Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fiji Honeymoon: Day 8 (Liku Liku) OR "Making Friends" OR "Get the Starfish"

Katie Writing...

Today has been another wonderful day in the life of the Bloodworths. We started off the day waking up to the sunrise. I assure you, Russell was not as excited about this as I. I went to bed thinking about the sunrise and woke up twice making sure not to miss it. When I opened my eyes, the sun was just coming up on the horizon, so in sweet wifey fashion I yell "Look! Look! Wake up and look!" So Russell jumps up saying "Wha, Wha, What's going on?" and I smile and say "The sunrise. Take a picture. Hurry! Oh, and good morning." So I sat quietly after that, satisfied to see the sun come up and watch the sky turn all sorts of beautiful.

Since we were up, I finished the previous day's blog posting and we fed fish with leftover cookies. Then it was off to breakfast where once more, I made a bad choice. Russell ordered the cheese souffle which we already knew was awesome. I ordered it before I entered my streak of mediocre food choices. It's made with gruyere cheese, onions, hot red peppers and green peas. I know, green peas sounds like an odd choice, but it's REALLY good. I, in my adventurous nature, chose the mud crab omelette. Could be good right? Nope! It was very bland and crabby tasting. Did I eat it anyway? Yep...and followed it up with a full bowl of granola complete with yogurt and berries. That's my kind of breakfast.

And now a note about service. On par with previous dining experiences, breakfast came with it's glitches. Nothing terrible, but still noteworthy. We were seated in a lovely spot facing the ocean and the pier and given menus. Catch one: one of the menus had no actual menu inside, it was just a folder. Catch two: our waitress seats us and asks us if we would like water. We reply "Yes". The question was followed with "Would you like tea or coffee." We go against our routine of just water and add in a request for tea. Away she goes. Eight minutes later, no tea, no water and no order taken another waitress approaches the table. She asks for our room number (of course, however we still haven't figured out why everyone wants to know our room number), asks us if we'd like something to drink and we give the same order of tea and water. She then takes our food order. She repeats the order "Souffle, omelette, and coffee." She is corrected, "we'd actually like to have tea, not coffee." and off she goes. Five minutes more pass. Tea arrives from the initial waitress and she does not take our order. Five minutes after that, the second waitress brings tea. Oops! Lack of communication...who would've thought?!

Ok, that's all for meal bloopers, at least for now.

We finish breakfast and head back to the room for a little snorkel. One of the perks of these over water burres is that you have a ladder off the side of your porch that goes right down into the water. We don't even have to go anywhere to see the beauty of the coral reef! Down we go to see what there is to see. The fish here are beautiful! We see fish that you've only ever seen in Finding Nemo. Clown fish, Parrot fish, fish that look like leopards, clear fish, fish you can't even describe. My favorite thing and what I'm most fascinated by are the bright blue starfish. My mission for the day- hold one.

The first step of my mission is to figure out if the blue beauty I've admired from afar is actually a starfish and not a piece of coral (which is what Russell believed). I dive in and take time to enjoy the view. Rainbows of color everywhere you look. Even the nasty sea cucumbers are cool. Now I know the general population's fascination with neon, everyone wants to have a piece of this beauty below the ocean. My opinion, keep the neon on the fish...it does not look good on humans. Anyway, I find the bright blue object about six feet down. As I've discussed in a previous post, I have become a floater and not a sinker so getting below the surface of the water proves to be a challenge. I swim down just long enough to poke it. Hmm, it's rigid. It does not seem to budge when I touch it, maybe it is coral. I swim on to shallower water to see if I can find another one. I find one on a big piece of coral. I pull, it doesn't budge. However, I've decided it definitely IS a starfish, each one I see has five arms; some of them are hiding halfway in the sand or in the holes of other coral. I continue the mission. I swim over a shallow bit of sand and spot one, it's not too deep for me to grab and there's no coral for it to attach itself. I pick it up, it doesn't squirm like the other starfish I've held on this trip. I get really excited, this may be the most beautiful thing I've held in my hand yet. We must take a picture. Somehow, Russell isn't quite as excited as I am about my discovery. I get him to hold it and he does so like he's found a dirty sock- far away from his body with just his thumb and forefinger. I laugh and take it back into my possession. When we get back to our dock, I place the starfish carefully on the ladder so as not to drop it or harm it in any way. Now is when he decides to use his tentacles. They're tiny, and strong! The starfish is stuck to the ladder! I pull and push and try to slide him off, I mean, he's got to come off sooner or later or he'll dry out! I feel terrible when I pull him from the stair and he leaves a few tentacles behind. Starfish have the uncanny ability to regrow missing parts, right? It's just a few tentacles right? Either way, I apologize profusely, we take it's photo and I swim him back down to the bottom of the ocean. (Thank you for reading this part...I'm sure I've enjoyed writing it much more than anyone will enjoy reading this play by play).

We end our bit of snorkeling and do a bit of lounging and cookie eating (might I add that one of the room service men called us the cookie monsters today). After that, we packed our bag and headed to lunch with the expectation of spending time at the pool and making some friends.

Lunch: Russell scores, I fail...surprise! Russell gets the pesto risotto with squid and I order the chicken ramen in honor of my sister. Russell's lunch was rich and flavorful, mine fell flat- watery broth, unidentifiable chicken pieces, bitter mushrooms, soggy tofu. These aren't your average ramen noodles and ( I can't believe I'm saying this) I think Manchu Wok is better. Please, write that down. Lunch brings the crazy bad service once again with an empty drink menu and no water or any sort of service past the part of being seated for 15 minutes. Several waiters look at our table and a few even ask if we've been helped, but to no avail. Finally water comes followed by appetizers and food and even mojitos that we ordered after Russell goes to the hostess desks and requests it. The rest of lunch is uneventful.

And we're off to the pool for some friend-making. Have we mentioned that we aren't good at this? We met some people who arrived two days ago that have become best friends with every American couple in the resort in less than 48 hours. Russell and I feel like we're back in elementary school trying to break into the "cool group". We're sissies. At the pool, we eaves drop on a few conversations, watch people making friends and take some paparazzi pics of the guy who is in his late fifties and vacationing with his mother.

Let me introduce you- He drinks wine straight from the bottle and balances a CD Walkman with really nice Bose headphones. He does a little dance that he thinks no one can see. I can only imagine that he's rocking out to some vintage hip hop from the 80s. He comes complete with a gold chain and a plumber's crack. It's possible that he shaves his chest. This is the same guy who wears sunglasses to dinner. Don't worry, he changes them up, sometimes he wears reflective lenses ( you know, the ones that look like rainbows) and sometimes, on special evenings he brings out the yellow lenses. Russell says he looks like Jeff Bridges, from the Big Lebowski. He wears his house shoes as flip flops and has taken special care to get some frosted tips in his shaggy brown hair. His outfits are an endless array of ridiculousness from white steel toed boots to button downs replete with images of skulls and lightning bolts . This man scares me to death. Every time he walks past me, I envision him slugging me in the face and laughing as he continues on.

Russell writing...

Anyway, back to us being the peripheral outcasts of our age group at the resort. We've tried to break the ice with a few different couples, but they in turn just decide to hang out with each other. We are indeed, as Katie put it, wusses.

As we sat by the pool people-watching, we saw a small opportunity. "Jeff Bridges" was in some sort of intense conversation with a staff member (we've no idea what it was about). In addition to wanting to get some good gossip on the resort's resident weirdo, we also noticed that another couple between us and "Jeff" was watching the argument. We figured that, assuming the argument ever drew to a close, we could approach the young couple and ask about what happened. Perfect ice breaker! What's more, the guy in this couple was wearing some Duke shorts, so there was another in (of course, he was also wearing a Clemson shirt, and a Notre Dame hat, but that's neither here nor there). As we plotted our introduction, we were soon thwarted by the old Anglo couple we'd seen at dinner the previous night singing along with the Fijian church choir from their table. They came over to our young couple and made some sort of small talk remark about...something or other. And before you know it, the old couple and young couple are soon best friends, with us, once again, the lonely onlookers as they walked away from the pool. Ah well.

We weren't totally defeated yet though. More opportunity was there. A resort volleyball game was scheduled for that afternoon, and Katie and I figured that we might finally have an "in" with the cool kids. First though, we decided to go back to our burre and drop off our stuff.

At the burre, we lounged a bit to cool off from the sun, and we were soon greeted by a knock on the door. Any time staff comes to visit us they're either bringing us cookies or someone's coming by to, for reasons unknown, ask us some ridiculous question that has nothing to do with anything. And even though our burre number is written on the outside of our hut, it wouldn't surprise me if they ever came by to confirm it. I think Katie has said enough about the staff though to give you a sense of the craziness we've experienced!

It turned out that this house call was actually just a staff member dropping by to replenish our cookie supply and bring us an afternoon snack (snacks are apparently only reserved for folks in the over-water burres; why's this? no idea). After noting that our cookie jar was completely empty, he felt compelled to nickname us the resort cookie monsters. We already know we're fat, pal. Thanks though. With that playful jab at our rapidly expanding bellies, we now had further reason beyond making friends to join in the volleyball game that afternoon. Modest exercise.

Before we could depart for the game, there was another knock on the door. This time though, something rather remarkable happened. I opened the door to greet whoever it might be, and two staff members walked in carrying an ice bucket with a bottle of champagne....and a letter. They left as quickly as they entered, leaving us to figure out what was going on. The letter enclosed a general apology from the staff for all of our difficulties from transferring rooms the previous day. It didn't specify WHICH of the difficulties it was apologizing for, but we were still appreciative of the gesture. However, despite the letter's insistence that yesterday's service snafus were an abnormal occurrence, it's going to take more than a bottle of champagne for Katie and I to believe that. At the very least you'd think someone would have apologized verbally when, you know, all those "difficulties" were actually occurring! Meh... free champagne.

(Katie Writing)
On our way to the game, we plotted our friendship-making plan. What we'll do is invite everyone over to our burre for some champagne, boxed wine, and the best views on the resort. That'll win us some "cool" points for sure...

(Russell writing)

Back at the resort lodge, the volleyball game was already in progress between the "cool kids," as well as a few others. Sake, a staff member and actually a relative of Sara from Taveuni Palms; "Jeff Bridges" with his 80 year old mother looking on from a chair at the lodge; a mousy-looking French Canadian couple; a middle aged American couple. And then of course the "cool kids," comprised of three couples all around our age who had decided over the past 24 hours that they were going to be best friends for the rest of their lives. Grrr.. :)

Sake invited us to join in, and Katie and I each went to a different team. For the next hour or so we played some very mediocrely skilled volleyball matches. Although nobody there was particularly fantastic, Katie and I are notably terrible. With the depth perception of an infant bear cub, we both have a rough time gauging the ball as it comes flying towards us. "Somebody else!", we yell, as we try do move out of the way so one of our more skilled teammates can hit it. We're constantly apologizing for our wretched skills. Very impressive showing.

At one point, Katie notices one of the cool kids is wearing some Tennessee basketball shorts and asks if he's an alum. "Yes." That's about the extent of that conversation. He and his wife, who also went to UT, seemed modestly amused but not much more. There was about a 2-second version of the "name game" that followed. One-sided of course.

After a while, we switched up teams and Katie and I were now joined forces. Not a good thing for our side. "Service," says the other side as the smack the ball over towards us. As long as our fellow players can get to the ball before us, we're in good shape. But as soon as it heads to me or Katie, "somebody else!" "Not me!" "Augh!" "I'm just trying to throw off the other team...it's all part of the strategy!"

We finally decided we'd embarrassed ourselves enough for one afternoon, although we did have quite a bit of fun. We bid our farewells, as did the French Canadians, the middle aged couple, and "Jeff Bridges", who, incidentally, is not a good volleyball player for being as tall as he is. We contemplate posing our offer of wine and view gazing but can't get up the nerve. The "cool kids" stayed behind though to keep playing. Mission Failure.

At dinner, Katie and I couldn't help but notice a marked difference in the way things went. To put it another way, dinner actually went smoothly. Service wasn't bizarrely scattered and disorganized. Whadya know!? Our best guess is that, along with the written apology we received from the management that day, there must have been a memo sent out telling the staff to step their game up for the folks in Burre #1. Perhaps someone on the management team is reading our blog?

(Katie Writing)

The only notable event is the following: We hear laughing coming from the pier. Whatdaya know? It's the cool kids on their way to dinner. Russell and I debate, should we wave? say "hi"? We decide to do both but their too busy laughing and talking that they don't see us. They approach the hostess station and- wait for it, wait for it....all sit together at a table for six. The cool table. We're not invited. Dang.

(Russell Writing)

Anyway, for dinner Katie had some sort of fish while I enjoyed the lamb. Both were quite tasty. However, the appetizers preceding these were a little more iffy. First Katie had the "bay bug", which, although not quite as gross as it sounds (it's sort of like mini lobster), wasn't as delicious as our server described. I had the safer sounding sea scallops, which were actually quite disgusting to both of us! I'm not even going to mention Katie's description of them.

Until tomorrow. The End.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. In Memphis, we all congregate at either the Webers or the Bloodworth Sr's and read your daily blog. Beautifully written once again.