We Finally Rented A Car, Rarotonga, CI

So this was the day … we decided to rent a car. Our original intention was to rent bicycles and just use them for transportation, we even brought our bike helmets with us, but it wasn’t feeling like a safe option given how narrow and busy the road was. Renting a motorcycle, while cheaper, wasn’t making me feel a whole lot safer, so a car it was.

Pretty Sunrise this morning.

 In order to get a slightly cheaper rate, $45.00 per day, we rented the car for three days, which is probably all we will need. The only roads on the island circle the coast, there are no roads over the mountains in the middle of the island, so there wasn’t lot of driving to be done. The main reason for renting the car was to visit some different restaurants and do some souvenir and grocery shopping.

Our rental car … they drive on the other side of the road than we are use to so it took us awhile to get in the right sides of the car 🙂

The bus is a good option if you don’t want to rent a car but it is expensive, only runs every half hour so it’s not great when you have several stops, and it makes many stops so it is slow going.

It is so lush here!

We had lunch at Trader Jack’s and the food and atmosphere were great.

Trader Jack’s has an interesting history. The restaurant was only open for six months in 1987 when Cyclone Sally wiped it out. It took a few years to rebuild but was hit again by Cyclone Pam in 1997, which did about $80,000 worth of damage.

The views from almost every table are amazing!

In 2005 Cyclone Meena came along and caused a $1,000,000 worth of damage. Now much of the building can be dissembled on short notice if there is a serious threat of an approaching cyclone.

If you look at the top of the glass doors you can see plates that can easily be unscrewed and the doors can be taken out if a cyclone is approaching.

 After lunch and some shopping it was back to our villa for an afternoon of swimming and relaxing.

Until next time …

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A Lazy Day, Rarotonga, CI

I asked hubby, while sitting at breakfast, “What do you want to do today?”

We took a kayak out to the reef and checked out the coral. Hubby went right up to the reef, I was chicken and stayed further back.

He replied “we have to go to the office and get them to replace the burnt out bulb in our kitchen and we were going to rent a car”.

The coral was still pretty where I was.

“Hmm that seems like a busy day”, I replied.

“Yes it does”, he replied

So in the end we went to the office and let them know about the light and then we went back to our villa, put on our bathing suits and spent the day at the beach. Maybe we will rent a car tomorrow 🙂

I meant to mention in yesterday’s blog, when talking about the price of the bus, that The Cook Islands use New Zealand dollars, which is worth .928 Canadian.

These fish were very friendly but it was hard to get a good picture of them with my underwater camera because my camera is about ten years old and it is next to impossible to see the screen when the camera is under water. So I just point, shoot, and hope for the best, it worked with the coral but not so much with the fish.

Until next time …

A Day Around The Island, Rarotonga, CI

Today we toured the island on the local bus.

We decided to buy day passes for the Island Bus, which is not cheap, $16.00 a day per person. The price per trip is $5.00 for an adult or you can buy a ten-trip punch card for $30.00. In retrospect we should have bought the punch card but we didn’t and in the end the day cost us $4.00 each more than it could have, but oh well, we had an awesome day and that’s all that matters 🙂

The road around the island is thirty-two kilometres, 20 miles, and there are two bus routes, clockwise and anti clockwise … seriously that is what the routes are called. So we sat on the bench outside our villa and the first bus to come by was the anti clockwise bus so off we went.

We enjoyed great views of the beaches along the way.

It was probably a twenty-minute ride before we arrived in the main city on the island, Avarua, so we decided to get off and wander around. Avarua is on the north side of the island and the reef surrounding the island is very close to shore so you do get some great waves crashing into shore.

I spent some time wandering around the gift shops but to hubby’s delight I didn’t spend anything. While I was shopping hubby went over to the Police Station to see about getting a motorcycle license.

The Police Station, even they are home to chickens … do you see him?

If you want to rent a scooter in Rarotonga you have to get a motorcycle license, which involves a written test and a drivers test that costs around $40.00 with the rental of a scooter for the test.

The mountains in the middle of the island are very pretty!

A home on the island.

When we booked this trip we were told that people rented bicycles and use them as transportation and really that is what sold us on this island. When we arrived we realized that the one road around the island was busy and not really safe for bicycles, in fact we saw very few on the road.

Nikao Cemetary, a historic cemetery on the island.

The cemeteries have prime real estate with ocean views!

So we decided we would use the island bus as our mode of transportation, but the cost and erratic time schedule had us thinking that a rented scooter or car might be a good idea, at least for a few days … hence hubby visiting the Police Station, while I was shopping, to check into the requirements. We were told at the resort that an International Drivers license was required to rent a car but it turns out you don’t need it, and since I’m not fond of motorcycles or scooters, a car was looking like the way to go.

Local building store

And another one. I was surprised to see two on an island this small.

During our travels we walked by a car lot and saw a Honda for sale.

Fully loaded 2018 Honda Jazz $29,995, financing is available with $10,000 down and payments to suit over a maximum three year term.

A good price for a BMW, mine cost a lot more than that!

We stopped by our resort for awhile and then hopped back on the bus for some more sightseeing.

There are many churches on this island from Latter Day Saints, Seventh Day Adventists, many Christian Churches, and many Catholic Churches.

The rectory for St. Josephs Catholic Church.

The Courthouse

 

We stopped at the Rarotonga Brewing Company for a taste and found we really enjoyed The Cook Island Lager, it was very light and refreshing!

And then it was back on the bus once again to head home to our villa.

The red tree amongst all the green is a Fire Tree and they are very prevalent around the island (Contessa that is the name of the tree you were asking about.

Until next time …

Palm Grove Resort, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

We landed in Rarotonga just after 6:00 a.m. local time, which was 9:00 a.m., Arizona time and 8:00 a.m. British Columbia time. Hubby and I were one of the first off the plane; we quickly cleared customs, picked up our bags and headed out of the secure area. Within seconds we had hooked up with the shuttle to our resort, were adorned with fragrant plumeria leis, and our luggage was stowed away in the van. Along with three other couples we ended up waiting almost half an hour for one final passenger and then we were on our way.

Just after 7:00 a.m. we arrived at the Palm Grove Resort to check in and unfortunately our room was not ready. We had reserved a beach villa and our unit had guests in it that were not checking out until today. We were told to leave our luggage at the desk, go and enjoy a free breakfast (which is included each day with our villa), use any resort facilities we wanted and by noon we should be in our villa.

That was five hours to kill! But we enjoyed breakfast then wandered around the resort.

The pool was empty when we arrived at 7:00 a.m. although it was warm. The temperature was 28C (82F) and with the humidity felt a lot warmer.

Breakfast was really good and served in a very nice dining room.

The resort looked exactly like the pictures we had seen on the Internet and was very well maintained.

The vegetation is very lush.

There are chickens all over the island of Rarotonga.

One of the newer villas surrounding the pool.

We knew which beach villa we were going to be in so we headed across the road to check it out and once again were very pleased!

That’s our villa in the centre.

We decided to walk along the beach up to the local supermarket.

So beautiful!

And then we walked up to the road, you can see how the weather hangs over the mountains in the middle of the island but along the beach, were we are, it was sunny skies.

This supermarket is a three minute walk from our resort.

We picked up some fruit juice at the market and then continued along the road back to our resort.

Pretty roads and blue sky

Again lush vegetation surrounding local houses. The ocean side of the road is right along the beach but behind the houses on the other side the hills rise quickly and hold the rain which is why the island is so lush.

House on the left as we walked back to the resort.

Ocean, and sunny sky, to the right.

By 10:00 a.m. we were unpacking in our room and were oh so happy with our accommodation! I will do a separate blog on our villa but once we were unpacked and changed into our bathing suits we enjoyed a drink on our deck.

How is that for a view!

The rest of our day was spent swimming in the South Pacific … it is a tough life we live!

The view of our villa from the water

And the coconut tree in front of our deck.

That was about it for our day. The sun was warm, the water was warm, the day was long, and we had an early night 🙂

Until next time …

The Rest of the Night

Here is how the rest of last night went. We arrived at LAX early mainly because we didn’t know how long it would take us to drive from Palm Desert to Los Angeles, we were unsure of where the parking garage was, we had problems with our seats when I checked us in on-line the night before, and the biggest reason … we had no idea how long it would take us to get through airport security with the government shutdowns going on.

You heard about the drive yesterday, it was stressful, crazy, unpleasant, wet, scary, full of traffic jams, I could go on and on but you probably get the picture … it’s LA! We arrived at the parkade, where I had made a reservation, and couldn’t get in. A phone call resolved that issue and we parked and jumped on the waiting shuttle for a quick trip to the airport. The shuttle dropped us off in the arrivals area, which was jammed with people. We made our way through the crowds and found the elevator up to the departures area of Terminal B. We walked directly up to the counter of our airline, I can’t tell you which one because that might spoil the end of the story, and the agent was only to happy to help us! Now we were six hours early for our flight, which normally means you can’t check-in, but we wanted to deal with the seat change. When we received our tickets we had assigned seating along the window, when I checked us in we were moved to the middle of the plane in an aisle and adjoining seat. The fellow at the check-in counter could not have been more helpful, he not only gave us a window seat he upgrade us to wider, more comfortable seats … and now things were turning our way 🙂

Through security it was a nice looking terminal

With our luggage checked and boarding passes in hand we were able to go through airport security, and WOW, we were through in less than fifteen minutes! Yup life was good. The rest of our time was spent walking around the terminal, enjoying a relaxing dinner, and killing time reading and on our computers.

We head to our gate, past a lot of gates, that looked like any other airport, but when we came to the last one we were directed by signs to make a right turn into this hallway.

Boarding the plane was different from any other experience.

And then a left

And then another right

And then another left … okay things are looking a little more like an airport again.

What!!! We need to make a left through that small door? Are we walking to our destination?

Weird?

As you can see from the above pictures it was definitely not like other airports we have been in.

Our departure gates look like a bus terminal!

One busy bus terminal!

Oh well we are good at following directions so we sat at our departure gate and waited to board. Along came boarding time, we walked through the door … and bordered a bus! Okay we have spent a lot of money for what will be, if we are going by bus, a very long and interesting ride 🙂

After a ten minute bus drive we arrived at another building where we started the walk down the hallway again.

Once again we turned left, and then we turned right …

and then it finally looked like we might board the plane.

Yes, we are on board the plane and all set for a good nights sleep.

And here we are nine and a half hours later …. can you guess where we are from this picture?

How about from this picture?

Okay here is the big reveal 🙂

Rarotongo, Cook Islands

Until next time …

Leg Two Of Our New Adventure

We had a great time with hubby’s cousin’s family and at noon we headed back out on the road.

I love the landscaping along the streets in Palm Desert.

We had a lot of rain this morning but it stopped before we left.

Pretty well all you see along I-10 in Palm Springs are windmills, I don’t really think they are attractive landscaping.

Unfortunately the rain came back with a vengeance for the first hour of our drive.

I do love the scenery in Moreno Valley even with the rain. Just after this picture it came down so hard we could barely see the road in front of us ☹

As we neared Los Angeles the rain stopped but the traffic got heavy.

This was the start of traffic, it got much heavier … thank goodness we were doing this on a Saturday!

We were within five miles of our destination and the rain was torrential! By the time we arrived we were so happy to park the truck and be off the LA roads.

And here is where today’s blog ends.

Does this picture let you know where we are?

Check in tomorrow to find out where we end up 🙂

Until next time …

 

And We Are Off On a New Adventure – Leg One

Today we said goodbye to Maxx and left him in our wonderful neighbours care.

We hopped in the truck, waved goodbye to the vegetable fields surrounding our resort.

Passed through the California Inspection station, where they fortunately waved us through because I did have my lunch of peppers and celery with me. Although I remember crossing through another inspection station and they said they didn’t care about the peppers, celery, or cucumbers that I had with me that day. I think they are mostly looking for citrus fruit.

We waved goodbye to the Imperial Sand Dunes.

Made a quick stop at Dillards in El Centro to replace a pair of leggings I purchased on my birthday last Sunday that turned out to have two holes in them. I tried to replace them in Yuma but they didn’t have my size so we had to make this stop.

After El Centro, CA we came to the Border Inspection Station on SR 86 just before the turn off to Borrego Springs, CA.

We didn’t turn off to Borrego Springs, but carried on along SR 86.

Three and a half hours later we have arrived at hubby’s cousins place in Palm Desert. We will spend the night here visiting with them and I’m sure a bottle of wine or two may be consumed 🙂

Tomorrow we will be off on Leg Two of our adventure so stay tuned …

Oh and for those of you tracking fuel prices, we topped the tank off at Sam’s Club in Palm Desert for $3.589 a gallon for diesel, a lot more than the $2.599 a gallon we paid at Fry’s in Yuma yesterday 😦

Until next time …