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Our final Bula time.

straitman

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Mexico has a cumulative 19% tax on tourist lodgings. Plus a hefty departure tax embedded in the air ticket.

I don’t begrudge this either - Mexico is not a wealthy country and has a bunch of challenges. Tourists should make a contribution.
Yes. And with paying for hotel rooms, restaurants, activities, taxis, etc, we are certainly making a contribution to the local economy, particularly employment.
Remaining OT a little longer and attempting to put a little perspective on it. Fiji has a much different tax base than countries like Australia as hardly anyone pays income tax because they don't earn enough to do so.

I would encourage people to keep going there but to seek out some of the alternatives available. In Fiji there are, IMHO places as good as the IC and much better than the Sheraton and much cheaper than either. -- Our Timeshare resort at Pacific Harbour costs $FJ900 per week for accommodation.
 

drron

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So now on to QF1579.Surprisingly they had PB and it basically worked.3 people from the general lane did come into the PB lane in front of us but only one was spoken to.i guess the other 2 weren't expecting PB to work.
This flight was different for us as the first time we have flown J on this sector.Just not worth it but this was a J award through to NAN.We hadn't had brekkie so ate the egg tart.
1576278801540.jpeg .

Didn't eat the spinach.I had gone off it when I realised my mother was doing me harm by making me eat all that spinach that is full of iron.Though the iron is in a form not generally available to ordinary folk us C282Y homozygous special people can absorb it to add to our potential problems.
I slept for at least a third of the flight.

On landing at SYD mrsdrron noted a Hercules which was involved in bringing back people from NZ.Off quickly and to gate 15 to get the bus over to the International terminal.i really don't see the problem with this.We are used to doing this at Changi as we use CX a lot from SIN.

Now to the frustrating bit.If we had paid for this next flight with QF we would be on the QF codeshare and get to the Flounge.but as an award ticket with QFF you are put on the FJ flight number.fortunately a J award so we get into the QP.Fly in J and tough.So although QF owns a considerable bit of FJ and FJ is now an OW Connect member it all means diddely squat.

So to the QP.Our Mr.Bintang shirt and family are here along with many others in similiar attire.A few children running amok.We managed to find the last 2 chairs in the people requiring assistance section.well by now my hip was really in need of assistance.At least you get to read the papers here for free.
Boarding was meant to start at 1235 but when we arrived at the lounge it was already pushed back to 1300.So at ~1215 went and looked at the lunch offerings.Well apart from steamed rice and a small dish of zucchini these were the hot options.
1576279676609.jpeg . 1576279693768.jpeg .

A not very appealing vegetable lasagna and Korean beef stew sans beef.there were a few bits of potato in the sauce.so I wandered up to the cold offerings.this was the centrepiece.
1576279797297.jpeg .

A kale Caesar salad.No thanks.Hopefully the food on the plane would be good.
 

drron

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Bill we live about 400 metres from the beach so that part of Fiji is not of great interest to us.Basically we go for the Fijian people.
We have gone the timeshare route.Ours was in NYC and we were lucky to get into it just months after 9/11 and out of it when Hilton wanted to do a major refurb when our dollar had crashed so we made a profit.But we were lucky.Most people end up loosing money and after many years we were finding it harder to use our points on things we wanted to do.

On top of that you still have to eat and that is now expensive along with any activities you want to do.
As for the Sheraton we have been there many times.We know still a lot of staff and their families.Even get invited to their homes.So that is why we go there.
 

straitman

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Bill we live about 400 metres from the beach so that part of Fiji is not of great interest to us.Basically we go for the Fijian people.
We have gone the timeshare route.Ours was in NYC and we were lucky to get into it just months after 9/11 and out of it when Hilton wanted to do a major refurb when our dollar had crashed so we made a profit.But we were lucky.Most people end up loosing money and after many years we were finding it harder to use our points on things we wanted to do.

On top of that you still have to eat and that is now expensive along with any activities you want to do.
As for the Sheraton we have been there many times.We know still a lot of staff and their families.Even get invited to their homes.So that is why we go there.
Ron,

I understand you sentiments and simply offering another option that works well and cheaply. We belong to a Village at Pacific Harbour (Galoa) and one that does it tough. The Village near Denarau (name escapes me) who own the Denarau titles are pretty well off by FJ standards.

The TS works well if set up properly. The property is almost always fully booked and is run, with oversight, by all local people. Cheap to get into and inexpensive to stay. As I said $FJ900 ($A600) for a week for up to 6 people. Many cheap restaurants or use the kitchens in the units.
 

drron

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Now Bill you are getting close to politics.Yes the villages near Denarau are better off than most but not as well of as they used to be.In 1996 their was a reorganisation of land titles on Denarau.The hotels are native lease,the port and surrounding residences freehold and the rest including the golf course to State land.
Then after the 2006 coup led by the still PM the Great Council of Chiefs was first suspended and then abolished.This altered the rights of the indigenous population so the Government can amend land title with basically no input from the majority of the indigenous population.

Although Fiji is thought of as a former British Colony it was a protectorate with the Chiefs giving to the British Foreign affairs and some other duties on a 100 year agreement which stated at the end of 100 years fiji would be returned to the Chiefs.The 100 years would have expired in 1974 but the British gave them independence in 1970.
I have already talked to a couple of the older male Fijian staff here and they say there position has deteriorated this century.
 

drron

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So off to the gate a little early for mrsdrron to look at a couple of shops and for me to get a little duty free pleasure for the next 2 weeks.Decided on a litre of the Botanist thinking of @juddles and @JohnM.
The gate area was a zoo and obviously going to be a full flight.Lots of young kids playing ball games with parents taking no notice.
PB however basically worked with the interlopers in the premium queue being ejected before boarding started.So to the seat on FJ's 359.
1576309077725.jpeg . 1576309101445.jpeg .

Some good storage space and leg room.
1576309646607.jpeg . 1576309659647.jpeg .

Wifi but it costs.
1576309696114.jpeg .

Now I got on very well with the FA on my side.Greeted her with a ni sa bula and a big smile which was returned in spades.However we sat on the plane for a good 45 minutes before push back which meant I could have a second glass of champagne.I could tell I had become a favourite just looking at the second glass.
1576309897465.jpeg .
I was offered a third glass but declined.just before push back it seemed we were going to have a real tail wind.
1576310036691.jpeg .

But finally a little after 1400 we pushed back.
1576310075185.jpeg . 1576310093623.jpeg .

1576310144184.jpeg .
 

drron

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Now to the menu and wine list.Pretty basic.
1576310511050.jpeg . 1576310527744.jpeg .

First the meal from NAN then our lunch menu.
1576310572124.jpeg . 1576310587460.jpeg .

The wine list.
1576310614031.jpeg . 1576310631483.jpeg .

1576310651382.jpeg .

Soon after take off the FA came to me first to see what I wanted to drink.I picked the pinot noir.She replied at Fiji airways we have a rule that if you have a bottle of pinot noir opened you must finish that bottle.I happily agreed but then dozed off.But awoke soon after due to a PA announcement and there was my large glass of wine.
 

drron

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Now the actual food.First an NP inspired salad.must have fought hard to get the few shavings of carrot and 3 miniscule pieces of cucumber.
1576361780398.jpeg .
The garlic bread was cold and extremely hard.
Mrsdrron had asked for the fish but was given the chicken first.They were able to swap to the fish.
1576361930098.jpeg . 1576361949187.jpeg .

The fish literally was as hard as a rock and the risotto missed 1 important ingredient-rice.
I decided fortunately to go with the vegetarian option.
1576362123096.jpeg .

The rice was hard and stuck to the plate so left.The mushroom and the cauliflower elements were excellent but portions too small.
Finally the cream tart which was OK.
1576362284039.jpeg .

There was quite a wind.Not quite a tail wind.
1576362382995.jpeg .

After my third glass of the pinot I drifted off to sleep again.
 

drron

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just before landing an announcement was made that we should stay seated until people who had to make a Suva plane were off.As you would expect the whole of the Y cabin was standing as we reached the gate.Many more than just the Suva pax deplaned before the J pax were able to start.Lots of Y pax already at the luggage carousel before us including the young Indian girl who we sat across from in the departure lounge.Her resemblance to Saint Greta was remarkable enhanced by the fact that she had a perpetual frown.

But lucky for us priority baggage works on FJ and we proceeded through customs straight after the pilots.Our transport had just arrived.We were about an hour late.Approximately 50 minutes later we arrived at the IC.A little wait and a golf cart took us up to the Club Intercontinental lounge where we checked in.back into a golf cart with our bags to be taken to our room-10 metres away.
First impressions were amazing.
1576367738968.jpeg . 1576367756147.jpeg .

1576367775715.jpeg . 1576367788405.jpeg .

1576367806972.jpeg . 1576367822934.jpeg .

1576367837993.jpeg . 1576367852450.jpeg .

1576367877537.jpeg .

And a welcome fruit platter.
1576367930585.jpeg .
 

drron

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The view the next morning.
1576373423500.jpeg . 1576373442483.jpeg .
1576373494841.jpeg . 1576373519017.jpeg .

1576373545713.jpeg .

The plunge pool has been a godsend.Twice a day 30-60 minutes exercise in the pool putting my hip through the whole range of movement without any pain.Basically just when I first get up does it really annoy me.
 

drron

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Off to the club for our first breakfast.Decent but certainly not exceptional.The view though is wonderful.
1576375042317.jpeg . 1576375057707.jpeg .

1576375096522.jpeg .

Fruits etc are on a buffet and you order your hot brekkie.
1576375181167.jpeg .

Mrsdrron had the wake up juice.Colourful.
1576375242163.jpeg .

I had the eggs Benedict and she the Island breakfast sans sausage.
1576375296343.jpeg . 1576375314762.jpeg .

Then the long walk back to our room-the end of the path.
1576375360090.jpeg .
 

DC3

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Some great photos there. Certainly looks like the on-board food (and aircraft) has improved from the Air Pacific days.
 

Antoallison

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Looks like a great hotel ..

by the way how are those matching family shirts coming along ? Was Mrs Drron able to find a dressmaker ?
 

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