Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Fiji Palm Trees

Monday, May 30, 2022

At the DoubleTree by Hilton Fiji - Sonaisali Island.

A lovely spot a tiny boat ride away…

It’s after 5 (yesterday) back home, 19 hours behind Fiji.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Sydney Skyline

Seen from the SYD Qantas Business Lounge International Terminal as we wait to board our Fiji Airways flight to NAN (Nadi). We walked around the top of the Sydney Tower years ago.

After disembarking from our MEL-SYD flight we picked up this big boy.

We traveled on two separate tickets, so we had to carry it to the International Terminal (we used a taxi), check in for our flight, and check the suitcase. 

Time to board…

Going to the Footy in Melbourne

A small group of us had good seats in Marvel Stadium Sunday for an Australian Rules Football match - The Footy.Our Australian friend Lindsay provided an expert commentary and we understand the game a lot better now. It’s quite a spectacle of non-stop action.

Saturday Melbourne Oz Fest Dinner at BangPop

A Walk in the Park in Melbourne

Our Oz Fest activity involved a multi-hour multi-mile walk through a portion of the “King’s Domain” / Botanic Garden on a mild and pleasant Saturday.

Friday, May 27, 2022

The General Assembly at Oz Fest

That’s the name of the very pleasant pub that was our meet-and-greet Friday night venue for Oz Fret.

It was great to see familiar faces years later. About 20% of this year’s participants (6-7 of 32-33) have actually stayed overnight with us in Birch Bay one or more times, so it’s a reunion of sorts.

Breakfast now and off for a group walk in the park later this morning.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Robot Waiters at Din Tai Fung in Melbourne

We’ve dined at this beloved franchise in many parts of the world, but we’ve never seen a robot escorting customers to their tables.

Apparently restaurants here are having so many problems finding employees that they’re resorting to this.

Someone posted a YouTube video of being escorted to the table in this restaurant:

Our human hostess was at least as friendly.

The food is still good and we could see people assembling the Xaio Long Bao.We ordered a second basket.

We also shared a tasty Hot and Sour soup and enjoyed this Crumbed Chicken and Dry Noodles dish. The noodles were a challenge. Was it one 30-foot noodle folded over? So it seemed. Oh for scissors!

A terrific lunch for about US $20 each - not bad for a big-name restaurant in a big Australian city.

At the Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street

We took the Skybus into Melbourne and walked quite a few blocks to the hotel where we plan to stay three nights.

Our room was ready at 11:00AM, a small but attractive corner room on the 13th floor.

Interesting big city views…

Now for lunch.

Melbourne Finally

We’re in our room at the Melbourne Airport Holiday Inn, a stiff half-mile walk from Terminal 1.

The property may have been updated since the 1970s, but we see no evidence.

The front desk employees were exceptionally friendly and repeatedly thanked me for my loyalty as IHG credit-card Platinum. Our “upgrade” to the top floor offers a view of airport parking garages.

After a thoroughly forgettable meal in the hotel’s restaurant, we were ready to sleep.

We’re up early this morning after a good sleep in a comfortable bed. Brian picked up Cappuccinos downstairs and chatted with a lovely young barista who’s off to play college basketball in New Hampshire. 

The employees are indeed friendly and the room is cool and comfortable. That’s what counts.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

The Qantas Club at Sydney - Terminal 3

We enjoyed our NAN-SYD flight on Fiji.

After a smooth landing and a reasonably prompt taxi to the gate, we stood in the aisles and waited easily 10 minutes for someone (a trainee perhaps?) to attach the jet bridge to the plane.

Once out, we walked a bit and printed self-serve tickets at a passport kiosk that allowed us to use the self-serve exits without a hitch.

We were through Customs similarly quickly. Our only minor hiccup was taking the T Bus rather than a Qantas bus to transfer to The Qantas Domestic Terminal 3.  Still, we got here in reasonable time, zipped through security, and are relaxing in the Qantas Club,  access enabled by our OneWorld Emerald status.

It’s a vast club that a Flyertalk friend hosted us into some years ago.

Good coffee, which is all we want at this point.  

Fiji #911 NAN-SYD

It’s the same A350 configuration as our long flight, and we chose adjacent middle seats to see how they compare.

So far we like it, and of course we now know where everything (headphone jacks, USB port, etc.)

We love Fiji Airways!

World Class Fiji Airways Business Class LAX-NAN

We were very impressed with the A350 hard product, and the service was as wonderful as we thought it would be after our previous visit to Fiji.

Two cameras to access!

We chose light dinners and continental breakfasts.

The cabin was cool - almost cold - all night, greatly facilitating our sleep. Bless their hearts!

It’s obvious the days are getting shorter in the Southern Hemisphere as we land about 5:30 AM.

The transit line took awhile and we had to dump our bottles of Fiji Water from the plane (sad!) going through the low-key metal detector security.

Now we’re enjoying the pleasing Fiji Airways Flagship Lounge, complete with plant walls, lovely showers, and great Cappuccinos (extra shots).


We’re feeling quite prepared to board our upcoming five-hour flight to Sydney, again in Fiji Business Class.