired a Ford Mustang convertible. We received an ‘upgrade’ to a GT and I promise I didn’t mention it was our anniversary. By the impressive toned voice , the wink and a huge smile I guessed this upgrade to a car fanatic was up there with a large suite, champagne and late checkout to me. Everyone oohed and ahhhed that we got the red car. Me, I was just glad it wasn’t green ( family superstition dictates green cars as unlucky). I suspect though there was some green hidden under that red.

First we had to work out how to move the seats. Then we could slink in. The people before us dure were short! Then we had to start the car- no keyhole and do our first ‘words’ escapes our mouths. I felt smug that I worked that step out 😂

Then we had to find out how to turn the hazard lights off – this car had so many switches. Finally we were off. Now I’m the first one to admit I am Mrs Bucket ( tv show character worth a google if you don’t know her) but I made her look calm as I pointed out ( screamed and gestured wildly ) every pedestrian, red light, car slowing and that was just yo get onto the Main Street if Waikiki. Little did I know what else my day would hold .

Beautiful mountains

Starving our first stop was to be a well known bakery. Thing is though ‘well known’ on a Sunday means a line snaking well out the food and around the corner- so we drove on. I tried to ignore my hunger pangs. Realising we were a little off course for where we were heading (Dole Plantation) I turned in the sat nav and punched it in as our destination.

Now the car starts talking to us but not the sat nav only. Seems the tyre lady has a few words too, to advise the front right tyre was a little low in pressure. Easy fix one thinks. 3 gas stations later and not an air thing working, I spy Maccas and so Maccas was our breakfast stop. Getting back in the car the tyre lady was no longer telling us about the pressure. Either it fixed itself or she got tired of banging he’d head against a brick wall.

Beautiful scenery as we headed off

Off we head to the Dole Plantation- well almost. Ok , so I don’t know s lot of O’ahu roads but I did know the road we were being taken on definitely wasn’t our road. But , patient ( at the moment) and trusting Brian puts his faith in that sat nav . We drove along a speedy road in very wet conditions – not convertible top off weather- through tunnels, past an accident and then turned onto the road that was supposedly to lead to our destination – then we ARRIVED.

Look at the photo- I’ll let you decide if that is Dole Plantation.

By now you realise we weren’t where we wanted to be. It was in fact Kapaa Quarry. Giving the sat nav one more chance we keyed in Lanikai and this time we had success. The crowds were heavy and parking non existant so we did a slow crawl along the road to view the scenery, then headed off in search of shrimp trucks.

We stopped at Giovanni’s which also housed fruit and markets on the land. We ate garlic then lemon shrimp. Those garlics were my favourite. Of course we finished lunch with fresh pineapple. It is so sweet here and doesn’t ulcerated my mouth like the ones at home do.

The rain had passed so we decided to open the car top. With no instruction booklet I resorted to google the method and first we were driving while being told it wasn’t secured. A short stop and all was good. Wind blew my hair across my face whipping it. Brian enjoyed that thx car went VROOOOM really loudly – I just kept thinking of what my hair and make up would look like when we stopped.

Made it to Turtle beach but it was really crowded so took our luck on going to Laniakea Beach with the hope of seeing turtles. After a few laps we managed a parking spot right opposite the beach , YESSSSS! No big walk!! We were rewarded with few turtles doing their thing in the waves. Saw some surfers on waves but the waves weren’t yet big late autumn ones.

Time to head to Dole Plantation as it as 3:15 pm and I wanted a train ride and a Dole whip.

We queued 20 minutes for our train ride and it was educational 🙂

Then we gobbled down our Dole whip before heading home.

This is where things got crazy – least they did for me.

We had to take the freeway home! The speed listed is 55mph ( about 90kph ) but trust me , no one does that, not even the slow vehicles.

The car top was down, Brian was driving like the other maniacs as we weaved in and out of lanes ( sometimes 5 lanes near exits) with the sat nav supposedly telling us directions. I kept thinking we had no head protection without a car roof. No longer was I being Mrs Bucket. I was in too much fear to speak. My thoughts were wanting to call the kids to tell them I loved them, but I was in too much fear to reach for my bag. This was the longest 50 minutes of my life. Luckily the wind blew my hair over my eyes a lot!

When we got back to Waikiki we drive round and round in circles trying to get to the car drop off garage. Sat nav was a bit confused from the freeway stress I think. With 14 minutes to spare we parked the car. The guy took the keys and asked how wonderful our day must have been in this car. Hair looking like a mad man, my mouth stuck open in the agog position I had no words to reply but I heard Brian being all enthusiastic.

Except for the last 50 minutes it was an excellent day. I know now for sure I’m not a sports car girl .


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How we did Diamond Head… or ‘More than one way to skin a cat.’

Diamond Head is a volcanic tuff cone on the Hawaiian island of Oʻahu and known to Hawaiians as Lēʻahi. It was once a military base.

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Diamond Head is a volcanic tuff cone on the Hawaiian island of Oʻahu and known to Hawaiians as Lēʻahi. It was once a military base.

Diamond Head is approximately 300,000 years old and dormant for the last 150,000 years.

The carpark fills quickly so they have a ‘waiting line’. Attendants locate spots for the drivers, rather than drivers randomly driving around. This would be a good idea at shopping centres during Christmas rush – just saying 🥳

The climb is a very long one. There are two stairs, one has 99 steps and a second one has 76 steps.

Brian trudge off on the path ready to tackle the beast. He did the easy ( using the term very loosely) way first but doubled back to use the more difficult staircase. Yes he is a terribly odd man. 😂

Me, I wanted to tackle the beast in my own way. People see the mountain and because it’s there decide to walk it.

I saw the Dole pineapple van and that was my unique way to conquer Diamond Head – with a spoon , while sitting on a well shaded bench.

Not sure why there wasn’t a t-shirt for having conquered the large mountain of Dole Pineapple Whip. Perhaps because they just don’t expect anyone to achieve this 🙂

Funnily enough, for not stepping out of the crater I paid 2 entry fees. The first was to checkout the visitor’s.centre. The second one was to return with trolley travel tickets.

I kindly shared my Dole whip with Brian when he returned. I addicted him. That’s how addicts work!

From Diamond Head we caught another trolley line …this time it was red. We saw cultural stops such as museums, botanical gardens and cemeteries.

We rewarded our hard afternoon of sitting with a pizza dinner. The service we find is fast and that ‘check’ comes as the last crumb is entering your mouth.

On that note, must tell you about the Denny’s restaurant we visited last night. We went there because in our dating years we frequented this diner chain in Parramatta. Through rosy eyes of love we devoured their sandwiches, shakes and sundaes.

There is one right up the street here in Waikiki so we thought what a reminisce. However we learned that looking back isn’t always a good thing.

We sat down and were handed a menu. The waiter literally handed it , took two steps away and spun on his heels and returned to ask if we were ready to order. Did he know we were regulars from long ago and thought we knew the menu off by heart?I hadn’t even opened my bag to find my glasses. I asked for a little more time . Sure that was no problem. This time he walked away probably 5 steps only to spin back to ask again. The restaurant was almost empty so it wasn’t they were trying to turnover customers. I looked around to see if I was on a hidden camera show. After we DID order on his next return the meals were also bought out fast. The plate was put down and again the routine of two steps away and then return dance occurred to see if we were enjoying our meals – which to any observer could be seen to be untouched. By now we just smirked rather than reply.

Brian ate his quickly and was finished but I was a little slower. At this point he asked if we wanted the check. I asked if it would be ok if I finished my (only half eaten so far ) meal first. He shrugged as if this was an odd request 😀

We pushed the issue to have dessert. The whole ‘dance’ routine of the waiter occurred for dessert. Guess he couldn’t be faulted on attentiveness 🙂 Maybe he just wanted the tip so he could have enough money to bid on an eBay product that was nearing its end…or he needed it fast for some other reason 😱


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How we do Oahu, Hawaii

  1. Using our preferred travel method we started the trip with a night at Rydges Sydney Airport. Had the plane spotter room ( of course!) . Honestly I would be happy if this were my holiday. We visited the club 9 bar for a drink. Here we could not only watch the planes but also smell the aviation fuel when people opened the doors to the outside seating.

(Almost a full moon)

This time we were able to enjoy the late checkout of 1pm. Usually we are out of the room by 5 am but this time it was an evening flight. Enjoyed breakfast then was back at the window watching planes.

Was so excited when I saw our plane land from its Phuket trip. Flying Jetstar I was a little concerned as I’d seen them cancel the Honolulu flight a lot in recent times. Credit they had a plane out of action ( yes I know plane nerd stuff haha).

We arrived at the airport check in knowing we had a wait for our check in time. While waiting, a woman sitting next to us gloated about her ( and husband’s) upgrade to business class on our flight and how she had responded to the email offer in less than 3 minutes. You can imagine my less than enthused face haha.

While sitting waiting for check in and, then standing in line, I had 3 people ask me if I was waiting to check in for Bali ( they were checking where they needed to be). I reassessed my appearance as I didn’t think I looked like a Bali holiday person. Must have been the fact I hadn’t straightened my hair ???? Surely it wasn’t my neat, conservative, black and white spotted skirt, black t shirt, Pandora jewellery, jewelled sandals look???

It was announced we couldn’t check in until we had USA security check us, as a flight to Honolulu is a flight to USA ( really???Nooo???). The ‘check’ was of our passports , copy of ESTA ( sent a lot into a panic mode looking for emails of confirmation) and evidence of first night accomodation ( another panic for some). Not for us. We had ‘The Folder’… complète with our daily planned holiday schedule though the guy declined reading it – not sure why. Then we joined the Jetstar check in with a little silver sticker in our passports.

However it seems not everyone had lined up in the ‘security check’ line first. At the next counter to us, big stickbeaky ears heard the person hadn’t yet received confirmation of their ESTA. Felt sorry for her as Jetstar tried to locate it on their system but couldn’t. Last I heard they were changing her flight to the next day in hope the approval was completed by then. Ours took around 48 hours to be approved when we applied.

This time it was Brian who had the body scan. No ‘hot butt’ for me this time , but of course I did get checked for explosives.

I was impressed with our Jetstar flight. I hadn’t set the bar high but they exceeded it. Boarding was easy and fast. We took off on time.

The flight was on a Dreamliner. If inclined you can read about it here. https://www.jetstar.com/au/en/dreamliner

It really did leave your skin feeling hydrated, the seats were quite roomy in economy ( would be much better in business class lol) and I guess this all helped me in my ability to stay awake so long once we landed.

The staff were great. The only annoying part was a cabin crew member – let’s call him Adam for arguments sake. In the row in front of us were a couple. She ( yes I always eavesdrop lol) was a QANTAS cabin crew member and had been for 30 years. Well, Adam was bowing and scraping , apologising that they could only seat them in that row as they were unable to change the seating of the exit row passengers. Fancy that! Passengers weren’t prepared to give up their $59 extra cost seat so a staff member paying probably a 10% fee could have the comfort .

In a very loud voice ( makes eavesdropping easy) he told them he would compensate them with blankets ( that they could reuse next flight if they aren’t treated right) champagne , vodka (extra strong) free dinner and breakfast. Each time he brought these things he gushed asking if the flight experience was going ok. Adam , my flight experience was not going ok seeing what theses people received that I didn’t. Poor old Adam wasn’t even assigned to this section of the plane ‘upfront seating’ but the back of the plane so he was looking a little stressed at times doing the race between cabin spaces. I think Adam might be looking to upgrade to QANTAS cause he promised at the end of the flight with much handshaking ‘to be in touch’ now he has their ‘deets’. Or was the handshaking of another secret style. I have no idea but I hope it goes well whatever it is, for his effort.

Arrived at Honolulu 7 minutes early … to s vision of a flight of about 25 steps up ‘Arrivals’. The escalator was broken 😱😱. Caught the wiki wiki bus to immigration – no way was I walking!

After a discussion of my name as apparently the person before me was also Kerry Anne… a feigned giggle that yes it was a popular name in Australia ( is it???) … a struggle with the fingerprint machine ( it’s digital by the way, I had been thinking how annoying it will be to have ink on my hands)… collecting my luggage from the baggage carousel I was in the land of Trump. ALOHA 🌴 🏊‍♀️ 🏝 🇺🇸


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Sunset Dinner and Show Cruise – Robinson Crusoe Island, Fiji

After a lazy day poolside, following a huge ( as always) buffet breakfast, we dressed up for a 4:15pm pick up for a sunset dinner cruise and show. The show was to be held on a small nearby island – obviously Robinson Crusoe Island.


The brochure promised us –
• 30 minute Jungle Cruise to the island

• Welcome Kava Ceremony

• Fijian “Lovo” (earth oven) Buffet

• Fire Walking Demonstration

• South Pacific Performance featuring Fire & Knife dancers

• Island bonfire and string band serenaders

and I must say it delivered!!

The bus arrived on time and after about a 45 minute bus trip we arrived at the Robinson Crusoe Island Ferry Jetty , with a few other mini buses and a coach.


We swapped our ticket vouchers for boarding passes and watched the first boat start its trip down the river. Our boat filled quickly. We were assured there was no deadly wildlife in the river, given instructions on the use of life jackets, then with a loud ‘BULA’ off we sped.


Our trip took us through the mangrove lined Tuva River. At the mouth of the river the sunset painted a glorious picture of orange glow. Small boats,the other ferry and palm trees cast silhouettes against the strong glow.



Docked on the island we were met by a serenade and we were led to the meeting area.


First we were told the story of chiefs and kava ceremonies. We watched a ceremony then all were invited to partake in Kava.

A bonfire on the beach followed. Songs were sung as hungry tummies awaited the final cooking stage of the Lovo. We soon watched the foods removed from their rock under earth oven.While the rocks were still sizzle hot we witnessed some Fijians walk on them. This must take a lot of mind psyching.


Dinner was served- a delicious menu of tender beef, chicken and an assortment of vegetables. With full plates on our tables ( and soon very full tummies) the performers serenaded us- melodic and peaceful.

The end of dinner signalled the start of the show- I was captivated from the beginning to the end. We watched as women and men performed traditional dances with a variety of costume changes. The knife dance was impressive but the fire twirling was what thrilled me the most- I have long been intrigued by watching the flicker of its dance. The finale is on the beach and without ruining it ,let’s say it was totally riveting and a spectacular visual.


To the strains of Isa Lei – The Fijian Farewell Song, our dinner show ended and we headed back to our buses via another trip in the island ferry.

It was a little unnerving wondering how the trip would be, aware we had seen no navigational poles but had seen tree stumps exposed in the rivers while on the daylight leg. The light turned out to be from someone sitting up on the roof with a large torchlight beam. A little concerning at first, but YOLO. The trip with the sparkling star sky canvas and the roaming floodlight beam added to the adventure.

Would thoroughly recommend this to Fijian visitors. It was an amazing evening! Money well spent 😀


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A Lazy Time in Paradise

We have awoken to cloudy skies for the last two days ( which cleared mid morning), but today it was a blue sky peering down on us.

On Tuesday we lazed around the ‘adults only’ pool. Service was always with a smile and they provide a water rehydration counter, and a waiter brought around cold slices of watermelon. It took just one moment for me to become accustomed to this lifestyle.

Brian drank 3 cups of kava at the torchlighting ceremony in the evening. His speech was a little slurred for a minute or three due to his numb tongue.

Yesterday we spent the day on the beach. I bravely ventured in, after a lot of psyching up in my mind. I’d read the boards telling us to be sea animal wary. I’d read the post about lion fish, crown of thorns , stonefish and sea snakes. This water, although an aqua beckoning delight to the eyes, was also a treacherous zone ( well that’s how I interpreted it).
I was armed for combat as best I could be – KMart edition thick ( and when I say thick I mean around 4cms) sand shoes. They were in stunning white. I must admit , once they were wet they were a heavy drag on the calf muscles. On entering the water a swarm of crazy fish began circling me ( or it could have just been alarge school of fish that happened to be where I was😂). Suffice to say, I wasn’t a water baby for very long.

We also drank fresh juices to rehydrate. 
Today Brian has headed off to enjoy a raft ride, waterfall and Fijian village. The less adventurous one of us ( me) is poolside, again enjoying the adult only pool.  Resort living is my holiday choice. Though, on Saturday I have an escape from the resort planned for the evening.

 


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Departure – with a twist

Was woken at 1:30 am Monday morning,  by a text from Jetstar advising our flight would be delayed in the morning. Departure time moved from 8:55am to 10:30am. This meant the wake up alarm could be moved forward from 5 am to 6:30. Luxury 🙂 I woke up super early and enjoyed the extra time watching the airport come alive against the majestic sunrise hues.


Arrived for an easy check in,  but as per usual our check in gate was J !!! Handed over the bags and proceeded to border control and security. Had all my lipsticks, mascaras, eyeliners and moisturisers in my little liquids plastic bag. Popped my jacket onto a tray, removed all my ventolin canisters into the tray, placed my liquids bag in the tray then needed another tray for my handbag then sent them in their way to be xrayed. Of course, I was the one chosen for the body scan.

On exiting the scan I was asked to move to the left to observe my picture and note the images. The images indicated coloured spots and I had to suggest anything that might be the reason for this. I sheepishly suggested my underwire bra and cheap necklace along with the metal zip in my dress (yes all poor choices for travel wear haha) . I was then advised I must submit to a pat down , so stood patiently while I was patted. Passing that test I then was ( as always) chosen for the explosives wand check. Passed that, and was free to proceed to a cafe for breakfast. Yes …all that with no coffee!!!

At check in, although the departure board indicated out flight was leaving from gate 26A , we were told it was in fact gate 55. Deciding to eat closer to the gate we headed that way assured by the signs it was just a 7 minute walk – I do so love walks. Obviously they use a slow walker to gauge the distance and we were ordering at a cafe in less than 5 minutes including a window browse of shops – Tiffany for me, duty free liquor for Brian.

After breakfast we headed for gate 55. I wasn’t confident that this would be our gate as the departure board still indicated 26A. Arriving at the gate I decided to use my plane geek skills to establish which plane we were waiting on to be our plane. Worked that out, with the help of flight aware and flightradar, establishing it had landed at a gate B1. Not much help. As I stressed, I heard an announcement that …sure enough…we were leaving from gate 26A ( yes double 13). The board also indicated the walk time was 12 minutes ….arghhhh… But I had 20 mins and of course it was significantly less.

Gate 26A turned out to be a bit Harry Potterish. There was almost the brick wall to push through – well an escalator. This time checked with a Sydney Airport Assistant who told me her information didn’t indicate this was the gate for my flight, but she did a walkie talkie check and found it was our gate. The gate board only indicated Seoul, ports in New Zealand , Papua New Guinea and Norfolk Island. Eventually we were allowed down the escalator to the boarding area. Here we proceeded to boarding walking straight through onto a bus!!!! that took us to the plane. But as expected we had to wait on the bus while some late arrivals were paged. Finally I guess they arrived because the bus took us out to the plane. Rydges was visible from the plane – we had in fact travelled a full circle and not left Sydney.


In boarding we were advised to keep our seat belts off due to refuelling. Then we were told to buckle up for our flight – bitter wasn’t to be yet. Seems now there was inclement weather in our path so a new route needed to be approved before we could depart. Turns out this new route required more fuels , so it was belts off again. The pilot then muttered something about it being a much heavier jet now but the fuel was adequate for the trip ( that’s got to be a positive!!)
Finally we lifted off two and a half hours late- much to the delight of the child who had been kicking my seat for hour and a half on the tarmac ,and probably to the man in front who immediately reclined his seat on reaching out ascent height.

Enjoyed some cheese and crackers and soon we arrived in Nadi.


We were thrilled our transport was waiting for us and after an hours drive at sunset we arrived st Shangri La Fiji Resort. Starving we headed to the first restaurant we saw and ate a hearty dinner.


We will explore tomorrow in daylight .


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Cinderella – a modern day tale – a Zoom to Broome  

Once upon a time, Cinderella was transformed to a princess for a weekend, and flown to Broome. Her fairy godmother QANTAS cast the spell after viewing Cinderella’s competition entry video. You see, in this story, it wasn’t a prince looking for a princess but QANTAS sharing the celebration  of their 30 years of Frequent Flyers program with ordinary folk , also celebrating a special milestone in their lives. The competition involved either 25 words or less, explaining the milestone ( but as those that know this Cinderella know, this wouldn’t even see me finishing my introduction ) or a 30 second video. With a picture saying a thousand words, Cinderella saw this as her best chance. Her milestone was 30 years of marriage.

Proud of her effort she waited anxiously for the day the winners were to be announced. The day came and went and Cinderella thought the fairy godmother hadn’t chosen to be hers. But, just a day or two later, a phone call informed her she was in fact going to the ball….oops Broome. With a loud “Whacko the derrio” in the ear of the poor girl on the other end of the phone she zoomed on cloud nine before deciding just who her  lucky 3 guests were to be.  She took her own prince, and to accompany them were to be her son and daughter in law.

But fairy tales are narratives, and as such need a complication. This came in the shape of a broken ankle for her son. Surgery to place two pins and a metal plate ,  the wearing of a  moon boot and nil weight-bearing  provided  the complication. Seeking solutions she was met continually at brick walls as she searched her family for who to take now.  Her daughter and life-partner couldn’t make it logistically due to distance. Two sisters – maybe- but again one was distance challenged. Two  sets of ‘inlaws’ arghhhh….but then, one hadn’t been to Broome. And so the complication was solved. 

She started her magical adventure at Sydney Domestic Airport. After check in ( yes she needed a bag for all the clothes and accessories she would need for her 34 hour adventure) she headed off to the first ‘ballroom’ aka QANTAS lounge.  Entering the ( normally for her) forbidden doors she glided up the escalator with a grin rivalling the Cheshire Cat!! She wallowed in the fun, made herself a toastie and lined up for a barista coffee. 

Then, the flight board announced time to move to the next ‘ballroom’. Cinderella flew in the luxury of a private QANTAS flight on a 737-800. She sipped on cocktails and wine as a princess should. She ate foods that a princess should. The staff was so magical and ensured she was treated like a princess should be! On arrival in Broome a fairy godmother ( aka flight attendant) went the extra kilometre to allow Cinderella to sit in the business class seat and the flight captain let her peek in the cockpit. 


Cinderella’s bucket list already had so many ticks. Could it get any better?? Well it is a fairytale so we know anything can and does happen. Whisked away on a charter bus, she arrived at the resort to be entertained by a champagne reception. Even Mother Nature played her part with temperature ( 30C – excellent winter’s day !!)  and the bluest of clear sky. 


Entering her room at Kinberley Sands Resort, Cinderella noticed two bags of goodies.  Each contained a beautifully soft, large round beach towel, QANTAS bag tag ……and wait for it…QANTAS pyjamas- something Cinderella had only ever dreamed of, being an economy flight traveller. The room was beautiful and overlooked an azure pool, which at night was lit to a beautiful deep sea blue. 

A splash in the pool and then it was time to prepare for the dinner to be held at Cable Beach. A white dress affair, Cinderella managed to borrow suitable attire from a friend. It’s quite hard to find white summer clothing in the middle of a freezing winter. 

The sunset at Cable Beach deserves a photo. The hues change and colours deepen as the sun slinks to hide behind the ocean. As an east coast girl, sunset over the ocean thrilled Cinderella. Silhouetted against the sunset, a camel train made its way over the sand. A smoking ceremony signalled the beginning of the evening feast. And that it was, a feast for all senses!! Dinner was a night of sparkling pearl white, with a delicious menu to devour, washed down with quality wines, while listening to a melodic duet. Cinderell ate and drank like a princess should and had many laughs and interesting conversations. 

Next morning, saw Cinderella partake in a sumptuous breakfast before heading to Willie Creek Pearl farm. Here she held pearls that she could only have dreamt of ( one worth approximately $8000),  and enjoyed learning about the pearling industry, before taking a short cruise on the crystal blue waters to see the pearl farm. 

Regretfully now  for Cinderella, the hands of the clock seem to speed up. Before she knew it, she had boarded the flight home and was seeing the familiar sight of the marvellous harbour that is Sydney.  Her fairy godmothers and godfathers, in the form of QANTAS  staff, waved her a fond farewell . Cinderella doubted they could ever know the impact their actions had made on her. She did tell them, but knew they deserved more. 
On behalf of Cinderella I want to thank QANTAS for running this competition . I’ve often been a naysayer thinking these types of competitions weren’t won by real people but now I know different.  I encourage you, if you see a competition that has a prize you want, enter. You have nothing to lose and who knows, you too might be another Cinderella.

The glass slipper of memories will live forever in this Cinderella’s mind.
And someone missed us while we were gone for the weekend.