Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My Fiji Trip

Here's the big Air Pacific booger that we flew 11 hours on to Fiji!  It was absolutely huge inside - a double-decker.  I just can't believe that it can get off the ground!  All of the flight attendants were so pretty and courteous.  Their uniforms were gorgeous and so many of them wear their hair swept up with beautiful island flowers.  It was VERY hard sleeping sitting up for that long, but we finally managed to arrive in Fiji.  Can't believe I flew halfway across the world and crossed the International Dateline.  I was a day-and-a-half ahead of my family back in Katy!

Love this wall in the Fiji airport!  I wish I had it in my house!  I see that there is waterfront land for sale.  I wonder if I could talk my husband into buying some property in Fiji.  NO WAY, JOSE!  Would you still come to my stamp camps if I moved to Fiji?  We could stamp awhile and then go play on the beach!  Sounds good, doesn't it?

When we arrived at the Fiji airport, we were met by this band.  Even though it was 4:00 in the morning and we were all kind of cranky, the music was exciting and reminded us that we were not in the States anymore!  We were somewhere far, far away.

One thing I could not wait to do was have a drink with an umbrella in it!  This was my first one.  I had it at Breeze's Bar, which is in the Sofitel Resort, and it was delicious.  I think the drink was called "Fiji Paradise." 

Every evening around 6:00 p.m., fruit bats would fly in and land in the palm trees.  Their wing spans were about 3 feet.  You can see the black fruit bat hanging upside down in the tree in this picture.  It became our ritual every night to meet in the bar to welcome the fruit bats - and to have a drink, too!

Here is the gorgeous view from Breeze's Bar.  Everything in the resort is open-air.  Although it would get up into the 80s during the day, there was always a cool ocean breeze blowing through.  It was so relaxing to sit there and look out at the ocean and watch the palm trees swaying.  It was one of my favorite things to do on this trip.

On the first evening, this Fijian band came walking through the resort lobby and put on quite a show for us.  It went on for a while, but I captured part of it on video.  They did lots of dancing and included members from the audience.  Diana Gibbs was a good sport while she danced with them - and Kelly Atcheson's daughter was spectacular, too!  Wish the pictures weren't so dark, but at least you can hear the music!

Of course one of the things we get so excited about on Stampin' Up! trips are the pillow gifts!  We get one every single night.  It's so much fun to enter your room after a busy day, only to find a nice surprise waiting for you.  Inside this box was a beautiful tote to use during the trip.  It was perfect for all the beach-goers and pool people!

All throughout the resort were nice places like this that you could relax in and enjoy the view.  This is one that I enjoyed while I was there.  Love the palm trees!

This is the view we had when we would come out of our room.  It's hard to see, but off in the distance are the Sleeping Giant Mountains.  Coming out, seeing the palm trees, viewing the mountains, and enjoying a cool ocean breeze, I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming!

Inside the resort was a little place called "La Parisienne" where you could get smoothies, coffees, shakes, and sandwiches.  Pam and I loved sitting there because they had outdoor seating, shaded with huge umbrellas, and it was a great place to relax and enjoy the view.

Here I am enjoying a smoothie from La Parisienne.  I think my smoothie was banana, raspberry, and mango.  It was good!

Here's Pam enjoying a "Peach Me" smoothie at La Parisienne.

This is a shot of the front of our resort.

There was a nice waterfall in the front of the resort that was so pretty! 

Those mountains in the distance are the Sleeping Giant Mountains.  We actually got to go up through them on one of our excursions.  Aren't they gorgeous?

This placque is on the front of the resort.  Pam and I stayed in Room 265.

This is the entrance into the resort.  The lobby is just beyond this entrance.  It's all open-air with a cool ocean breeze blowing through.

On the beach there were many hammocks around that you could get into and take a snooze while listening to the waves coming in.  I'm kicking myself now that I didn't get into one of those hammocks!

Another beach shot close to our resort.

Another beach shot close to our resort.  That's Pam sitting on the bench.

A beautiful red hibiscus flower on the property.  These flowers and all kinds of flowers were everywhere!

Another beach shot while the sun was setting.  I loved how they had benches so you could sit and enjoy the view.

My second drink with an umbrella!  I'm missing those umbrella drinks now.

There were beautiful lily ponds on the property.  As we would eat breakfast every morning, there were lily ponds all around us.

This is where we liked to have our breakfast each morning.  It's an open-air hut, surrounded by lily ponds, and birds would join us hoping to get something from our plates!  Our coffee was made with french presses - and I got totally hooked on that rich, deep cup of coffee each morning.

A pretty view from Breeze's Bar.

Stampin' Up! had these flags all over the place, so I posed for a picture with one!

This bouquet is made of ginger and Birds of Paradise.  Beautiful, natural arrangements like this could be found all throughout the resort.

One afternoon Pam and I jumped on the Bula Bus and took a trip down to the port.  The port has lots of restaurants and shops.  We did some souvenir shopping and had an early dinner.  Loved that time with Pam!

Here's Pam and I enjoying dinner at Cardo's at the port.  Our iced tea was served with a wedge of fresh pineapple.  Suits me just fine!  We ended up ordering Chinese food, but there were probably 100 different things to choose from on their menu, which made it very difficult to decide!

We went on an excursion called "Nadi Faces and Places."  Our first stop was at a farmers' market.  I really enjoyed seeing all of the fresh vegetables and fruits.  I would have loved to have purchased one of those pineapples.





The workers would wrap their produce in big leaves, as you can see on the left side of the picture.


Red fish

On our excursion, we visited Buda Village.  It is one of the largest villages on the island and one of the wealthiest, too.

Here is the church that is used by the village people.  Christianity is the religion in this particular village.

One of the houses in the village, with a woman selling her handmade jewelry.  We learned that you are born into your profession in this village.  It will be the same profession that your father has.  So you might be a fisherman for the village, a cook for the village, a carpenter, or a hunter.

Two village children who were happy to pose for a picture.

This is where the chief of the village lives.  The chief is the oldest member of the village.  We had to make sure our knees and shoulders were covered to enter the village and all hats had to be removed from our heads or the village chief would be offended.  Only the chief wears a hat.  No problem, YOU BETCHA!

This photo was taken inside the church.  The acoustics in this church are unbelievable, so when singing takes place, it is a beautiful sound.

Another house in the village.

Another shot of the chief's house.

A village man waving goodbye to us.  They were grilling something down that alleyway that smelled absolutely incredible.

Another shot of the village.

These village children were fascinated with this demonstrator's I-Pad!

The children were so excited to pose for pictures.

This is a shot I took of a home along the way to the orchid farm.  It had crops right next to it and looked so pretty.

I always love to get a picture of the local license plates wherever I go!

On our excursion, we visited an orchid farm that was originally owned by Raymond Burr.  He purchased the land because it is ideal for growing orchids, his favorite flower.  I understand that after his death, the property went back to the Fijian Government.  There were so many different varieties of orchids and they were beautiful.

This is a shot I took of some wild ginger.

A flower in a lily pond on the orchid farm.  Isn't it beautiful?  It looks perfect!

Dawn Olchefske is taking a break in a little hut that Raymond Burr built for meditation.  It was nice and cool in there and Dawn and I enjoyed a moment of rest!  It was an uphill climb to reach it, but it was certainly cool, dark, and quiet in there - a real sanctuary.

Pam and our tour guide taking a break from the long walk.  As you can see, he was very friendly!

I believe this flower is some variety of the Bird of Paradise.

We visited a Hindu temple on our excursion.  Before you could enter, you had to remove your shoes.  We were not allowed to take pictures inside.  There were several statues inside and people would leave offerings at the statues, like coconuts, fruits, or whatever they wanted to offer.  There were incredible, colorful paintings on the ceilings inside.

This is a smaller temple that is off to the side of the main temple.

On our last evening, we all had dinner on the back lawn of the resort.  Shelli Gardner addressed the group, thanking us for all we do, in her usual and wonderful way.  There was a huge food buffet and dessert buffet.  The evening was very relaxing, simply enjoying a nice meal with the demonstrators at your table.  I made some new friends this evening.  There was also some entertainment.  I was able to video a small part of a Fijian children's choir singing a traditional "goodbye" song to us.  It was very moving and very sweet.  Behind the choir is the ocean, which is so sad you can't see it in the picture.  It was such a nice evening!

I wanted to take one last shot from our balcony.  Unfortunately, the building next to us was casting a shadow on our view.  We could sit on our balcony and see a good bit of the resort, the pool, and the ocean.  I had such a wonderful time on this trip with my sister.  I will never forget it!

Looks like Air Pacific was expecting us!  It was a long flight home and took almost 24 hours between travel time and layovers.  There was nothing more welcoming to be back in Katy, Texas than to see Randy and Haley waiting for me at the baggage claim.  It's always good to remember that there's no place like home!  Loved the Fiji trip, but loved coming home!  I've learned my paradise is right here in Katy, Texas.


Lizette Lobpries said...

As usual, I'm loving your photos, and grateful that you would take the time to share all that beauty with us! Thanks, Penny - what a privilege to see all that!

Susan Mac Donald said...

thank you for a trip to Fiji, for those of us that couldn't go; the complete tutorial is very motivating & well presented; yes, this is no place like home w/those you love!