“What’s this for?” I ask. I’m a little nervous; it looks like a massage.
“As part of our check-in, every guest gets their feet and shins sugar scrubbed and then massaged.”
I crack up. Yep, here we go again. She doesn’t know I’m not keen on removing the last few layers of skin I have remaining (especially after the Cousteau sugar rub-down). Suppressing this reaction, I sincerely and enthusiastically declare, “Oh that’s great! I can’t wait!”
As she starts the scrub down, she hands me the menu and asks what I’d like for lunch. Four laminated pages of menu items appear. My eyes cross with all the choices. “Hmmm… what do you suggest Star?”
“Whatever you like.”
“No really, suggest anything – I’m open to anything.”
“Do you like fish, chicken, meat, or vegetables? Choose anything you like.”
“How about fish.”
“We have mahi mahi, tuna, wahoo, and ono today. What would you like?”…
Meals are served on the covered patio, directly across from the pool and adjacent dive shop. Paradise Taveuni has a meal plan that can be small or large, depending upon one’s appetite and budget. If you choose the small meal plan and you’re still hungry after a particular meal, you can always order a la carte. There is no restaurant around “Paradise”, so the meal plan is your only option.
As for the food - it is very good and put together with gourmet flourishes. Allan is a professional cook; thus, the quality of the food and presentation is not surprising.
“Star, this wahoo was great! Please thank the chef. And I especially love this papaya salad.”
“Sure thing, Mr. Scott.”
“Just Scott, without the Mr.”
Star laughs. Besides being the greeter, the masseuse, and the waitress at Paradise, Star has a great personality.
“Mr. Scott… no, I mean ‘Scott’. Hurry up! They’re waiting for you on the dock to begin your shore dive.”
I stand up, put down my napkin, thanking Star again for the meal as I run to my bure to grab my video camera, wetsuit, mask and housing. I then run back to the restaurant and proceed down the steps where I meet Charlie who’s put together the tank with my BCD. After quick introductions, I turn on the camera, videotape Charlie’s description of the reef, put the camera back in the housing, seal it, and jump in the warm, flat water.
“Could you hand me my fins Charlie?”
“Mr. Scott, there are no fins here.”
“Please, just call me ‘Scott’. What do you mean there’s no fins?”
“There’s no fins here. Did you forget to bring them from your bure?”
“UGH!!!!” I jump out of the water, peel ½ my wetsuit off so I don’t overheat in the tropical sun and make a mad dash back to my bure. There’s the fins – right where I left them. “UGH!!!” I yell again.