Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Trying not to Panic

The days leading up to the big departure were chaotic as was to be expected. But throwing in the extra obstacle of having only just completed my first marathon and the muscle soreness that ensues in the subsequent days made my motivation to continue packing quite lax.

Tim came by for a final good-bye and I was still in the weeding out stage. We experimented with packing techniques but not matter how well I thought my attempt was going the bag wouldn't hold more than its 75 litres. Funny that?

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I think in general the airport goodbyes went rather well. Minimal parental nagging and a sufficient number of tears to satisfy everyone that while we were excited to be leaving we would still miss home.

We managed to board the plane with nearly all our belongings minus one black jumper belonging to yours truly. I ran off the plane and there it was still lying on the chair in the waiting area. I tried not to think about what sort of sign that was. I am sure nearly losing my first possession only a few hours after leaving home meant absolutely nothing.

The flight to LA was uneventful with lots of room to sprawl out. Kirsten and I wandered LAX during our stopover in hopes of spotting some notable celebrities but it was a fruitless search. To this day the most famous person I have ever seen in an airport was Alan Thicke of Growing Pains fame.

Kirsten and I took a sleeping pill for the long flight to the Cook Islands (via Tahiti) We were forced to disembark the plane in Tahiti for a short while and the humidity was certainly a shock to the system. Of course it was much magnified by our ensemble of jeans, sweatshirts and hiking boots. (One thing I've learned from travelling is that wearing ones bulkiest items while in transit quickly becomes a necessity)

Finally we arrived in the Cook Islands just before sunrise. We were loving the quarantine dogs sniffing everyone's bags. Especially the giant golden lab that also proceeded to hump suitcases on the carousel.

At the airport our driver to Vara's Guesthouse greeted us with many Kia Orana's (the only Maori saying I would learn as English is so widely spoken in Rarotonga) There is only one sealed road on the island the circumnavigates the 32km circumference. The drive to the guesthouse gave us splendid views of the ocean and the sunrise. It was also Kirsten's first experience driving on the left hand side of the road.

After arriving in our room we quickly crashed out for several hours to alleviate the jet lag effects.

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