Andrea: The inter-island catamaran made the 5-hour journey back to the main island and dropped us off at Denerau Marina as the sun was setting. We checked into a hostel and spent a quiet evening catching up on email. The next morning the sun was beaming down and we heard a cheerful song playing from tinny speakers out in the street. Ice-cream man, right?! Right? Nope, not right. Garbage men. Well that's certainly a way to get people to bring their trash out, but what a disappointment.
And then it was 'check in' time for our luxury engagement present! We'd been fantasizing about this moment for months. Our favourite Tulsans, the Helms and the Leikams (no not the Hanson brothers) figured we needed a break from backpacking and checked us into a the 5-star Westin resort on Denarau Island which is an area on the main island. We checked in and I had a very needed pedicure! It was amazing (although I felt a little sorry for the lady since it had been about 6 months since my last pedicure!!). Then we came back to our room, made some drinks and had our own little happy hour on the balcony watching the unbelievable sunset. The balcony had the BEST view of the beach with the sun setting behind it with palm trees in front--seriously stunning. It was the most spectacular sunset we'd seen the whole trip! That night we walked around the resort and the whole place was lit up with tiki torches and little lights around the pool. It looked gorgeous.
Even surrounded by all this luxury, the blood in our veins was still frugal backpacker blood, and we couldn't bring ourselves to take a seat at the cordon bleu beach-side restaurants. Instead, back in our room, we boiled up some Ramen two-minute noodles in the ice-bucket, and slurped up this no-star dinner in 5-star comfort.
The next day our minds were blown at breakfast! We spent a good hour and a half there stuffing our faces and drinking champagne. Yes, champagne at breakfast. It was so good! They had every food you can imagine (even some you couldn't, like Singapore noodles at breakfast!) and we enjoyed every bit of it. We rolled ourselves out of there and into our bathing suits and just lay in the sun next to the pool. They had so many pools we were spoiled for choice when it got too hot! There was even a jacuzzi next to the beach. It had cold water, but it was really refreshing! We just lazed about, tried to play ping pong (the wind hindered that a bit, but I still won 2-0!) and then had to go get ready for our spa treatments! We had a fabulous couples massage (simply amazing) and then Vern left and I stayed on for my moisturizing facial. My skin felt so soft afterward! I felt like a new woman! We were so relaxed as they rubbed away 6 months of strain. Then I raced back to the room so we could watch another magnificent sunset. We made some drinks again and watched the pinks, oranges, purples and blues in the sky before us. We had another wonderful evening and night in the 'Heavenly Bed' (trademarked). Most. Amazing. Bed. Ever.
Then, another fabulous breakfast and it was time to go :( It was the perfect way to end out our first 6 months backpacking. It was time to rejoin the real world and on the way to the airport we passed by many citizens of the real world, businessmen earning their keep serving the community's needs. Two at a time: we passed by a place specializing in Food and Wine.. and Furniture! Imagine the buyers remorse if you bought a sofa as an impulse buy when you just meant to pop in for a bottle of red. Another sign, above above a small office, read 'Real-Estate Professional and Massage'. What a talented guy! Though these services might actually be symbiotic: imagine an agent walking a disappointed customer into his customer back into his office after a long day looking at unsuitable houses, "Nothing you liked eh? Feeling a bit downhearted? A bit stressed out? Need a massage? Great, well let me just clear this stuff off my desk..."
A Fijian band strummed their ukeleles and sang us off as we boarded our flight and bid farewell to beautiful Fiji and its wonderful people.