Tuesday, 4 January 2011
Car. Plane. Bus. Boat.
Packing was pretty hard work. The Plan A stuff was easy - swimmers, rash vests, board shorts, it was the contingency planning that was trickier. What if it was unseasonably cold? Throw a jumper and a pair of trackies in. What if there is no washing machine? Throw in some extra shorts and T-shirts. What if you need to 'dress' for dinner? Throw in a collared shirt and some enclosed shoes.
Then there was the issue of Christmas and Birthday presents. The questions had been asked by the kids: "Will Santa find us in Fiji?" and the "Of course" that we responded with was not well thought out. If only we had thought to get Santa to come early or late this year so that we didn't have to lug all the presents across the Pacific Ocean. Santa kindly brought small, thoughtful gifts this year. It worked okay.
Four giant bags later, we were packed and ready to rumble.
We arrived at the airport at 6am. It took more than 1.5 hours to 'check in'. I couldn't believe it! There was a massive kerfuffle about the twins being 'infants' (their birthday is Christmas day and we were travelling on Christmas eve) but had their own seats booked. Note to self: Never travel on the eve of a child's 2nd birthday again.
They weren't allowed to have their allocated seats (although we had paid for them) so had to sit on our laps (side by side) which meant we had 5 people in three seats. Lots of fun for the four hour journey!
We rushed to board the plane after grabbing a bite to eat for some exorbitant cost. Next note to self: Never buy food at the airport again.
As we walked through the plane looking for our seats, you could see the people in the rows we passed doing air punches. Celebrating that we weren't sitting next to them. We were quite a spectacle I suspect.
The aeroplane entertainment got quite a lot of consideration in the packing stage. Things that are light and can entertain children for four hours had me stumped for some time....hmmm...the 1001 Things to Spot books were a winner, as was 50 Things to do on a Plane. The toddler naps were a saving grace as was, dare I say it, the DVD player we hired from Virgin and Cousin A's DS. The trip went surprisingly smoothly. That is until we hit crazy turbulence and the storm that was over Fiji as we were arriving. Nugget thought it was cool, like a 'roller coaster'. Doo Dah freaked. The twins just held on a little tighter.
We were picked up at the airport and taken by bus (in the rain) through the Christmas Eve traffic in Nadi to a boat at the marina. I wished that we could have stopped at the local markets - the pineapples looked amazing from the bus window - but there was no time for tourism.
The boat was quite scary. A little tinny that didn't look equipped to tackle the unsettled waters and allowed the rain in. We were soaked before we even took off. The driver was however gifted and managed to get us all to the Island with only a few audible inhalations and squeals from me. I couldn't help but think we would all be doomed if we capsized because all four of my children are non-swimmers. The travel sickness tablets I had taken didn't help me fight this feeling of doom. I felt like I was tripping on mercury and had to concentrate to keep my eyes open. I doubt I could have swum for my life let alone saved anyone elses. Note to self: Just the one tablet on the way home.
But we arrived safely. Car. Plane. Bus. Boat. It had been a long day and it was only 4pm.
Have you travelled overseas with your children? How did you find the experience? Any tips for young players?
Tune in tomorrow for more on the Fiji adventure...