Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Postcards from Fiji: The high flyer edition

Our Fijian holiday started far too early with hourly visits the night before from Mr 10, who arrived like a ghost in the night at my bedside.

“Is it time to leave yet Mum,” he’d stage whisper, scaring the crap out of me, and then leaving me restless and mentally going through my last minute lists.

Eventually, I abandoned sleep around 5 am, figuring we may as well be restless at the airport and have one less thing to stress about (missing our flight), then restless at home.

We made it to Brisbane Airport Parking in record time. BAP is my favourite parking choice now, following my run-ins with the inconvenience and expense of onsite airport parking.

BAP check-in and transfer was quick and easy, and we were soon being dropped right at the doors for the Air Pacific Fiji departures at the Brisbane International Airport Terminal.

Of course, check-in seemed to take forever, but there was still plenty of time for breakfast, shopping, and a quick nap thanks to our early arrival.

Nothing like a good healthy breakfast to start the day. Ahem. (Hey, it was early and they needed comfort food, okay?)

Catching up on precious zzzzs. Sure, now Chase sleeps!

Waiting for our flight was an exercise in people watching.

There were groups of families and friends travelling together; couples on honeymoon or romantic breaks; ‘average’ family groups (Mum, Dad, and 1+ kids; as opposed to us - single mum and two excitable kids).

Beside us a babble of bogans sat reading passages from the Sunday Mail and quite loudly, passing critical comment, and wind.

Across from us, an elderly lady unpacked a lunchbox – a real one this time – and proceeded to hand out boiled eggs and sandwiches to her group.

A glowing bride-to-be stood by happily clutching a wedding dress bag while posing for photos with well-wishers.

It was our first time flying with Air Pacific Fiji and I tell you it was like a blast from the past. In a good way.

While the plane seemed a little well-loved – there were no individual entertainment systems for example, and the movie/sound system wasn’t great – the seats seemed more spacious than usual and were comfortable enough.

The service was certainly friendly and efficient. We were greeted with hearty 'Bulas' by the brightly dressed staff, and nothing seemed like too trouble, even way down the back in economy.

The airfare included food, drink and entertainment. And, in a quaint touch from days gone by, drinks were mixed generously from scratch. Wine and spirit glasses were filled to the top – no individual dinky sized bottles or premixes here. Beers came in large-sized cans, much to the appreciation of several of the groups.

A gin and tonic came with ice, lime, a swizzle stick and packed a punch!

The real thing ... AND in economy too!

Lunch was a curious mix of a hot roll, pasta salad, biscuits and juice, which tasted better than it looked.

The roll had what seemed to be processed chicken and a little cheese inside it. It looked extremely unappetising, but the bread was warm and tasty. Especially when I filled it with some of the creamy pasta salad as well. (Mind you, I was starving, not having partaken of the comfort breakfast!)

Even Miss 8 devoured some of the buttery roll and biscuits. 

Chase, a nervous flyer, wasn’t hungry when the food came around, but when he went back looking for something later, the staff cheerily produced a chocolate cake and some fruit salad for him.

I say it again: Nothing was too much trouble for the Air Pacific flight attendants.

Miss 8 needed a blanket? It was produced immediately, and with a smile.

The bar remained open on request throughout the flight. A few of the blokey groups were hoeing into the Fiji Beer. These were brought, efficiently and nicely. None of those requesting extra drinks were looked at like they had just stepped in something nasty as would happen on some national airlines I could mention.

(Note: Said consumption of drinks did mean the toilets seemed to be extra busy. Those with Mummy bladders or small children should go before they have to really go if you know what I mean!)

Soon enough, the first sights of Fiji came into view: Dots of islands, surrounded by searing blue water and pristine reefs. Lush tropical mountains. The kids oohed and aahed with excitement.

Until poor Harmonie suffered ear pain, and one of the lovely flight attendants brought her some sinus-opening stuff to sniff.

The other hiccup was when it was announced that the plane would be sprayed before landing for unwanted passengers (bugs, insects etc), just as they used to do many years ago in Australia.

Aspie Mr 10 went into a mild panic, scared that he would be gassed too.  It took some fast talking on my part and I had to shield him with a blanket before he finally realised it wasn't that bad and he was going to survive after all.

And finally we were on the ground.

We were in Fiji. Our holiday in paradise had begun!


Lina@MothersLoveLetters said...

I'm going to Fiji in Feb and my son will be 12 months old then. Any tips? How long's the flight?

Thanks for sharing. Really interested to reading more about your trip :) I can't wait for mine! Well-deserved, as yours was too, I'm sure :)

Unknown said...

How interesting to read about the Fiji airline! Can't believe they still spray you for quarantine!

Unknown said...

Lina, re Fiji, or the airline? It's lovely, and the country is so child-friendly. It's the perfect spot for both children and their parents to be spoiled. I have so many posts I want to write, but what in particular would you like to know? Where will you be staying? I'm only a beginner when it comes to Fiji really, but will help where I can. Yes it WAS well-deserved, and we certainly hope to go back soon.xo

Unknown said...

PS Lina, from Brisbane the flight was about 3 1/2 hours. It's quite hot when you land, so make sure you have water for you and the baby, but customs and baggage processing was the quickest of any country I've ever travelled to, and I've been to many! Such a friendly country.

Unknown said...

Vacations are always nice. My general advice for anyone planning a vacation would be to not (over)plan and have some room for adventure.
Getting lost - in a controlled form - can be great fun, even for kids.
// Jan

babycakequeen said...

ohhh ahhh saving all our pennies for Fiji

xoxoxo Amanda from Amanda's Mummy Jeans

♥.Trish.♥ Drumboys said...

Getting there is always half the fun ... I have never flown with children looks scary.

Maria Tedeschi said...

I'd love to take the family to Fiji. Just trying to work out where the best place to stay is. Is Nadi worth visiting?

Love & stuff
Mrs M

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Ha! I loved your description of the other passengers in the terminal! :P And I would have filled that roll with the pasta salad too-it definitely needed something! :P

Jay said...

Wow, that is seriously old school service. Hehe, being sprayed on landing just reminds me of Eden's Ambi Pur vlog now.

Unknown said...

Haha, I thought of Eden's Ami Pur vlog when they sprayed us too, but sadly, they weren't wearin roller skates. Maria, we didn't visit Nadi at all, just a whistle stop at a supermarket to get supplies like bottled water and snacks. We did stay at the coral coast, just on from there and that is definitely worth it, I will have more posts to come. From what I could tell, there isn't a lot of shopping to do in Fiji (and to me that's a good thing). You can buy stuff like sarongs and t-shirts and coral and shell jewellery but that's about it and the prices are fairly uniform (and cheap) everywhere. Just get ye to a resort, relax and stay there really ... unless you want to do trips to other places, which are also awesome. But from what I saw of Nadi I wouldn't stay there.

MIchelle E said...

Looks awesome.
Would love to know - which is best for a child - Warwick or Shangrila?
We're planning a trip to Fiji next Easter and Shangrila is currently at the top of the list!
My only tip to add: when we did the river trip to the villages, I so wished I'd taken some good but second-hand clothes and books from home. They have so little up there...

Unknown said...

Michelle, how old is the child? There was much more to do at the Shangri La for the kids and it was much nicer, although Aspie Mr 10 found it a bit challenging as it was bigger than the Warwick. It didn't have a swim up bar or a spa (swimming one) for the kids either. But definitely I would recommend the Shangri La, food was nicer too, and the kids actually wanted to go to the kid's club there as there was so much to do for them. The kids were treated like royalty throughout, staff remembered their names. Food was nicer too, and there's a spa for Mumma to pamper herself when the kids are busy at kid's club. They will also look after the kids with a movie at night if parents want some alone time! They have movies on the beach at night too ... I could go on and on!

Wanda Deals said...

Still spray you for quarantine? I am a bit shocked! But your trip seems to have been more pleasant than mine several years ago with the same company! It is good they improve their food because back then it was a total disaster!

Ms_MotorbikeNut said...

Pleased to read that you all had a lovely flight. How much was the trip all up if you care to tell.

(((( Hugs )))) XXXX Kisses XXXX

traceyb65 said...

loving reading about your lovely, well-deserved family holiday … keep it up, Bronnie, you have an appreciative audience who love the positive energy you radiate. xt