??Journey or destination??

Exploring life experiences at home and beyond – Destination Happiness


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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.


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BIG things impress us

Today we travelled off in the direction of Coffs Harbour via the Waterfall Way from Armidale.

In true style we started the day in a big way with breakfast. The motel promises complimentary continental breakfast but I wasn’t too sure it would make me happy. I was pleasantly surprised as I tucked into cereal, yogurt and toast – with real butter – and the coffee was good too! Definitely fitted in with the BIG theme.

First stop was the big golden guitar. This place will be wall to wall people at the end of the week attending the Tamworth Country Music Festival. Apparently it is the largest one in the Southern Hemisphere. I also learned Tamworth is the home of country and western because in the 1950s, when everyone else was absorbed by rock and roll and the likes of shows like ‘Bandstand’, the folk of Tamworth refused to join in , opting instead to promote country and western music. But for now it was just us wandering this dedicated venue. 

That’s Chad Morgan – a bit of a waxy fellow haha

Took a few photos and were quickly on our way to the BIG view (named by me , not by Tamworth Council- they call it Oxley Lookout).  We enjoyed the silence and view over Tamworth from an elevation of around 600 metres (BIG height ).


Brian didn’t believe me when I said our next item was a BIG chicken at Moonbi but nevertheless he drove . He did question me a few times if it was a big chicken we were really looking for 🙂

Would you believe me ???


At Uralla we saw Thunderbolt’s Rocks-yes they are big but not technically a big icon since they are an actual thing. How disappointing people have felt the need to graffiti them.

Unexpectedly ( like the big blue heeler) we saw the BIG soldier at Uralla. He stood outside a now vacated war museum and according  to my Google research had been moved away – shows how you need to be discerning when using Google haha. Brian declared the museum a BIG disappointment as he would have enjoyed exploring it had it still been open :).


Arriving at Armidale we found the BIG lawn bowl. With a quick photo we were off off to Dorrigo.

It was another technically non big stop but it did serve BIG lime milkshakes in the cafe we chose. We also visited the lolly shop to satisfy Brian’s BIG sweettooth.


The trip through Dorrigo was magical. The temperature dropped to 20C and mist coated the green mountains. The road was incredibly windy in parts so I wasn’t the best of passengers with my constant reference to the need to be slow.

This photo doesn’t go the scenery justice.

Arriving in Bellingen we took time to wander and enjoy the menu boards of cafes with our eyes. We both were intrigued by the Satay Tofu pie with vegetables. Bypassing these cafes we spent  our money instead at the Sweet Bellingen and you can read about how amazing it is here.

With full bags we finished our drive to Coffs Harbour.

Dinner was fish and chips watching BIG waves.


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Journey of All Things Big

This week we are a having an adventure road trip within NSW. Our road trip will take us on a loop journey from home. We will travel out through Newcastle , Hunter Valley, Singleton, Muswellbrook, Tamworth, Armidale, across to Coffs Harbour and back down via Port Macquarie before heading home. I have named this our ‘Journey of All things BIG’. I have been researching the big icons in this region , so it will be big icons, big mileage , big bellies from eating and big credit card bill at the end (more than likely 😳 )

Luckily this time we didn’t need to organise a house sitter for the pets as our daughter and her partner are home for the holidays – perfect timing!!

As usual we started off around an hour later than I planned . We aren’t good on early starts. Farewelling all we drove off but not before informing Brian ( in kind tones of course) we had no time on our agenda for a breakfast locally. Rain made our start less than desirable. 

Our first BIG thing was a pair of ugg boots at Thornton ( not far from Newcastle).

After taking photos we ventured into the museum. It was interesting learning about sheep and the ugg boot factory but shearing a sheep had to be the best part for sure 😎

Brian found some replacement wool sock/ slippers to replace some he had that were once destroyed ( I think by a young puppy). 

Hitting the road we drove to Kurri Kurri- with BIG tummy rumbles as it was now around 11:30am and no food had passed our lips 👄 

Beautiful murals line the streets on the walls of many buildings. We drove around looking at them then located the BIG kookaburra. It sits in a park watching over the magpies, white doves and pigeons that also frequented the park seemingly looking for food. 

We stopped the rumbles of tummies with a pie each from the local bakery. Brian also had a banana muffin. 


Next was the BIG bottle near the Hunter Valley Gardens ( which in themselves are another big thing). But, before we arrived there we spied the Hunter Valley Chocolate and fudge store. Heavily laden with goodies we headed off in the direction of the bottle. We’ve seen the bottle frequently on trips to the gardens so Brian drove a loop around the roundabout while I took a quick photo from my window. 

The BIG sundial at Singleton was next on our agenda. The trip was beginning to feel like s scavenger hunt as I mentally ticked off each BIG thing. Used the sundial to tell the time using the chart provided alongside,and again off we went. 

The next BIG thing I wasn’t too sure I’d get lucky with. It was a blue heeler dog at Muswellbrook. Apparently they were first bred not far from Muswellbrook in a place called Dartford. When I had been researching my trip I read the dog had been removed for restoration back in July 2016. I’d called the information bureau and they had told me they were hoping for it to be back by the end of January. With my google map guiding us,the information bureau building sign loomed up ahead. I let out a BIG cheer when I saw the dog was back where it belonged! 

Our next stop wasn’t really a BIG thing but never the less it had looked like an interesting spot to stop. 

It was a park at Wallabadah, about 40 minutes out of Tamworth. The park is a memorial to the First Fleet. Having read the first sign I was more than adequately able to answer the question asked of me by a lady wandering the park , as to why it is here. Apparently this was Ray Collins’ (descendant of a first fleeter) vision – but no where else would let him build it. He built it – and they came ! By now the cool temperature ( and rain) was well left behind and the beautiful blue sky framed our view and the sun sizzled my skin as the temp climbed from 31C to 32C ( at 4:30 pm.)


Our final destination to sleep ready for another BIG day tomorrow was Tamworth. 

Our room overlooks the pool and Brian made good use of the pool while I read the Sunday paper. It also has good free wifi too, another bonus!

Dinner was scrumptious at a nearby Chinese Restaurant. The meals certainly fitted our BIG theme and now we are resting with our BIG appetites sated.
 

Brian had his favourite dessert – deep fried ice cream with chocolate sauce. 

Time for a BIG sleep I think 💤💤💤


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Bruny Island Day 2 

We awoke to clouds but no rain. Hopeful for a little less mud we started off to explore the top half of the island. 

Our first stop was the Bruny Cheese Company. although there was no cheese production to watch, we did get to sample some. They were all cow milk based cheeses, ranging from mild soft to hard with a bit of bite. Enjoyed them but with out travel arrangements they weren’t a viable option to purchase.


Next we headed to Get Shucked, an oyster bar. I saw oysters being sorted by size , then went to enjoy some of this freshly shucked produce. They were very tasty and HUGE!! 

Driving on from there we reached Dennes Point and took a walk on the short jetty. The water was crystal clear even at a depth we guesstimated to be about 3 metres or more. Small and large fish swam about the seaweed patches. Just as we went to go back to the car we saw these little creatures playing in the grasses opposite. We think they are baby quolls. They were only about as long as my hand. 

Continuing on we saw an echidna having an amble roadside. It had much more hair between spikes than those I have seen walking wild on mainland Australia. 


From the ferry trip we took the route south, looping us back to Hobart. We detoured by Mt Wellington, observing the cloud atop it as we got closer. The winding road had steep cliffs on our side of the road in parts. It was just 6C at the top ( 13C at sea level). 

Tired, we returned to our hotel back in Hobart. We are off to Port Arthur tomorrow as the weather is to change back to rain on Wednesday, so we will take the sunnier option to walk the historical site tomorrow. 


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Bruny Island -Day 1

Today we made our way to Kettering to catch the car ferry to Bruny Island. I was excited to see Kettering as a couple of months ago I had watched an intriguing TV series based in the town. I have a few of the landmarks to visit there when we return to the mainland.

Arriving for the 11am ferry we had a 40 minute wait. The dock is well set up fir this by having a cafe there. We ate our breakfast watching boats bob on their moorings and before we knew it we were back in our car ready to drive on the ferry.

The trip across takes about 20 minutes. We were on an outside lane so could watch the shoreline disappear as we crossed the still waters.


My original plan was to explore the top half of the island today and the bottom tomorrow. Our accommodation is about midway on the island. Arriving on the island however, we noticed we had just a quarter of a tank of petrol. As the only petrol was on the bottom half of the island we decided to head there and to reverse days.

With a full tank our first stop was the chocolate factory. Due to health and safety rules they are no longer able to have the public visit the chocolate making workshop, but they did have a video of it showing. We sampled lavender fudge and chocolate fudge and then purchased a large selection of fudges and chocolates. Such good customers we were the sales lady tossed on a free bag of chocolate coated honeycomb that was ‘irregular’ – like as if my taste buds will know it’s not perfectly cubed haha.


We saw where Captain Cook , Abel Tasman and William Bligh had landed at different times, then headed to Cloudy Bay and on to the lighthouse. The roads start off tarred but very quickly change to gravel. The roads aren’t very wide in parts, so as you pass traffic going the other way you need to slow a bit. The car has changed from white to brown, a visit to a car wash will be needed before we take it back at the end of the holiday.




The views from the lighthouse area were spectacular, added to by the light mist.

We checked in to our accommodation as we were passing the hotel. As if he new me , the man at the hotel reception assured me to look inside the motel room before passing judgement…it was a little square box from outside!! He said inside was new renovations, and the view amazing and he was right! It’s like a regular motel room inside. The linen is crisp and clean ( I checked as soon as I entered haha). It’s regular hotel size and we put on the room heater and the room was warm fast. It’s not luxury but it’s definitely comfortable and so reasonably priced.


The view is across the D’Entrecasteaux Channel to Satellite Island.


We ate dinner in Hotel Bruny and again were impressed , just like their hotel room.


The menu was large and the meals even larger and delicious!!! The staff were really friendly which added to the atmosphere. We were really challenged to eat all our dinnrer. We started with garlic bread , served on a wooden board with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Brian had chicken parmigiana and o had Tasmanian scallops. Neither of us could totally finish our meal !  Definitely recommend staying and eating here if you come to Bruny Island. 


We will sleep well after all the walking, concentrating on gravel roads and such full tummies. And yes, we still found room for dessert hahaha


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Travelling Tasmania 

We landed at night to the twinkling lights of Hobart city. The adventure began with finding our hire car in the parking lot. It wasn’t that hard to locate but it certainly felt cold as we checked over the car for scratches and dents etc, using the light of our trusty iPhones.With just two wrong turns ( one I’m blaming on the airport road works) we found our accommodation for the night. Our room was in a cottage at the rear. The cottage was an old style house and our room showed the evidence it once had a fireplace , now the room was heated electronically. We left to find food, ending up at Coles supermarket ( we found out the next day just a few blocks more we would hav located a plethora of cafes and restaurants). Dinner consisted of a Lean Cuisine meal for Brian and a pizza bread for me, heated in the room microwave. We also picked up supplies of dips and chips ( our usual Friday night habit).

In the morning we headed off in the direction of Strathgordon. The trip is about 2 and a half hours without stops, but we made stops. 

Our first stop was at Mt Field National Park. I’d read about the Russell Falls here and thought they should be spectacular after the recent Tasmanian rains. The walk to them was an easy one. Signposted as 25 mins return, we took a little longer, looking in the stream for possible sightings of platypuses and to admire the height and width of the trees here, as well as the greenest of green mosses that covered so much vegetation. Some very large trees had fallen both on the path ( and had been chopped back and off the walkway. Some of the trees had trunks as wide as I am tall! 



Already a cold start at around 11C, with each step closer to the falls we could feel the temperature dropping. With hands in my pockets, and ever thankful for my fleecy-lined tights, we walked on to the falls. The sound at the falls was near deafening as the water roared as it propelled over the rock face, to drop to the ground. The stream was full of boulders. Frothy water danced over the rocks , some pooling away from the wash. 


For our walk back to the car we chose the path that led via the other side of the stream. As we walked we paused along the path looking for that elusive platypus, but to no avail. We did see some fish swimming in the current though. 


Our onward journey took us to Strathgordon Dam. The trip was amongst tall mountains, some still with a light layer of snow on top. 


The dam was created in response to the need for more electricity. The dam wall is arc shaped, 17 metres thick at the bottom, tapering to approximately 3 metres wide at the top. The arc runs 198 metres long and is 140 metres tall! There are more than 100 steps down from the road to the dam. Needless to say I didn’t do that trek. I would hate the walk back up, not to mention standing on that dam! I was feeling the height from looking out from the road level! Brian did the walk and had jelly legs from the walk back up. 


Our drive back was in light showers. Heavy black clouds were illuminated by beautiful rainbows. The grasslands looked even greener against the sky. 


Dinner was fabulous! Pizza Hut in Moonah ( suburb near where we were staying) still does the ‘all you can eat’ buffet. We put the term to the test and waddled out after our consumption of pizza, salad and dessert. 

Tomorrow … Bruny Island 


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Do it!

imageEvery where we have eaten on this vacation to Fiji, be it at a resort or in Port Denarau, on islands or evening cruises, the food has been extremely delicious.. And the serving sizes plentiful.

Breakfast starts the day we’ll with a huge buffet at the resort. This even included champagne( pour your own from bottles in a large ice bucket, if that’s your desire. Eggs are made to yourlikimg as you wait, including fluffy omelets with an array of optional fillings. We find with a good breakfast and the addition of an ice cream for afternoon tea wended no more food until dinner.

Each morning those of you who know me well, know I can’t go past fresh cream…on desserts, cakes, in coffee…even straight from a spoon 🙂 There at the pancake bar each morning is a huge bowl of whipped cream!! Like everything it is relent shed often with fresh supplies. Of course I load it on my pancakes, my fruit and slip some into my coffee. Yesterday as I placed my pancake on my plate I looked to the bowl. It had just a ‘me’ size serving left.

The lady in front of me had the spoon in her hand. I knew I’d have to wait for the fresh bowl (and I was already drooling in anticipation of the cream). But no! She was that weird brand of person I don’t understand at all. She uttered that sentence all ‘good’ women do… “Oh, I should be GOOD and not eat cream!” Under normal circumstances I would break into my spiel that we shouldn’t accord guilt to the consumption of food we enjoy. At that point of brain wave however, where I was contemplating , “What if there is no other bowl of cream in the kitchen?” I heard myself tell her in no uncertain terms she definitely should stick to the good over ‘naughty’ and skip the cream!!

I then ladled that delicious fresh cream onto my pancake, drizzled the maple syrup in a decorate way…and devoured  it in eyeshot of the dry pancake being consumed by that lady at a nearby table. I did notice another bowl of cream out when I returned to select a pastry 😜

Life isn’t a rehearsal!!


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Bula!

After a few long hectic weeks full of a combination of illness ( the dreaded cough virus that hit the local area and both me and Brian) , heavy workload and consequently no sleep relaxation time has finally arrived. 

Spent the ‘night before flight’ at Rydges Sydney Airport as our flight out was an early 8:30 one. Can’t recommend this highly enough for plane enthusiasts …or those that value an extra hour of sleep before travel! Our room looked over the airport. I was well armed with my trusty binoculars, flightradar24 open on one page of my browser and the flight arrival and departures on another. This is one of the few times I don’t feel hunger – well at least not for food. Had to be dragged away from my window but must admit the food was truly worth it. Watched the planes til no more passenger flights then was up to watch the first to depart Sydney in the morning. Then it was my time to join the travelers.


Check in was easy enough, but in true fashion for me, the check-in counters and gates were always miles apart. Yes, I checked in at counter J (Virgin Australia) and departed from gate 50 …but at least not Gate 63! While waiting for the plane I had to get my teacher voice and face out. Minding our own business I get a hit to the head with a tennis ball. Two kids were playing an active game of handball amongst the crowd of passengers . The first hit got them the death stare and a suggestion to play further away. The second!!!! time saw the deaths stare and a comment that a better place to play would be outside the terminal. The third!!!! time saw them come over and ask for their ball back this time rather than just scramble around our feet. Thankfully it as boarding time then. Is it too much o teach children that there is a time and place for games? I noticed their parents enjoying a quiet coffee well away from the ‘play area’. If only I’d had their insight haha! 

Anyway our flight was to be a great one. Couldn’t believe our luck. We had seats in row 3. Yes I had to be in close proximity to the business class people but had extra leg room and 2 windows , what more can I ask for?? … welll….maybe for no crying baby or the toddler who kept opening and closing the magnetic rope that separates business class from economy. Food was a yogurt, an omelet, with 3 potato wedges and tasty chutney, and a muesli bar, washed down with apple juice . Was even able to stalk my own plane via the Virgin onboard wifi…also had an array of movies, podcasts, books and games. Broke the monotony of just water to look at below. 


Arrived at Nadi to be greater by 30C heat and a balmy breeze…just how life should be. A quick bag grab and walk through customs and in a few minutes we were being whisked away to our accommodation wearing new she’ll necklaces. We saw children on buses going home from school. Learned they have a 3 term year, with 2 sets of 3 week holidays and a 6 weeker at Christmas ( does this now qualify me to call this trip an educational activity and tax deduction??? lol) we passed through sugar cane, and houses with washing dancing on clothes lines , then the opulence of enormous homes ( apparently mostly own by overseas investors) and a well manicured golf course, before arriving at the Westin Denarau. 


We were greeted by a porter and a small band was playing in the foyer ( not purposely for me haha). Check in was a breeze and thanks to my new membership (joined last week) of the Starwood club I was told I was entitled to a 20% off dining ( except breakfasts). Better than a poke in the eye with a blind stick for sure!! 

Our room is in the second floor which means about 12 steps – you all know how much I love steps. But we do have a balcony. 


We were starving after our aeroplane food being all we had eaten , but at almost 5 pm found we needed to walk to Sheraton ( maybe 500 meters) for food or wait until 6pm. So wait we did, using the time to look around the resort . So glad I fake tanned before we left. I would have stood out more as a newbie with my milky white legs haha. 

Ate dinner at an Asian inspired restaurant while watching a fire dance . We will get more ‘up close and personal’ to this show another night when we aren’t lusting after an early dinner like we were. 

Ambled along the waterfront before retiring early. 10pm here is just 8pm at home but we were both exhausted from lack of sleep. Zzzzzzzz