I was going to write a blog post about the cool stuff I’m hoping to do this year and then it occurred to me I probably shouldn’t ignore the cool stuff I’ve already done so far – some of that, as far as I’m concerned, is very much worth writing about.
Like, for example, when I went to Rarotonga for Valentine’s Day and miscalculated everything and ended up letting the International Dateline eliminate the 14th of February 2011 out of our lives (we left Rarotonga at the end of the 13th of February and, four hours later, landed in New Zealand, where it was already the 15th of February. And yes, C. totally used that as an excuse not to get me a present. But then again, so did I).
That has been, so far, my most amazing experience this year. Why? Well, for one thing, it was a total last minute kind of trip, which I love. Much like the trip to Beijing in 2009 (which shall be blogged about too, just for the record), this was a last-minute spur of the moment kind of thing… one of those situations where you’re munching on your lunch at work, browsing websites, and come across an awesome promotion that you think you’d be silly to pass on. A few days after booking the tickets, we were boarding the flight to the biggest of the Cook Islands.
The first night was spent at the cheapest possible backpackers, which we nicknamed “cockroach palace”. We didn’t turn the light off to sleep, we didn’t even take our shoes off or open our bags, to avoid letting any creepy crawlies in – yep, that bad.
Luckily, the following nights were spent at what I believe to be the most amazing room at the most amazing resort on the island (I mean, it has to be because anything better would just blow up the scale of awesomeness). I ticked off the bucket list two things I’d never done before: snorkeling and kayaking.
The best part of the trip was, without a doubt, the cross-island trek with our local guide, Pa. I know it sounds lame but it was kind of life-changing. So amazing I should probably write a separate blog post about it but, in the mean time, I’ll just say that if you’re going to Rarotonga, you better book a hike with Pa otherwise you’ll be missing out on an amazing experience.
The island, albeit small (you can drive around the whole island in about 45 minutes), has a lot to see. The jungle is filled with little treasures and the beaches are much more beautiful than I could describe to you.
I know Rarotonga is out of reach for many people in the world – and that’s okay, you’ve got other little slices of paradise close to you. But the Cook Islands are too accessible to New Zealand and Australia to justify any Kiwi or Aussie missing out on them. Go. Go now. I tell you that, even if you miss out on Valentine’s Day, it’ll still be the best non-existent Valentine’s Day ever.
* As winter reaches New Zealand, I thought the next best thing about warm coats, hot cups of coffee and comfortable knitwear would be to remind myself of how much I enjoyed the past summer. It is also a good reminder of the good times to look forward to when the next summer comes around. Oh yes it is!