Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fiji Honeymoon: Day 5 (LikuLiku Lagoon)

Russell writing...

I feel like we've let time get away from us a bit since we've moved to LikuLiku Lagoon and we've consequently gotten behind in our blogging. Of course, that could be partly attributed to the fact that LikuLiku isn't as memorable a place as Taveuni Palms was. That would be a difficult feat for LikuLiku to accomplish!

Anyway, the pace of Fijian living has slowed down for us somewhat since our move. This is ironic since I'd intentionally selected Taveuni Palms as our first destination because it looked like a great place to unwind after all our air travel. LikuLiku was going to be the "social" spot where we'd be living it up in a faster-paced setting. Oh well.

The first thing to report from our first full day at LikuLiku is: breakfast. Unlike Taveuni where you were able to select from rather large menu and make personal requests as desired, LikuLiku offers a breakfast buffet and a small menu of a la cart items. I consider it a small step down from our previous home but only slightly as breakfast turned out to be quite delicious!

The breakfast buffet offered an assortment mostly of breads (sweet and savory), jams, fruit, etc., but it also offered, somewhat impressively, fresh coconut milk still in their coconuts (you just punch a straw through the top and drink away!) as well as a juicing station. Fresh beets, carrots, pineapple, mango, and a few other items sit next to a Breville centrifugal juicer for all the guests to enjoy... although I suspect that only Katie and I are the sort to make use of it. Great addition to the spread.

As for our a la cart items, Katie and I ordered a cheese souffle and some coconut crepes respectively. The souffle was delicious, and in truth, the coconut crepes rival those we had at Taveuni; I actually even somewhat preferred the texture of the LikuLiku crepes. No syrup provided though?

After that, our morning consisted largely of lazing about and people watching. For a place that has won a number of awards and is stated to be a 5-star resort equal to what we experienced at Taveuni, it's a little difficult not to be surprised by the other clientele. I hope that doesn't come across as snooty, but I trust that if you were to witness some of the styles in vogue here you'd understand. Thus far we've met or observed the following: 2 Japanese sisters on vacation who take pictures of themselves whatever chance they get (there's nothing wrong with these 2 of course, but it's still quite something to imagine how many "rolls of film" they're going through); a couple from NYC that looks like they're straight off the boat from Jersey Shore; a couple whose male counterpart walks around in basketball jerseys and who wears his sunglasses in a gravity-defying way; plenty of tattooed-laden fellows and lasses; a man with a handle-bar mustache who, no lie, wears his sunglasses day and night, wears shirts adorned with skulls and flame patterns, and who apparently is here with his 80ish-year-old mother. The list goes on.

Next is lunch. With the exception of the previous night's dinner, which was a barbeque buffet, lunch and dinner meals are three courses which are chosen from a menu with two lists of options that change each day of the week. Hopefully that makes sense. Anyway, Katie and I enjoyed for lunch a plate of fresh Tuna and some squid.

The post-lunch agenda was a blank slate, so we decided to do a little hiking to combat our increasingly problematic calorie intakes. An excellent idea it turned out as we had a wonderful time exploring the surrounding area of the resort. There are supposed marked trails around the property, and after a bit of searching we finally found an entrance to one near our burre. This early part of the trail was a "coconut grove," which we think was planted by the resort. Trees are tightly packed together, bent in all sorts of peculiar ways, which makes for an impressive visual but complicated hiking.

As we pressed on, we found that our expectations for an easy jaunt were a little off base. The trek was much more involving than we'd anticipated! Hills, vegetation, sandy and rocky inclines and declines where getting a bit of shoe traction proved a challenge. But it was well worth it and brought us spectacular views. After crossing one particular peak, Jona's Lookout, we descended down the "mountain" into an area of mangrove trees next to the coastline. The mangroves had trapped all sorts of debris, etc., within them, and we had to trek through and past an old mattress, dilapidated boats, pipes and tubes.

Beyond the mangroves though was where we spent most of the remainder of our day. The tide was near its lowest point and we walked out on an expanse of exposed rock and coral. Here we ventured slowly about and took in all the marine sights. Katie is a bit braver than I, so while I stood back and took plenty of pictures to document the moment, she stooped down every few feet to examine her latest finding: a colony of crabs; different varieties of starfish; sea cucumbers.

We began making our way back to the resort, taking in all the imagery as we went. To get back though, we continued along the beach/rocks rather than returning through the hills. As a result, we came across one of the neighboring traveler havens, the Mololo Island resort. It seems a bit more family oriented, but in some ways, perhaps just aesthetically, it seemed to match up a bit more with Katie's and my preferences. Instead of "Fijian" burres, their beach is dotted with what I feel inclined to call South Carolina-style cottages. Very pretty, and we admired the view. (although it's worth pointing out that we also walked past the staff quarters, which are beyond the resort; a bit slum-like...the staff quarters at LikuLiku seem much better).

Upon returning to LikuLiku, it was near time for dinner. Katie and I cleaned up, and left early for the restaurant to participate in cocktail hour. For as big as this place is, we can't help but note how antisocial this "social" crowd is. Perhaps only WE'RE antisocial? Either way, the cocktail hour doesn't seem to be heavily attended, and Katie and I contented ourself with a mojito which we enjoyed at a corner table.

Dinner consisted of some sort of chicken dish that Katie ordered while I requested the Australian venison. Quite tasty. But then they had to spoil the whole affair by garnishing our desserts with clear-colored jello. Who eats jello? Another great day, but I'd still say we miss Taveuni. :)

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