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Hanging out with Honeymooners in Fiji

November 13, 2009

  We chose Fiji as our final destination of our Great South Pacific Adventure, because it was on my Bucket List, and because it would shorten the flight home by about 4 hours.  Great Decision!!  From Christchurch, New Zealand, getting to Fiji is a journey in itself–first a flight to Auckland, NZ, and then a flight to Nadi (pronounced nan-di) on the mainland of Fiji.  From there, we helicoptered to the island of Tokoriki, a quick 15 minute flight.  There are ferries that serve the islands, but they run only twice a day, and our flight arrived after the last ferry. 

There is no check in desk at the Tokoriki Island Resort.  A staff member seats you in the patio bar,and serves you a fruity drink, while you handle the paperwork and receive a briefing on the layout and facilities of the resort.  And, before they escort you to your “bure”, staff members assemble with their musical instruments and sing a welcome greeting to you.

The Fijian people who we met are friendly, happy, and outgoing.  They introduce themselves, quickly learn your name, and joke around with you.  The women were frequently found laughing, dancing, singing, and they giggle a lot!  The Fijian word for welcome is “Bula”, and it is used as a greeting every time you meet, even passing on the sidewalk.  Tourism is the major economic driver, and the Fijians are smart and natural marketers.  Most villagers earn their living by working at the resorts.  They have a lot to market–the islands are some of the prettiest that I have ever seen.

Fiji is a group of 330 islands spread over 250,000 km of ocean.  Tokoriki Island is in the Mamanuca Islands which are famous for their spectacular islands, pristine reefs, and deserted beaches.  Northwest of Tokoriki is a small group of islands which includes Camel Island, named for its shape, and the Sacred Islands where legend says the first Fijians originally landed.

From the front of Tokoriki Island Resort you can see Monuriki Island which is where the Tom Hanks movie “Cast Away” was filmed.  Monuriki is a deserted island with a beautiful sand beach.  Two endangered species make Monuriki their home:  the crested iguana, only found in Fiji, and the Hawksbill turtle. 

During our stay, the resort was filled mainly with honeymooners, which only enhanced the romantic feeling of the island.  We decided we would act like honeymooners too–drink Champagne and go to bed early! 


Every time we visit a beach, we draw a heart in the sand, and have someone take our picture.  We have been doing this since we visited our first beach together in Naples, Florida.

We learned a few Fijian words while we were there:

  • Tokoriki:  Stay Here!
  • Sega na lega (seng-a-na-lenga):  No worries!
  • Sota tale (soh-tah-tah-lay):  See you later
  • Moce Mada:  Goodbye for now

The food at Tokoriki was excellent.  During the Melbourne Cup, we had a barbeque which included Spanish Mackerel, which became one of my favorite new foods when we had it in Port Douglas, Australia.  And I developed a new favorite, Kokoda (Ko-kun-da), a ceviche-type fish dish.  The chef gave me the recipe, which I will share with you.

 Kokoda Recipe


  • 1 kg Fish Fillets
  • Half Cup Lime Juice
  • 1 Cup Coconut Cream
  • 1 Tbsp red capsicum
  • 1 Tbsp green capsicum
  • 1 Tbsp tomato
  • 1 Tbsp onion
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 red chili


  • Cut fish into small cubes 
  • Place fish pieces in a bowl and marinate with100ml lime juice and a little salt 
  • Store marinated fish in refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours (overnight is best) 
  • Wash fish and drain the water out
  • Mix with coconut cream, capsicum, tomato, onion, chili, remaining lime juice, salt and pepper
  • Garnish with capsicum strips
  • Serve chilled, immediately

The resort served it as an appetizer in a half coconut shell, which made a nice presentation.  Since I do not keep a chain saw in my kitchen to halve the coconut, I will probably serve it in a lettuce cup. 

It was hard to say goodbye to Fiji.  The ocean, the views, the natural beauty, the feel of sunshine on your skin, the pleasure of being with the Fijian people, and the joy of sharing the experience with someone you love made for a magical experience.  I had tears in my eyes as they seranaded us with the goodbye song.  Fiji was, by far, my favorite place on this great adventure.  Moce Mada, Fiji.  You never know, I may have to return to this perfect place.


Tips for travelers to Fiji

  • Take advantage of the extensive Duty Free shopping at the Nadi Airport before you go to your island.  Shopping on the resort islands is minimal, and you may wish to take wine or other beverages with you, as drinks are expensive on the islands.  If you are helicoptering over, be mindful of your luggage weight limit.
  • Take plenty of sunscreen. 
  •  Choose your island and resort carefully.  Some are better suited for families with children; others cater to couples and/or adult groups of friends.  Some have bigger/better beaches than others.  Some are better suited for swimming/snorkeling than others.  Make sure you get what you want.

Living Like Royalty at the Crown Towers

November 11, 2009

 I think everyone will agree that travel is full of surprises–some great, some good, some not so much.  Our hotel room at the Crown Towers in Melbourne was a jaw-dropping  surprise.  It was not one room, but 3!  A living room with a sectional sofa and chaise, a comfy chair, a desk with chair, a marble-topped bar lit by a crystal chandelier, a coffee table filled with current magazines, and a huge flat screen TV.  The floor to ceiling windows were dressed with lovely drapes and light-filtering Roman shades, both electronically operated by a remote control.

The bedroom had a king size bed with exquisite linens, another flat screen TV and the same remote control window scheme.  A dressing/closet area connected the bedroom to the bath, and what a bath it was!  Marble floors, a jacuzzi tub, separate water closet, dual vanities with a crystal chandelier over each, a large marble shower with multiple shower heads, and another flat screen TV.  What a pleasant place to relax and recover from jet lag. 

The public spaces were lovely also.  This sculpture was in the main lobby

Crown Towers Lobby Sculpture Melbourne Australia

Tips for Travelers to Melbourne

  • Try to avoid Friday flights from LA.  It is the most crowded day to fly, and it brings you into your Melbourne hotel at a very busy time–all the weekend guests are checking out
  • Early in your visit, take the free city trolley to get acclimated to the layout of the City.  The tour is narrated, and provides great information about the buildings, parks, neighborhoods you are passing by.  Ride the whole circuit–it is a great way to get your bearings; then you can go back to the things you want to see.

Why I don’t like B & B’s

November 10, 2009

  On our recent trip to Dunedin, New Zealand, I was reminded why I don’t like B & B’s.  We were driving from Queenstown, and entered the address of our hotel, Fletcher Lodge, into the GPS.  We had never been to Dunedin; we didn’t know where we were going, and we were having a difficult time just reading the road signs because we were driving on the left hand side of the road!  The GPS voice said, “approaching destination on left.”  We did not see any hotels–it was a residential neighborhood–and then we saw the sign–Fletcher Lodge.  “Oh, No!”  I said– “it’s  a B & B.”  

The property itself was really lovely–a large historic home that had been lovingly renovated, and charmingly furnished, so as far as B & B’s are concerned, it was really nice.  But, it was a B & B!  Some travelers love to stay in this type of accommodation, but we’re  just not B & B people. 

B & B’s seem to be located in quiet residential areas.  Give me a lobby bar for an after dinner drink, and a location that has a coffee shop on the corner, and restaurants within walking distance!  B & B’s tend to be in older buildings, with dim lighting and floors that creak, and I feel that I am disturbing the other guests just walking to my room–creak, creak goes the floor.  And then, there is the problem with morning coffee–Breakfast begins at 8 AM–there is no way I can wait until 8 AM for my first cup of coffee.  And, have you ever noticed how the owners hover as you move through the public rooms?  Like they are making sure that you don’t steal the silver coffee service. 

So, fellow travelers, what do you think?  What is your preference–downtown hotel or B & B?

My Bucket List

November 9, 2009

DSC_0467 edited small pic

  Jim and I, along with our good friends and traveling buddies, Tom and Sue,  were sitting on the beach at Grand Case in St. Martin talking about where we wanted to go for our next trip.  Lots of ideas and locations were mentioned.  Most of them sounded pretty good, when the thought came to me–we need a plan!  We need to thoughtfully make a list of the places that we want to go, and then work from that list.  And that is the way our “Bucket List” came about.  We agreed to individually come up with 10 places that we really wanted to visit.  Here is what we came up with:

  • Fiji
  • Bali
  • Paris
  • Niagara Falls
  • Venice
  • Cap Jaluca
  • Belize
  • Australia
  • Play golf in all 50 States
  • Cruise on one of the Sea Dream Yacht Club boats
  • Rent a sailboat and sail for a year
  • Antarctica
  • Brazil
  • Turkey
  • Baltic Sea
  • Russia
  • The Nile and Egypt
  • Alaska
  • Peru
  • South Korea
  • China

Do you have a bucket list?  What’s on it?  Have you been to some of our choices?  Let me hear from you.  As we work on our Bucket List, I will write about it and share the stories.

My Experience with Malicious Software

August 31, 2009


I am not a techie, but had a chance to play one this weekend. Saturday morning, I began my computer routine–check email, check Facebook, check Twitter, find out what is going on in the world, and I started getting Security Alert pop-ups. The pop ups said I had worms, trojans, and evan a trojan horse, and gave me the option of ignoring the security alert or blocking the threat. So, of course, I elected to block the threat–which took me to the Personal Antivirus web site which said that if I wanted to disable the threat, I would have to upgrade my version of Personal Antivirus at a cost of $59.99. I thought to myself–this must be a promo software program that “came with” my computer when I bought it, so I will run a scan using the Security Package that I bought to protect our home system (desktop, 3 laptops, external storage, 2 printers). Full System Scan started. Favorite computer out of commission during scan.

Six hours and 3+Million files later, the scan reported that 22 instances of bad stuff had been found and cleaned! Yea! I can get back to normal. But wait, the pop ups are still here. Did Kapersky not recognize these worms and trojans? Did Kapersky not do a thorough job? Since I also have Windows Defender on the system, I decided to run it–maybe it is smarter than Kapersky. Full system scan started.

Ten hours and 3+Million files later, Windows Defender told me that my computer was risk-free. Great, now I can catch up on the things that came in during the hours that the computer was scanning. But wait, the pop ups are still here. I conclude that since both Kapersky and Windows Defender have given the computer a clean bill of health, the problem is with Personal Antivirus, and I will simply uninstall that program.

I go to Control Panel, Change/Remove Programs, and look for Personal Antivirus in the drop down menu–it is not there. How can it not be there? I decide that I must have just overlooked it. So, I change the size of the icons so I can more easily recognize the little yellow shield that represents Personal Antivirus. It is not there. I go to the Start Menu, search Personal Antivirus, and it’s there! I play around with the drop down menus, and finally find one with Properties, and find out the name of the file that I want to remove is PAV.exe. I go back to Change/Remove Programs, but it will not let me enter PAV.exe–you have to select from the drop down menu.

What do I do now? I do what any non-techie does, and Google PAV.exe. I learn that this is a “rogue anti-spyware program to come out of a company called Innovagest 2000, that is installed by a trojan called Zlob, which attempts to trick you into buying an alleged rogue anti-spyware program. Once you are infected with Zlob, a fake security menu appears”

Now what? After some looking around, I find the Microsoft Security Site, and download Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool Kit (KB890030), and do a full system scan. It has been running for 14 hours, 41 minutes, and looks like it is about 60% complete. Will it work? I will let you know.

Real techies, what do you think? I am prepared for the comment, “If you were using a Mac, you wouldn’t be having this problem”.

Sunsets, one of my favorite things

May 23, 2009

DSC_0467I love a great sunset.  I think it is Mother Nature’s way of celebrating the end of the day–she is saying, “Sit back, relax, have a glass of wine, and watch the show.”  

The most amazing sunsets are those on the water–lake or ocean.  I love the way the colors are reflected in the water.  Here are some of my faves.  

Do you have photos or memories of favorite sunsets?  Share them in my comments!


Sunset at the Farm--Missouri

Sunset at the Farm--Missouri


Another remarkable sunset at the farm

Another remarkable sunset at the farm

Florence, Italy

Florence, Italy


Virgin Islands

Grand Case, St. Martin

Grand Case, St. Martin

Kauai, Hawaii

Kauai, Hawaii

Some in our viewing party claimed to have seen the “Green Flash” with this one.

How I caught blog fever

May 17, 2009

DSC_0467      I have always enjoyed keeping a journal, especially when I travel.  Two years ago, we took a 6,000 mile road trip covering the western United States, and I thought I was being pretty high tech by journaling on a laptop–until the hard drive crashed, and we lost everything–photos, journal and all.  It wasn’t until the husband and I applied for The Best Job in the World that I came to appreciate the wonderful world of Blogging.  First, an amazing woman named Susie Parish created a Ning group for all the applicants at .    This provided a venue for all interested applicants to promote themselves for the job, share information about Australia and the Great Barrier Reef, and get to know each other.  It contained links to the Blogs of the candidates that had blogs, and some were really fun.  One of the first that caught my eye was by AnnyChih, a recent marketing graduate from Vancouver, who gave me advice on how to tweet–type, type, type.  Shawn Welch, a techie, engineer type who gradated from K State entertained his readers every Friday in his blog, The Aspiring Aussie, with facts about such topics as how to do a a Tim Tam slam, and the Australian delicacy Vegemite!  A fellow sailor, John Naylor, who lives aboard his sailboat in the Whitsunday Islands, not only blogs, but posts videos on his  convinced me that this is the way to record your thoughts, ideas, and travel memories.

Application photo for The Best Job in the World

Application photo for The Best Job in the World

Hello world! This is my first post. I will be writing about my passions: Golf, Sailing, Travel, Cooking, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. If you share these interests, come back and leave comments.

April 21, 2009