Tag Archives: Snorkeling

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.

Open Ocean and Open Bars in Maui

Saturday, February 13, 2015

Today we had access to an open bar for a grand total of about 7 hours. Turns out, no one needs an open bar for 7 hours. Ever. We started the day by doing something really stupid. Shocker. We walked down to the meeting point for our snorkel tour, but we somehow missed the tour representative on the beach checking people in. So we waited around a while and figured they were just on “Hawaii time”. No big deal. We went to the nearby coffee shop to get Mar a coffee and when we came back five minutes later, our boat was sailing away. That’s right, we missed it. Enter: Captain Kevin. Or as we like to think of him, Captain Save-a-hoe. A man on a dinghy with the Company’s logo pulled up to the beach, so we ran over and gave him our best damsels in distress act. While he was not happy about it, he quickly motioned us into his dinghy and drove us out to meet our big boat mid-ocean. It was basically the most embarrassing moment of my life. Marissa thought we looked like VIP’s. But I knew we just looked like hungover ass holes. The Captain of the big boat was a woman named Arika (As in the pirate version of Erica). Arika had a nasty case of resting bitch face. Made even bitchier by the fact that we interrupted her safety briefing with our late arrival. Turns out the rest of the crew thought she was a bitch too, and they even called her “THAT”. So THAT is what we referred to her as for the duration of the trip while we avoided her at all costs.

Now here is the way the snorkel tour bar system works: You can only start drinking once you have finished snorkeling, because apparently drinking and swimming is dangerous. I prefer the snorkel tours of Mexico where they send a floating tray of drinks out to you in the water, but we are playing by Maui’s rules here. We jumped in and found a turtle within about 5 minutes. After that, there is only so much coral a gal can look at before that open bar starts calling her name. In our defense, we made it longer in the water than a few other people. We hopped back on the boat and headed to the bar where Eli (who’s name was actually Mark, but we are ass holes and called him Eli all day) made us a concoction of vodka, champagne, and a splash of juice. This guy is basically my bartender spirit animal. How else could he have known that vodka and champagne are my two favorite things in the world?

Mar and I took our seats up on the top of the catamaran and settled in for some drunk tanning. When it was time for our first refills (i.e. five minutes later) I couldn’t help but notice that there was a window right next to me that looked down on to the bar. Being the lazy drunk that I am, I popped my head down so that I was hanging upside down from the ceiling of the bar and requested that Eli (who is actually Mark) refill our drinks via our custom drive-through bar window. I’m not sure if it was shock and awe or disgust on his face, but bless his heart, he obliged. There was a guy down at the bar who witnessed this all take place. He took one look at me hanging upside down like an alcoholic nautical bat and said “I’m coming up to hang out with you girls”. And this is how we met our Maui partners in crime, Adam and Britani. Adam brought his girlfriend Britani up to sit with us. She gave us some side eye while she sized us up, but we quickly all fell into step as we regaled each other with stories of our awesomeness. How awesome are Adam and Britani, you ask? Well let me attempt to demonstrate. Last year on Valentines Day they took a romantic walk on the Santa Monica beach where they fed pigeons a mixture of pringles crunched up with ex-lax, and then laughed as the birds shit all over people. This Valentines Day they got drunk with Mar and I and went to a party on nude beach. I think we can all agree that these two are a bloggers dream. Let’s call them “A&B” for short, because they are going to make many more appearances in the upcoming blog entries and I don’t want to keep writing their names out.

We drank our asses off. There were some other cool people on the boat (although not quite as cool as the four of us). There was a couple from Georgia who are apparently swingers. They were there with the husband’s family. The girl introduced us to her “mother”, at which point the woman corrected her by saying “mother-in-law”. Burn. The teddy bears of the world made an appearance. Gotta love those Canadians. They are just so damn unoffensive and lovable. AAAAAArika made me turn my music off. Buzz kill. Eli broke it to us that his name was Mark. We felt like dicks. Nothing new there. At one point Mar and I were telling A&B that we are actually only two-thirds of the trio known as “DFR”. When I asked him to guess what DFR stood for, he thought long and hard before he said “dicks for reference”. When I inquired as to the meaning, he basically said it means that you are encyclopedia of male genitals. I obviously found this to the funniest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. I’ve asked a lot of people what “DFR” stands for and this was by far the most thoughtful and inventive response.

When we got back to shore we decided it would be a great idea to go to bar. Because that is exactly what we needed after four hours of unlimited booze. So Mar, A&B and I headed to a restaurant on the beach where a bright eyed blonde boy tried to take our drink order. He was quickly overwhelmed by our blatant lack of sobriety and told his manager on us. Literally, tattled on us like a little rat. The manager came over and informed us that he would let us order one drink, but after that he would not be able to serve us. That’s right, cutoff on round #1. It was probably for the best – when you can’t coherently form an argument your only option is to accept defeat at the hands of the sober people. Britani actually got the entire thing on video, but I’m too cheap to pay wordpress so I can’t upload it. Check it out on my insta. Teaser: the tattle-tale waiter makes a shirtless appearance in tomorrow’s blog. Maui is a small world.

Snorkel 5
Can’t imagine why we got cut off….

We parted ways, as Mar and I had to get ready for our Luau and no one who values their liquor license would serve us a drink anyway. We made plans to meet up later that night while we were drunk enough to think we were capable of making it out. Mar and I went back to the hotel room where I promptly died and then resurrected myself with a hybrid bath/shower that consists of drunkenly laying in the tub while the shower is running because you are too intoxicated to stand. It’s a little move I developed in college. There would have been some serious personal hygiene concerns without it. I even had to lay down in the back of the uber on the way to the luau. It was not my best moment. But I rallied. I rallied hard. I’ve included before and after pictures for your reference below. We clean up pretty well for a couple of thirty year olds who drink like twenty year olds.

Did I mention the luau was open bar as well? And when I say open bar, I mean wide open. Those sexy luau men in their skirts made it their goal to keep everyone drowning in booze. Every time I blinked there was a tan, shirtless man asking me if I wanted another drink. Why yes, yes I do. The luau was pretty awesome, despite the fact that our table consisted of us and a Chinese tour group. We tried communicating for a bit, but then I just gave up and offered to take pictures of them. Nothing endears you to a group of Chinese tourists like taking their picture. One of the hot shirtless waiters came by and gave us his phone number on a piece of paper and told us to call him later. Another one dropped a bunch of plates while trying to hit on us. Being the only single game in town is really working out well for us. All you people that said Maui is no fun for single people can bite your tongue. When Rory and Marissa are together, every place is fun for single people. We could find a party at an AA convention. Despite the invitations from the young luau men, Mar and I were down for the count. The plan was to stop in town and pick up Mar’s credit card from last night (yes, we left it at the bar, don’t act surprised) and then head home to sleep. We called an uber, and who came to get us? It was none other than our Knight in a Shining Tacoma, Christopher! Apparently Maui has like 4 uber drivers, so you get to know them.

Now, I know I told you yesterday that today’s blog was ridiculous. But that was before I lived through Sunday. And Sunday is a doozie, my friends. Spoiler alert: the King of Lahaina makes a second showing and a party at a nude beach with our new friends makes for a very interesting Valentines Day.