I don’t want it to sound like we kept Alfie locked in a cupboard for the first five years of his life but he’d actually never had an encounter with what he called ‘The Black People’. And for some reason he had a terrific fear of ‘The Black People’ and this was despite my best efforts to let him know that God made us all the same but in different shades and that ‘The Black People’ were lucky because they didn’t have to wear as much sunscreen.
Just after Alfie’s 5th birthday we went on a family holiday to Fiji. We flew Jetstar and were right up the back of the plane where they put parents with children. Flying Jetstar was an okay experience. Borderline okay. I hate how you have to pay for any sustenance and any little niceties to make your uncomfortable flight more bearable. I’d rather pay more for my ticket and have everything included than have to search for an elusive wallet in a handbag wedged under the seat in front of me every five minutes so one of the kids can have an entertainment console, a drink, a packet of chips, nuts, chocolate, junk, junk and more junk.
We flew back Virgin Blue, another budget airline that was no better. Whoever invented budget airlines clearly had no intention of ever personally being a passenger. Fortunately the flights to Fiji from Sydney are only about three hours long and that’s long enough when traveling with kids at the back of the plane on a budget airline.
The teenagers found Alfie’s fear of ‘The Black People’ highly amusing. Continuously during the flight they let Alfie know that Fiji is full of ‘The Black People’ and delighted in seeing Alfie look more and more frightened as we approached Nadi. When we landed Alfie took my hand and said with eyes wide open and a look of sheer terror, ‘I’m ready to meet the black people now’. More riotous laughing from the teenagers.
We took a taxi to the Fiji Beach Club and Spa run by Hilton on Denarau. I know a lot of tourists prefer to stay on some of the islands further away from Nadi but I wanted to keep the time spent traveling to a minimum. Denarau is just 20 minutes from the airport so we left Sydney early in the morning and were poolside sipping champagne by the afternoon – perfect!
The best thing about the Beach Club is that it is a relatively new resort with additional accommodation only recently completed. You don’t have to stay in one of those ridiculously small hotel rooms with an inter-connecting room to where your children are staying. We stayed in a two-bedroom apartment that had a kitchen (not that I did any cooking), a laundry (I did all my washing before leaving Fiji so we didn’t arrive home with bags of dirty, smelly clothing needing immediate attention), two bathrooms, a living room and two terraces – plenty of space for everyone in the family to spread out and not be on each others nerves.
The resort has six or seven swimming pools and if you don’t like swimming with children that’s fine because there’s an adults-only pool that’s relaxing and of course, peaceful.
The beach isn’t the best I’ve seen but you can take a short bus ride to Port Denarau and go on a day trip to some of the islands where you’ll have white sand and excellent snorkeling. We went on a day trip that took us past the island where the Tom Hanks movie, Castaway was filmed.
The Fijian people are wonderful and we became friends with many of them. Nothing is too much trouble and they love children. Alfie was cured of his fear of ‘The Black People’ and he was transformed from being full of fear to never leaving them alone. He was only too sad when it was time to fly back to Sydney and has continuously asked me every school holidays ever since, ‘Are we going back to Fiji these holidays, mum?’
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