A long day of traveling started out pretty good! The plan was to get to SeaTac and get through the TSA screening and find a place to watch the beginning of the Seahawk game before we got on our plane to Los Angeles. We have not idea why but we were put in a TSA Pre Check line – or at least I think that is what it was called. Anyway, super short line, did not have to take off shoes or take laptop out of luggage… So we actually got to a bar before kick-off. The way the game started we were pretty sorry, though.
The very first leg of all our flying was the only leg that would be in coach class. Our seats were way in the back and the weirdest boarding I have ever done at SeaTac took place. Rows 19 and higher had to go outside, down some stairs, across the outdoor tarmac and load from the back. I’m sure glad it was sunny. All the others boarded normally from the front. Anyway, no room for our carry-on luggage and we would not check ours so it was under the seat in front of us and our knees were pretty much up to our chins, but our medicine, my jewelry and the laptop plus important papers were in them and I was taking no chances.
A short 2 hours later we were in L.A. and extremely quickly got our luggage and took a shuttle to the Air New Zealand terminal to check the luggage again. I had figured all that and back through TSA screening would take over an hour plus. It took only about 20 minutes. Because we were flying First Class (actually Business on Air New Zealand because they don’t do a first class) we got to spend all of our wait time in their VIP lounge with lots of food, free beverages, including mixed drinks, wine, champagne, etc. The layover was long but very comfortable.
Our flight took off at 10:45 p.m. so it was sleep time most of the way of our 10 ½ hour flight. I actually slept most of the way. Gar watched a couple movies and slept some. We arrived to a rain shower on Rarotonga but it was a warm rain. It was only 6:30 a.m. Our shuttle took us to our resort but our room was not going to be ready until at least noon, so we did a quick clothes change into something cooler and asked the front desk for advice. Instead of taking a taxi into the main town which would have been $30 each way we took the local bus which comes every hour. They have a Clockwise bus and and Anti-Clockwise bus. You just wave one down if you are not at a stop. For $8 each we were able to go to town, so some minimal shopping, get our Cook Island driver’s licenses and take the bus all the way around the island back to our place. We got back and our room was ready so it was perfect timing.
We are in Villa #1- right on the beach. It is a great room with palm trees all around us and a fantastic view of the reef and the ocean. We have a hot tub but have not used it yet. The sun sets right in front of us, but we were out last night when it set to missed it.
Everything we heard about the Cook Islands and the people seems to be true. It is a super friendly place and other than petty theft it is very safe. It is extremely clean and they are big on recycling so you don’t see much trash along the roads. Because of their close affiliation with New Zealand, the New Zealand dollar is the accepted currency, but they have a few unique coins only good here. One is a triangle shaped $2 coin.
Yesterday Garry rented a motorscooter to get us around for a couple days. First we had to get the local driver’s license for $20 (picture and all) at the police station, then he had to rent the bike, take a driving test at the rental place (5 minutes & $7) and take the rental agreement and the test results back to the police station and get his motorcycle endorsement. If our Washington license had shown a motorcycle endorsement he would not have had to do that last part. When we are back on Rarotonga next week we will rent a car instead. It is pretty scary for me hanging on the back, no helmet and reminding Garry to stay on the left. Plus it is really warm here and the sun gets to you.
We are still getting our internal time clocks adjusted so were asleep pretty early last night so of course were wide awake at 5:30. After a light breakfast we took off on the motorscooter around the island again. One goal was to go to the Pacific Resort and check out where our room might be located when we stay there. It looks like a great place and we have one of 4 upstairs ocean view rooms. Any of the four would be great but we put in a request for one of the end ones and they are going to try to accommodate. It is a much larger resort than the one we are in now and more families. The lagoon there is much better for watersports so we will probably do most of that stuff there. Even though it was much busier it was still nice and laid back and super friendly.
So, all in all, the trip has been a fantastic success so far.