With the dive dates now set we need to find accommodation to infill the few other days we will be in Fiji. Not may days but we don’t want to have to spend them on the street and Nadi does not have an endless supply of hotels.
Debbie does a lot of research and finds a 1/2 dozen we can look into. We send emails. If we get a good feeling from the hotels response we follow up with one or two more emails and then book. As is often the case in places where the weather is warm, the responses are a long time coming, if at all. It takes more than a week to get back enough emails to further our investigation. Even then we are going on our instincts. We reread each hotel review and what their websites have to say to supplement what the emails have given us. None of them answer all of questions and most require a good amount of interpretation.
We decide to book 2 different hotels. One for the trip to Australia, a couple of days stay and a different place for the trip home as we are going to spend one night there between flights. Again, utilizing two different hotels is a bit of reconnaissance for a future trip.
Reservation requests are sent. NO confirmations. None. Wait 5 days and still nothing. Debbie sends follow up emails. One place returns the emails stating they have made the reservation as per requested. Guess one just has to assume that it will all be good, until you are standing at the desk and nobody has any idea you even exist. The second place never did respond. So c’est la vie, we have two more possibilities. Send out another inquiry. Again no response. Quite odd considering these places are in business to make money. After a second email this reservation is confirmed and it looks likely we have a bed for each of the extra nights in Fiji.
Next stop, Southport, Australia. We are there for 11 days and the only criteria for a place to stay is to be close to our son’s place. Weird even though we are headed to the tourist capital of Australia we cannot find a hotel in the vicinity. We have not used Airbnb before but Debbie has a look to see what is available and there are 5 or 6 places that could suit our needs. We do a little research into their exact location and what each place has to offer and we are left with 2. One seems to stand out with a way more pluses than minuses on the “for” and “against” chart. So after mulling it over for a week and a half we decide to take the plunge and have a crack at renting it.
Wholly crap, the booking page of Airbnb is fussy. It takes us about an hour to break the code and get the booking to be posted to our perspective host. Our first problem arises when Debbie tries to book the place under her account (I don’t have an account at this point) and pay for it with my visa card. That maneuver kicked us right out and onto some weird uninterruptible page. After a few more snafus, opening an account under my name and have the owner reset the reservation under my new account, a couple of more tries and we are finally able to get a confirmation from Australia. Honestly it was not a very good introduction to Airbnb. If it had not worked and given us some indication as to why it was not working, like a text box stating the obvious about reservation and credit card names having to match, we could have probably solved things quite easily and fast but there was nothing what so ever. The system just kept kicking us out.
We now have a plan for 3/4’s of our trip and have only the Solomon Islands puzzle to solve. I have been working on that and it should come together before the middle of January. Maybe. From my preliminary investigation the Solomon’s are even more laid back than Fiji so we will have to see how it pans out.