Sunrise over Muri LagoonWe've had a wonderful week in Rarotonga, with our daily routine consisting of swims in the pool or the lagoon, snorkeling on the reef (a 4km scooter ride away), exploring by scooter, dining out, and of course an afternoon snooze most days. Our friends Wendy and Phil were a great help, providing transport and advice, plus some nice meals, and of course lots of good conversation. We learned quite a lot about Cook Islands politics and economics in the process; for a place with a population a bit smaller than Oamaru, they seem to have an awful lot of government!
I'll give a fuller account once I have time, but we found the Cooks a lovely place, with friendly and helpful locals, quite sophisticated hotels and restaurants, and easy transportation options. Buses run clockwise and anticlockwise every hour during the day, the speed limit is 50km/hr for cars and 40 for scooters (no helmets required), and nobody speeds. (Just as well, the roads are not exactly freeways.) The abiding impressions are of friendly people, graves all over the island in front yards, feral chickens (moa), and motor scooters - hundreds of them.
We arrived back in NZ on Wednesday morning; going from 25o to 4o is a rather startling change of temperature, though of course we knew that would happen. But knowing it and feeling it are two different things, as I'm sure a famous philosopher must have said at some time. In other words, we're home to a clear but cold Christchurch winter day.
The flight home from Rarotonga is quite an ordeal; the bus collected us at 11.45pm from the hotel. We'd paid an extra $100 to keep our room till 6pm, then we ate at the hotel and watched TV in the lounge. The flight left at 1.50am, and we tried to get some sleep during the 4 hour trip, but with limited success.
We then had to negotiate our way through customs and immigration in Auckland at 4.30am, before a 7am flight to Christchurch and the shock of hitting the early morning fresh air. An odd thing we both noticed when unpacking - the contents of our suitcases were noticeably warm!
We'll catch a few hours' sleep at some point today, I'm sure, then we should be back in sync with reality for work tomorrow morning. I have heaps of photos, which I'll upload to Flickr in the next day or so. Watch this space.