Friday, July 20, 2012


The Rice family's southern hemisphere road show continued last week, with a trip to Fiji. At least that's what it says on my passport; more accurately it could be said that I spent my time in a country called "The Sheraton". Not to say the visit was anything less than satisfying - 6 days escaping chilly Canberra mornings and getting away from it all, was time well spent. Still, I don't feel that I can enlighten my readership on anything remotely Fijian. Unless $20 cocktails and ping pong by the pool has its origins in the south pacific.

I can say that people from Fiji or at least the ones that work in the resort territory of Denaru Island, are very friendly and impeccable hosts. It took me a while for me to realize that a word that began with the prefix  "Bulla" is a warm welcome and not an expletive, but once I did I got right into the spirt, drinking Bullajuice and listening to Bullamusic on the Bullabeach.

We took a cruise to a remote Fijian island, attempted snorkeling and kayaking, while channelling our inner Tom Hanks from Castaway. My snorkeling session lasted about 15 minutes with my face mask fogged up, my snorkel tube broken off and floating away and my mouth full of saltwater. Yes, the coral is pretty and the fish are colourful; back to boat for more rum please.

The golf course at Denaru was directly across from our villa and the proximity made for a quick 18 holes. All participants were outfitted with golf carts and I hopped in and sped off for my round. The first five holes take you away from the clubhouse and once I got to the furthest reaches of the property I experienced the most pressured situation I have ever faced on a golf course. Radically alone, my stomach began to gurgle with white hot intensity. Unable to sit back down in the golf cart for fear of...well, you know.... I scanned the area for anything that remotely looked like the "gentleman's". Unfortunately all I could see was a ram shackled building named "Security" and it was either that or I would need to convene with nature in the middle of a patch of coconut trees. I waddled to the security edifice which looked like a Cuban Military Installation and I surprised 2 uniformed female officers with a meek yet desperate plea to use their facilities. My request was received with a smile, nod and a finger pointing to the most remote confines of a darkened corridor. Having received the answer I was looking for I never looked back. Once relieved of my burden I took the time to look at the walls of the hallway on my return to the door and on them were posted pictures and descriptions of Fiji's most wanted. Thankfully none of them resembled an aged, stocky white man wearing slightly feminine Oakley pants and a geeky looking Cleveland golf hat. I thanked the two officers profusely and resumed my appointed round. The rest of the round was typical. a one under par front nine followed by a disastrous inward side or as I would later characterize it Bulla$*&%; though nothing a $15 gatorade and a $30 slice of pizza couldn't cure.

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