Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fiji Honeymoon: Day 9 (Liku Liku) OR "Anchors Away" OR "Did You Get The Memo?""

Russell writing...

We're overdue for a posting on the goings-on in the lives of Russell and Katie Bloodworth. But sadly, this belated post has little to
recount from our last full day in
Fiji. Was there more to do and explore? Absolutely. Could we still stand to make a few
friends with the cool kids? Of course. Were there more strange characters arriving at the resort for us to
make fun of? Definitely.

At this point though, it's necessary to point out that we had already done pretty much
everything that was "worth" doing. Now, "worth" here needs a bit of clarification. There are plenty of other things at the resort that we'd LIKE to do. But LikuLiku, as it turns out, and in direct contrast to Taveuni Palms, is an obscene nickel-and-diming operation. It's hard to justify joining in on the 30-min sunset cruise when it costs you about $80US. This game of monetary comparison could probably take up a page or two of good blogging space, but I'll note a few more. At Tavauni Palms, a load of laundry: $5US. At LikuLiku, a single shirt to be laundered: $5US. At Taveuni Palms, a full-day kayaking and coastal walk to the waterfalls with a private guide and included DELICIOUS lunch: $120US. At LikuLiku, a 2hr sandbar picnic: $125US. At Taveuni Palms, a "total body & soul" 90 minute massage: $25US pp. At LikuLiku: a 60 minute massage: $60US pp. At Taveuni Palms, all non-alcoholic drinks are included in the any time of day. At LikuLiku, no drinks are included in the price with the exception of juices in the morning. And just to clarify, the Taveuni Palms 2-room villa was the same price as the LikuLiku Overwater Burre. Additionally, we actually received FREE spa treatments the entire time we were at Taveuni as a courtesy.

Needless to say, when even going to church costs just under $10pp at LikuLiku, it's not hard to see why we kept our activities a bit more limited.

Anyway, for our last full Fijian day we spent most of our time eating (for breakfast I had the crepes one last time) or lazing about our over-water room, which as we've already said is absolutely awesome! And that room is probably the best thing bout our time at LikuLiku (although there are plenty of other things to write home about from there). After breakfast, Katie and I tried our hand once more at some snorkeling around our burre. Unfortunately, the water this day was a bit rougher and murkier, which left us both a little underwhelmed as it almost impossible to see anything without it being obscured in swirling sand. So...back to our lounge chairs we went. Life is tough.

Lunch arrived before we knew it, and the day's menu called for a whole lot of pork options. Pork belly is the most memorable thing I recall. It was our appetizer, and it was...fat. Nice chunky pig fat. My mom would not approve! For the main course, I believe katie ordered some tuna, which they serve quite a bit at LikuLiku; but it's always good so you can't really complain. I enjoyed a yummy, scrummy Fijian prawn pizza. Delicious! And although a bit different, was actually comparably enjoyable to the pizza I had at Taveuni. A little less greasy too, which in my book is a plus. Dessert was a simply fabulous coconut bread pudding.

For the afternoon, Katie made the executive decision that we would NOT be joining in again on any of the communal LikuLiku activities. Our volleyball venturing the day before had been only marginally received by our fellow resorters, and we weren't sure that a second try was the right move since we only had one day left for our stay anyway. So instead, we thought we'd try a bit of sailing on one of the resort's little sailing skiffs.

Let me point out that: 1) I used to sail a little at camp...over a decade ago; 2) Katie has never sailed; 3) I don't remember anything from my previous sailing days that would actually be helpful. We walked up to the "activities burre" to ask the employee there if we could take one of the boats out on the water. He mumbled a bit in Fijian and seemed to be preoccupied with something entirely other than us. It turned out he had heard our request however, and he soon retreated into the back of the burre to gather us some life jackets. Next we followed him to the beach where he began setting up the sail on the nearest boat. As he was completing the job, he paused and asked "either of you sailed before?" I told about our limited to nill experience, which didn't seem to bother him. Did I know how to steer? Yep. And that was good enough "experience" for him, although I assume that anyone who's ever driven a car even once would probably feel confident enough to sail if all that was involved was steering. As we set off from the beach, the man let us know, seemingly arbitrarily, that we should be back in 30 minutes.

Katie and I made our way slowly out of the little alcove where the boats were, and as soon as we ventured beyond the resort's pier the wind picked up and we were on our nowhere in particular. The boat had a mesh-like underside fixed between two pontoons, and so with every wave we crossed we (primarily Katie) were splashed to the point of soaking within a minute. The sun was out though and, without too many obstacles to have to steer around, sailing was a breeze so to speak :)

After around 30 minutes we started heading back to shore until the activities guy yelled at us to keep sailing. We weren't sure exactly what was going on, but as we turned back around towards open water we noticed that this guy went and jumped in a motor boat, speeding off around the side of the island for some unknown prior obligation. Ummmm.... so again, here Katie and I, with no experience, are sailing very far out in open ocean. Nobody's watching us. We have no walkie-talkie to communicate with the shore. We've been given no boundaries to stay within. This place is a lawsuit waiting to happen, but Katie and I could care less (typical resort uptightness is a turnoff anyway). We're having the time of our lives while marveling at the hands-off approach to safety.

No telling what time we finally returned to shore; neither of us had brought a watch! But we definitely stayed out long enough to be deliciously lobster-looking. Even so, we grabbed an hour or so of more sun at our burre before a porter arrived to bring us our afternoon snack: today a thai-inspired assembly of "stuff" in rice wraps. Then, some wine, showering, and heading to dinner.

Again, sadly, dinner is a little fuzzy. I know Katie had some tuna again while I enjoyed a steak fillet, which was VERY chewy. But good flavor I guess. Other than that, neither of can remember distinctly what else was a part of the four course meal. One thing we can both remember though is the overpriced and, well, interesting tasting pina colada I got. Since our time at LikuLiku the only drink we've bought being here is the Coconut Mojito...which is awesome!! Pina Coladas just seem like such an island-ish staple though, so I gave into temptation. They should leave the coladas to the Caribbean. It tasted like a whole lot of rum and some funky cream. Probably one of the more expensive things purchased while we were there, but I have no shame in saying we didn't finish drinking it!

Ok that's it. Tomorrow we're outta here!!

P.S.-a little anecdote from our time here. Yep, it's another one about the staff. So kind and friendly at times, yet so laughably disorganized the rest. A few days ago, when we were still at our burre on the beach, I was reading out on the day bed beside our deck. Every day, so we later discovered, LikuLiku is sprayed for bugs using a gas-powered blower that sprays a heavy mist. As I read, soaking up the sun, I noticed a humming mechanical noise coming within earshot. I turned my head to look down the length of the beach only to see a LikuLiku staff member walking along spraying the bug blower. He was equipped with a little gas/medical mask and everything. Anyway, as he started to approach our burre, I started thinking about what my options might be to avoid getting sprayed with something that even the guy spraying it had no interest in inhaling. Go inside? Move to a different part of the beach? Stay put? I ended up simply signaling the guy when he was still 20 ft or so away with a wave to let me know I was there. He waved happily back. And then, quite undeterred, he continued his walk past our burre and sprayed me right in the face. From about 7 ft away. I covered my head as fast as I could with one of the day-bed's pillows and sat there thinking to myself...."You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me."

P.P.S.-another staff anecdote. 2 days ago, we were walking back to our burre and ran into one of the staff members. "Bula," she said, and we entered into a brief dialogue about how we were enjoying our time. As we chatted, a porter drove by in golf cart. The person we were talking with flagged him down, pointed to us, and started talking quickly in Fijian. From the context and hand gestures, ANYone could tell that she was telling him to give us a ride, and so we quickly said, "No, that's ok. We like the walk." Extremely surprised, the woman looked at as and asked, "you understand?" Not knowing the correct response, we both replied "yes." Since that moment, we remain convinced that a memo has been sent out to all the staff members letting them know that the Americans in burre #1 speak Fijian. And, correlatively, we're pretty sure folks have been even more accommodating than before (and it seems they're speaking less Fijian around us as well; afraid we'll catch on to their gossip!). Should have tried that earlier :)

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