Sunday, June 5, 2022

Diary of a Fiji Quarantine: Day 4

I’m up fairly early this lovely Monday morning and enjoy a cup of the sweetened Nescafé instant coffee Kathy found for me.

Last night’s dinner was the best so far: Spaghetti Bolognese with a side of Bruschetta. There’s always that momentary suspense when I view the black bag.


Not my best effort in plating it, but the results taste good.

The pasta is not overcooked, and the sauce is rich and satisfying. The Bruschetta is soggy, but that’s the way toast comes out of their machine here. All in all, a fine dinner.

This morning brings disappointing news from Kathy. She awoke with cold symptoms and a headache, and tested herself positive on a home RAT. Darn! We’d hoped she had escaped it.

Hopefully she’ll have as mild a bout as I’ve had. We’ve already let our recent close contacts know. One neighbor has been reading our blog and called Kathy pro-actively a few hours ago to offer help, deducing correctly that she would catch it. Thanks, Angela! That’s 10 days after I’m 95% sure in retrospect that I was exposed to it at the Melbourne Friday evening meet-and-greet. 

In other news, I had an epiphany when ordering my breakfast this morning. Maybe the folks who take the orders don’t know what it says on the actual menu. That would explain yesterday’s lonely three-egg omelette.

This morning I fought my way through a weak telephone connection to order the Big Fat breakfast, using the menu as a script.

“I’d like scrambled eggs, no baked beans, wilted spinach, tempered tomato, substitute chorizo for the chicken chipolatas, sautéed mushrooms, with a side of grilled sourdough. I’d also like a pot of coffee.”

A pause, followed by a tentative “scrambled eggs? No beans?”

We went through it again. Shortly thereafter my phone rang. Another employee wanted to hear my order again. Does my accent enchant them or just confuse them?

Lon and behold - the order arrived in reasonable time.

Scrambled eggs? Check! No Aussie baked beans? Check! Wilted spinach? Check! Hash browns? Check!

The sautéed mushrooms are not to be. I see a tidy stack of chicken sausages rather than the chorizo I’d requested to sub. My personal theory is that we ask quite enough of our chickens without demanding sausages from them, so those remain in the tub.

The “grilled sourdough” is the same raisin bread I’ve  enjoyed earlier, and it’s not bad, especially slathered with some of the peanut butter Kathy left with me.

By the time I realize the carafe of coffee didn’t arrive, the moment had passed. 

Overall, it was an ample and tasty breakfast.

I’m again sitting out on the balcony. It’s peaceful and not too hot at 11:00AM. The tenant in the adjacent unit (these bure bungalows are duplexes) is making a few more of the same unsettling gsgging noises he or she made yesterday, but no more of the more disturbing noises emitted earlier. Encouraging!

Kathy said Friday the hotel GM told her he would call me the next day. The Wellness Ambassador said I should get my Fiji  $215 PCR results. Mañana ? We once lived on an island and understand the concept of island time. 

The Wellness Ambassador calls me at 11:40AM to ask me if I have everything I need. She asks if I’ve gotten my PCR test result yet. No I haven’t. She will check on that.

The bottom line? If I’m on that plane Thursday night, I’ll be satisfied.

Sula, yet another lovely person, calls me from the front desk around 1:30PM to make sure I don’t need anything. 

Two phone calls in one day - it breaks the monotony.

P.G. Wodehouse is a favorite author, and I'm finally getting around to watching the BBC production of Jeeves and Wooster, based on the classic short stories Wodehouse wrote about the likably nitwitted British upper class Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, his all-knowing gentleman’s personal gentleman.

I’m interrupted by a knock on the door.

“Your results,”’ says the employee as he retreats. I pick up the envelope and open it inside. Yes Covid-19 is DETECTED in red letters.

I look more closely and notice that the patient named is a female born in 1974. I wonder if she has my results. Fortunately they’re Covid tests and nothing more, ah, intimate. They do contain full names, birthdates, and passport numbers. 

I put in a call to the Wellness Ambassador. She’s out to lunch. Ah yes. I’m sure we’ll talk later.

She does call back, I do get my proper test result delivered with apologies, and tomorrow I will try to make contact with FijiCare Insurance to start a claim.

The employees are all friendly and all doing their best to help me, often in their second (or maybe even third)
language. It’s not hard to forgive or overlook the slip ups.

It’s also not hard to notice that another day is slipping by and the cocktail hour will soon be upon me. Hmm. Tonight I think I’ll have a Fiji Gold Beer followed by Jacob’s Creek Shiraz Cabernet as I peruse the dinner menu.

And so it goes.

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