Trip Start Apr 17, 2006
Trip End Apr 16, 2007

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Flag of Cook Islands  ,
Saturday, May 27, 2006

Kia Orana everyone... (Written May 29th delayed in sending due to no interner access)

We arrived in the Rarotonga (Cook Islands) safe and sound, after a tedious night flight from LA, which included a stop in Tahiti for a few hours. With the time difference and lack of sleep on the flight, we were pretty tired out when we arrived Sure that you all feel for us, the fact we're on a paradise Island!?!? It was raining on arrival though, which is never a good start either!
The Island of Rarotonga is smaller than we expected and can drive around it in 20 minutes. So the 12 days ahead of us (that being the original plan anyway!) to explore the place, should be enough! We were booked for the first 2 nights in the Tiare Village hostel. It was situated on the fringes of the rainforest and surrounded by palms tree and lots of greenery. This is all very lovely, but this kind of surrounding, come with a downside... The mozzies and critters were in abundance! The spider watch was on! The resident family (extended) of lizards, were a good sign though. As you can see from the pictures, we had a unique little chalet and luxury beds in the form of 2 mattresses on the floor!
Well, as it decided to rain for the first 2 days (literally pissed it down!!)so we enjoyed very lazy days. We were pretty much the only people at the Tiare village, so socializing was not an option. Dan did however crack us some Coconuts, which were very nice and FREE! We were fairly close to the main township of Rarotonga (Avarua), which is no more than just a few shops and cafes, along with a small port. A few hours will cover everything there is to do in the capital!... Due to the fact the Cook Islands get all their food shipped in from New Zealand, makes buying even basic food, very expensive!! Well, just to keep the rainy days interesting, we had the first spider experience of the trip. It was loitering in the shower and all was kept surprisingly calm. It was an ugly black spider and slightly bigger than the biggest you get in the UK. Needless to say, our quaint opinion of the Tiare village was instantly quashed. Least it had happened on the last day!!
After 2 days of rain we moved on, sporting plenty of bites! We were even more tired from the fact that, there were things scurrying around in the tin roof above our heads all night. Then when you did eventually get to sleep, we were rudely awoken at 5 am by cockerels! Oh well! Our next stop was the east of the island, in an area called Muri beach. This side of the island showed how beautiful it is here. The water was so clear and the sand so white.. Apparently the snorkeling is amazing.... Our next hostel was Varas, a cool and comfy place situated on the beach, as well as dorms up the hill overlooking the sea. We only managed to get dorm beds up the hill. Dan was looking forward to sharing a single bed for a few nights, just the keep the non existent sleep going. The others in our little house were a nice bunch, so made it a fun stay. We had a few nights out, including an Island night, which consisted of local dances and songs. Dan got felt up by one of the islands transvestite type folk. This went down well with fellow backpackers.
Well!!... By the fourth day it hadn't really stopped raining for more than a few hours and Lou was worrying about the lack of tan!, so it was decision time... Some others in the hostel decided to change their flights to leave a week early and go to Fiji. We weighed it all up. We looked at the fact that it's so much more expensive here, Fiji's weather was better and rain was forecast in Rarotonga for another week. The other problem was the fact that there is only 1 flight a week to Fiji. So it was either leave this Saturday, or have to stay for another week. As nice as it is here, the choice was made to change our flight and move to Fiji early...
We made our last day worth while by hiring out a moped and touring the island. We at least felt we had seen a lot of what there was to see before our premature departure. Our flight out to Fiji is at 1am on Sat. The mind blowing bit about it, is the fact we cross the date line and will be 3am on Sunday morning when we arrive!! I don't think we were destined to sleep much here!!! So fingers crossed that Fiji will be better weather and more within our budget. We'll let you know how we get on. Take care all and keep mailing us, it's great to hear from you all. Lots of love x x x

PS - We are currently unable to download pictures so will send another update when the pictures can be attached. Look out for the HUGE BLACK HORRIBLE spider!!!!!
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