the long journey home

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May 30th 2010
Published: June 13th 2010
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8:15 am Eastern time and we’re awaiting the last flight of our long trip—Philly to Raleigh. The last couple of days on Matamanoa Island continued to be relaxing and fun. On Friday, Ken went out for another dive late in the morning. I opted to get a facial, which was done by a woman named Kara in my room. She cleaned, exfoliated, oiled, and moisturized my face. I haven’t had many facials in my lifetime, but this one made me think I need to get them more often. With the sound of the waves, the breeze in the coconut trees, and the sweet smell of her natural face products, I was in heaven. And then she gave me a jar of papaya moisturizer to take home.

I took the opportunity to ask Kara some questions while she set up her table and potions. She said most people working at the resort come from Siti Levu and work for 24 days, staying overnight on Matamanoa, and then they go home for a 5 day holiday. A tough life, but when living in a country with 25% unemployment, what choice do you have? She was trained at a spa school run by the same British woman who owns 3 branches of the spa. Kara has never left Fiji, but she told me she plans to go to London later this year.

After a leisurely lunch (as things in the restaurant operate on extended “Fiji time”) the afternoon was spent with more of the same—maxin’ and relaxin’. On Saturday our flight did not leave until late at night, so we checked out of our room in the morning and then spent the day at the pool and snorkeling. First we went right outside the front of the resort, but the tide was pretty low and I was afraid I was going to get scraped up on the coral. So after lunch we went to a place on another side of the island near the helicopter pad called Lover’s Bay where Ken had gone diving the day before. Once you get out past the coral, it drops off about 65 feet, which makes for a cool swim and lots of interesting wildlife.

We then showered and cleaned up in the day room, settled our bill, took the little glass bottom boat out to the catamaran, had an hour ride to Denarau Marina, and then a half hour car ride to the airport. Since then we’ve flown 10 hours to LAX, had a 9 hour layover during which we got a room at the airport Marriott, had a 5 hour flight to Philly, and another 3 hour layover. I am definitely ready to be home!

But the long journey is so worth it because overall the trip was amazing—it far exceeded both of our expectations in terms of being a very relaxing, exotic, romantic honeymoon. We couldn’t have asked for anything more! Ken is already planning our next trip—perhaps Venice and Athens in the spring. And we’ve got our next dive sites picked out—the Red Sea, Maldives, and perhaps Palau. I am so thankful to have ended up with someone who loves to travel as much as I do. And even though he hasn’t been to places nearly as foreign as I yet, he is (mostly) open to explore such places with me. I thought my life as a travel bug would be something I would mostly do on my own because it is so difficult to find a good travel partner, but it seems as if I got very lucky and found not only a life partner, but a travel buddy as well.

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