The Truth about Strangers and Snorkeling

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Today is the birthday of the blogs’ biggest fan, as well as one of its most revered characters. So as Kim Ortloff turns a year older I think it only right that we talk some shit on strangers in the blog today. Nothing says “Happy Birthday” like a good old character assassination. Or as if often the case in this blog, a firing squad.

Today I was up bright and early at 6am once again and decided to try out the new beach with a morning run. Low tide wasn’t for a few hours so I stumbled through the sand slowly and painfully until I was joined by an adorable puppy who nipped at my legs as if to say “hurry up, fat ass!”. We ran down the beach in one loop before being joined by another dog, and before I knew it I was leading a wolf pack of Fijian muts on a morning jog. Steph joined us on the beach a few minutes later, sending her dog-hating energy out into the universe, thereby scaring off my furry canine posse. My run was followed up by breakfast and a fabulous 9am massage in which a strong Fijian woman covered me in more oil than a seal on a BP ocean drill. It was pure heaven. By the time 10am rolled around I was feeling accomplished and relaxed, so a lazy day at the beach followed.

Lunch was a buffet today, and was without a doubt the best meal I’ve had in Fiji thus far. That might be because I had to work so hard for it. The Hello Kitty Krew descended on that buffet like a cloud of locust. They don’t just pass by a buffet table, they stake their ground and pillage it before anyone else has a chance to figure out if it’s chicken for fish. It’s been a while since I played basketball, but I believe these girls play what is referred to as a buffet zone defense. They each take an entire table and guard it with their life. At one point two of them boxed me out of the grill station while they asked for another helping until their plates could hold no more. If I’m being honest, their strategy and dedication was impressive. You’d be surprised how few people know to load up on the meat instead of wasting precious plate space on fillers. The Kitty Krew then takes a communistic approach to eating, where the spoils of the buffet war are shared by the entire group. While I find them absurdly annoying, I do understand their dedication to meal time. However the blatant disrespect for personal space is unforgivable. There is nothing worse than someone breathing down your neck as you attempt to dress your salad.

After lunch while all the kids where at their afternoon activity, we swam out and took over the floating kids club. The resort has a little floating jungle gym with a slide out in the water for the kids to play on. I’ve been eyeing it and carefully plotting my takeover since the day we got here. I’ve had an awkward obsession with inflatable play equipment ever since that time I was turned away at Disneyland’s Goofy’s bounce house for being too tall. Or maybe I was over the weight limit. I had a very awkward chubby period around 1994 so that might have been it. It was traumatizing. We floated out into the lagoon on our rafts for the takeover, like a nautical Golden Girl’s version of the Hells Angels. After managing to hoist our thirty something butts onto the floating playground and a few runs down the slide it became very apparently that we were too old for this shit. I slipped trying to get up the slide. A lot. We clumsily fell down the slide, losing bathing suit bottoms, along with our dignity. There was no point in attempting to defend our newly conquered playground from the younger and more agile enemy. So we flew the white flag, returning the kids club to their rightful owners, retreating back to the water to lounge lazily on our rafts for the rest of the afternoon.

Jorgie and I took the paddle boards our for a spin around our little lagoon in the late afternoon. No snorkels necessary here, as you can simply look down and see fish and coral as you paddle. I do, however, feel it necessary to note that the other travelers here are fucking obsessed with snorkeling. They do it for hours on end and then discuss the best snorkel locations ad nauseum over their meals. There are two grown men sitting at the table behind me at breakfast at this very moment as I type this blog who are talking about snorkeling. I shit you not. Out of sheer coincidence. How is there nothing else for these people to discuss? Has the Brangelina split not made it to the southern hemisphere yet? When a fellow resort guest finds out you stayed on a different island, their first question is always “how is the snorkeling over there?” As if the number of mediocre fish and amount of slowly dying coral is the measure by which all vacation destinations must be measured. The best part of this bizarre snorkeling obsession is that I’ve seen half of these lazy ass holes standing on the coral, thereby killing it. If you are such a snorkeling snob, shouldn’t you know the dos and don’t of responsible and sustainable snorkeling tourism? Perpahs if they didn’t snorkel for three hours at a time they wouldn’t be so tired and in need of a multicolored, living, breathing leg rest in the ocean. Steph’s theory is that they think they look cool with snorkeling gear on. If you want to look cool, go spearfishing. Learn to sail. Rent a jet ski. No one thinks those goofy goggles and walking like a walrus is hot. And just like that, my disdain for the masses and their lack of general self awareness and basic knowledge grows.

Paddle boarding around the lagoon
Paddle boarding around the lagoon

After our leisurely day in the sun we decided to kill the last of our duty free vodka, so we set up a little BYO happy hour by the pool. Three glasses of ice for the tan ladies from LA, and keep ’em coming! The San Francisco boys sat across the pool and we spent the majority of happy hour talking about whether or not they were gay. The sexuality of strangers is a far more compelling topic than they color of the fish on the south side of the island. So here is our set of facts: They are traveling together, they sit at tables catty corner instead of across from each other, they are from San Francisco, they over utilize their wrists when making hand gestures, one orders colorful fruit drinks, their hair seems to have more personality than they do, they really like snorkeling. All these facts point to gay. Yet for some reason, my gaydar is not going off. The girls are convinced, but I’m waiting for one tiny little bit of PDA before I make my final ruling.

To our left were the latin ladies. I have decided to refer to them as “the big titty committee”. I have pictures but the wifi here is complete and total shit so I’ll have to add them later.  One has an oversized pair and the other’s are quite respectable. The big ones are 100% real, but I’m not convinced the medium sized tits would be worth such a substantial investment at that size, so I’m trying to plan a run-in with them a la Elaine in the steam room (Seinfeld reference). Other than their tits, the only facts to note on these girls is that they spend all their time on their phones and I hear “the thong song” in my head every time they walk by. But they’ll make another appearance tomorrow and really piss me off, so stay tuned.

We showered at got ready for dinner, mentally preparing ourselves for the blatant laziness, contempt and apathy that are the cornerstones of “service” at the restaurant here. We have found that the issue is primarily the women wait staff (bitchy women, what a novelty). The men, who mostly work at the bar, are quite helpful and friendly. That is obviously just because of my tits, but you gotta use what you got. Sadly the female staff are immune to my newly tanned and chocolate croissant toned body. I can only assume these women received their impeccable training from the California DMV. When you approach them to ask for something they first attempt to turn around and walk in a different direction, pretending they didn’t see you, in the hope that you will become discouraged and just eat your fries without ketchup. If they must maintain their current direction they will just walk past you, avoiding eye contact and feigning ignorance to your pleas for a fork. On the off chance you do manage to stop one in their tracks and ask for something as superfluous as water or salt and pepper, be warned that these items will come on “Fiji time”, as they fold tomorrow’s napkins or hide in the kitchen killing time while your bland food gets cold, before bringing you hot sauce to enjoy with your last bite. I’m actually looking forward to the friendly and efficient service from the LAX TSA employees upon my return.

The one bright shining start in dinner service here is the awesome band that plays live music every night. They are a Fijian threesome who’s favorite genre is country music. And they are fucking awesome. They will make another blog appearance tomorrow.

I haven’t even started to tell you about the kids here, who walk around like they own the place. A misguided trait that they no doubt inherited from their coral crushing parents. But I’ve got a massage to get to, so that will have to wait until tomorrow. Spoiler alert: the Hello Kitty Crew goes on a pre-tour shopping spree in the dive shop gear room.

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