With it being two weeks since I returned from the tropical paradise of the Cook Island, and to my eyes, the tan working its way down the 50 Shades of Brown scale (“you’re so tanned Sam”, say my colleagues, but what do they know. I need me my freckles!!), I thought it an ideal time to ponder over the memories that I captured in beautiful Rarotonga.
Stepping in to my Uber at 6am on a standard wet Auckland Friday, I made my way to the airport for an egg McMuffin and a freshly updated Kindle, oh, and a flight to Rarotonga. One of my better Fridays that’s for sure.
Air New Zealand are a 10/10 airline, and I’m happy to admit my significant other has made me a travel snob, and now I can only fly with the best. I only opted for the Seat & Bag option, but I didn’t need feeding and who needs movies when you have the aforementioned reading device in hand, oh, and ten episodes of Friends available on the screen in front of you.
Even though I didn’t have a window seat, in less than four hours I could see the beautiful blue skies and clear waters below us as we flew down safely to the 32km island, that was to be my home for the next ten days.
With a wee pick up included to my accomodation, and being advised that the seatbelt was unnecessary round these parts, I enjoyed the scenic 10 minute drive to Rarotonga Backpackers. Upon arrival I was advised the office was closed until maybe tomorrow morning, “it’s Island time here, you can pay at any point during your stay, just relax and enjoy yourself.”, given my room key and that was that. I immediately changed out of my air-wear and in to my beach attire, and made my way through the spacious kitchen, outside dining area, past the pool and touched the sand. That was me, just looking out into the water for the next hour. I quickly went to the local ‘Friendly Mart’, grabbed some water and skipped back to watch the beautiful sunset. West coast location meant I had this treat to look forward to every evening during my stay.
With the kitchen being put to use, and the eye lids getting heavy, I headed to my room and travelled to Blanket Bay via an hour or two of reading.
Waking to the sound of noisy roosters, island bugs and the warmth of sunshine, I hovered around the entrance way and the sandy ways for the arrival of my chum travelling over from Sydney.
The two of us grabbed our beach towels and by 9.30am we were the only two on our private beach catching up over the last 2 years it has been since we last really nattered together. It was beautiful! The scenery, the weather, the water, the tranquility and the giggles.
With all our talking, we worked up quite the appetite, and therefore a short walk down to a local resort, we made the choice of a tasty plate, and a glass of something refreshing and carrying an alcohol percentage.
With our tummy’s full and our throats getting dry, we headed back to our accomodation so Nic could take a nap, and I could enjoy some alone time treating my skin to some new freckles and completing my first, of seven, book that I was to enjoy over this trip.
The next few days were much of muchness, minus the alcohol. My English chums would be surprised that I, me, only had two alcoholic drinks whilst here. Dang I’ve changed! We explored the local markets: with its cultural representations, music and dance, food and locals. We snorkeled in the many beautiful lagoons around the island. The supermarkets and its fantastic range of NZ supplies. The relaxed service of the island bus(s).
Captain Tamas and his crew treated us to a fun filled few hours on their glass bottom boats. Heading out to a beautiful clear lagoon to do partake in some snorkeling, followed by a tasty fresh yellow fin tuna BBQ, a coconut show and a session or two on how to tie a local sarong. All that, and a bunch of raging hot sun.
Returning to the off ramp at Muri beach, we enjoyed some relaxing time in the cooler waters, before evening fell upon us and we went to the night markets. More fresh fish and flavours filled our bellies, before hopping on the bus back for a night of nattering with our fellow Backpackers.
Nic left the island after a we enjoyed a tasty brunch, on Thursday. I spent the afternoon after her farewell gaining more freckles down at the beautiful beach which had become the doorstep I didn’t want to leave behind.
Friday was the day I got around to some full on day long exploring. I hopped on the bus and went around the island, twice, followed by a waltz around the town, chatting with the locals, getting involved with their daily routines, listening to the locals play the ukulele, enjoying some local food and taking it all in. Exploring the lush green views on the north of the island were something that I found really peaceful and managed to take on some meditation from a new angle.
The final sleep was a disturbed one. With a mixture of excitement of heading home and the sleeps reducing until I got to see my chap again (I don’t think I’ve ever missed anyone as much as I missed him on this trip!), the sadness of leaving this beautiful island of paradise, so needless to say, when the sun rose on my final day here, I made a green tea and headed to the beach to enjoy the peace of the dawn. A quick shower and pack of my belongings, I checked out and started book number 8 over the crashing of the waves until departure time arrived early afternoon.
As excited as I was to walk through my front door back in Auckland, the relaxation and utter calmness and just general way of life I endured in Rarotonga, will stay with me, pulling me back, with the other half in hand, as soon as I obtain some more annual leave allowance.
Kia manuia! xxx