Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Fiji but the Wrong Port! (I won’t mention it, but I will.)

We're delighted to again welcome Karen Albright Lin to Chiseled in Rock!

Karen consults and edits for published and yet-to-be published writers of fiction, nonfiction, and book proposals. She writes in a number of genres and conducts writing workshops in various venues, including on cruise ships.

If you missed her previous blogs regarding Teaching through the Islands, you might enjoy reading them before this installment, as she first shared her preparations in anticipation of teaching classes while on board her latest cruise, discussed some of the downsides to teaching on a cruise, introduced us to new tablemates and the private beach on Moorea, how she was bit in Bora Bora, and then she described her first class while teaching en route to Fiji. On July 30th she shared: Second Lecture en Route to Fiji: A Great Story to Tell.


As we headed toward Fiji, I taught Have an Idea for a Nonfiction Book? to a good crowd in a new venue, the Wheelhouse Bar.

I worried, initially, that people would have to wrench their necks to view the PowerPoint, but they were able to settle in and adjust to the nook style room configuration. 

Everyone is an expert at something and the audience agreed.  Participation went up.  People enjoyed sharing their knowledge of history, hands-on expertise, even modern interpretation of Biblical allegory.  I came back to the room satisfied with yet another class that went smoothly in every way.  It was time to strip off my business attire (jacket over laced camisole) and get into my swimsuit to hit the Jacuzzi and have a cocktail with Wen.

I don’t want to seem like a complainer, but damn it, I’m going to bitch and whine about Fiji.  (Like that rhetorical device?  It’s called an APOPHASIS.  See below.)   

We arrived at King’s Wharf, Suva (the capital of Figi), only to discover that we were on the wrong side of the island, super disappointing since it meant we were nowhere near any good snorkeling.  Fiji is supposedly one of the world’s best diving and snorkeling spots.  We’ll never know.  We had to hire a car to go quite a distance from the port just to get to a yucky beach at a resort where we were trapped and had to buy anything we wanted to eat and drink from the overpriced hotel bar.  

We left our backpack near the boardwalk entrance to the beach so we could walk along the shore hand-in-hand in the rain (growl) and make the best of it.  We returned to find our money had been stolen from it!  Not wanting to sound bitter or judgmental or anything, but can’t people be civilized or at least decent?  (APOSHASIS)  Not that we should blame ourselves for someone else’s crime, but we sure needed to take a few smart pills next time we’d hit a beach!  (another APOPHASIS!) 

It was towel-blanket cold.

Luckily we had a little change in another pocket so we were able to drown our sorrows in a shared local beer.   

Heading back, we told our driver/guide what happened, and she said, “Someone will feel bad this afternoon.”  The idea of Karma is alive and well on the islands.

We had agreed to pay for the privately hired car upon arriving back at the ship and … well, we didn’t have the money.  So I stayed on shore as collateral while Wen went on board to fetch more money from our safe.  Meanwhile, I cooled under a canopy, chatting with walnut-dark local women.  One of them, possibly weighing 400 pounds, was oiling down a tourist’s feet.  Warning: here comes another APOPHASIS.   Not trying to be gross or anything, but those feet were the worst kind of athlete’s feet and the recipient was enjoying the rubdown way too much. 

Under the tent we talked about dollars.  American was the best deal for them since the Aussie dollars aren’t quite as strong.  The Fiji dollar is worth even less at .636.  

The vendors and guides were happy to take U.S. dollars from Wen once he returned with the ransom to buy me back.

Our Fiji experience was not what we’d hoped for, but as Wen says, “We can check it off our list.”  

Apophasis - The mention of something you claim you won’t mention--or pretending to deny what it really affirms. (an example from my all-time favorite TV series: "I don't want to say anything bad about another doctor, especially one who's a useless drunk."- Dr. Gregory House in "Acceptance," House, 2005) 


Thank you, Karen!

I hope you'll join us on August 20th for the next installment: On the Way to New Caledonia!

No comments: