Thursday, December 11, 2003

Getting Out Of Fiji (1 of ?)

That was pretty much it for the cruise.  We put the engine on shortly after that and cruised back to the marina.  When I got back to my hotel, I did some laundry and wrote the first few Fiji entries in the journal.  I also dove into the swimming pool.  Twice.  (Hey, I had two swimsuits I wanted to get the salt water out of, and this seemed like the quickest way.  Rest of the hotel guests musta thought I was nuts.)

And now...  the rip off that is known as Fiji Departure Tax.

Everything I'd read (EVERYTHING... including the shit my travel agent gave me) said that you had to save 30 Fijian dollars (cash only) to pay the Departure Tax when you leave at the airport.  OK fine.  When I'd used the internet that night, I used everything but my last 30 Fijian bucks and a little random change.  (With other countries, I don't mind taking spare currency home 'cause I figure I'll prolly go back again sometime -- but I just didn't see myself hitting Fiji again, so wanted to end this at zero.)

Next morning, I go to use the internet and learn (dammit) that, although the SHOP takes credit cards, their internet usage is cash only.  I end up about 7 bucks shy of the departure fee.

No worries.  The guy shuttling me to the airport says we can stop at the Arrivals Side of the airport, where there is a cash machine.  My flight is leaving in an hour -- figure I'll just pop up, get cash, and we'll drive to the other side of the airport.  Riiiight.

There's a long line.  And the line isn't moving.  Because the ATM is out of service.  We're told it's 'cause the woman from the bank branch (Bank of New Zealand) to which it is attached is refilling it.  We wait five minutes.  Ten.  Someone from the line just goes to the counter and gets a cash advance on their credit card.  I'm still waiting.  (So is my driver.)

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