Friday, October 17, 2008

October 12,2008

So, we have recently realized what the meaning of “free range chickens” actually means.  In the pacific islands, chickens tend to be everywhere.  Unattended, just roaming and constantly crowing.  We normally get off the ship and walk around ending up at a beach.  Ash and I decided the other day to take a break from our usual port routine by renting bicycles.  This was a steal of a deal because we got a two for one rate, fifteen bucks for the day.  Roratonga, Cook Islands has 2 roads that run parallel to the coastline.  Instead of numbering the buses they just say “clockwise” and “counter-clockwise”.  We rode the 18 miles around the island in about 2.5 hours.  We planned to stop at one of the beaches along the way for a break from riding and an escape from our fellow passengers.  Our stop was pushed forward quicker than we had intended because Ash’s bike had a flat tire. Apparently Roratonga does not believe in free phone calls, and they wanted to charge us 50c to use their phone.  Being the planners that we are neither of us had any local currency, so Ash went off to find a free phone and quickly found out there wasn’t one available, but she did find a few chickens. 

Ash: “So many chickens over there!”

Mel:  “Oh, are they in a pen?”

Ash:   “No, it’s just a field of chickens. Chickens galore… Did you see the   

chickens cross the road?”

            Uproar of laughter. 

Yes, I understand this might not be the funniest story told, but there are just seriously a ton of chickens about.

We have decided that it is good that we started our trip in Hawaii because every island after has gotten better and better.  So far we have been to the obscure places that I really didn’t believe existed, because you hear of them and never meet anyone who has actually visited.  After Hawaii we went to three French Polynesian islands, Bora Bora,  Tahiti, Morea, Samoa, and Fiji.  They were all beautiful, all similar, but all very different.  We have visited the Cook Island, Roratonga, and then today we were in Samoa.  We didn’t know that such beautiful places existed.  We understand Alaska’s beauty in its mountains and vastness, but the beauty here is seclusion and tranquility.  Today we sat on the Samoan beach listening to the water lap up on the shore, just to turn around and see what can only be described as a jungle.  The mixture of the green foliage and the sound of silence were breathtaking.  Basically now all we can say is, “Yeah, Hawaii’s alright, but Bora_Bora’s better.”

We have made our usual cruise friends, bartenders and cabin stewards.   But this trip is different to us because we have really grown to know a number of the crew and I do believe it is going to be really tough on both of us to leave our new friends.  Thirty-one days does allow a fair bit of time to learn people stories.  In addition to the bar staff we have become friends with people in the boutiques, dining room, security, and cruise staff.  One of our favorite crew members was actually on our spring break trip this last year.  He didn’t much care for us then, but I think we have won him over now.  (Girls you remember the bartender that worked with Lex?  You know, the one who usually seemed discussed we were in his bar?  Yeah, that’s him)  We have even made friends with a few of the guests.  Our favorite is a couple from Australia.  They are hilarious and they don’t question why we are here.  We usually sit with them in the evening and pick their brains on life and relationships (by relationships I mean friendships, mostly).   It is just really refreshing to see a couple (outside our families) that really enjoy the company of their partner.  We have also made friends with four ladies traveling together.  I was watching them, and I realized they are the same as me, just about 60 years older.  I have taken an interest in them and talk to them as much as I can.  They really are the cutest ladies ever (Dottie and Betty have been best friends for 50 years). 

We have realized that we are something different to each of the people that we have met.  All of their accounts may be different but all of them fairly accurate.  To the number 2, we are the crazy girls who are moving to New Zealand without a plan.  To the Bar steward in the club we are the hilarious, dancing girls.  To the bartender in the club we are the girls who have fun without caring what others think.  To the bartender in the atrium we are the girls who only talk about friendships and relationships.  To the headwaiter we are the “Ciao Bella” girls (he’s Italian).  To our waiters we are the girls who order five desserts with three cups of coffee.  To the deck hands we are the sun girls.  Basically what I am trying to say is this is the best vacation I have ever had.  Instead of a whirlwind trip like our usual vacations (which are always amazing and tons of fun) this trip we have time to play hard and recover from the evening before.  My only complaint is that thirty-one days just doesn’t seem to be long enough for vacation. 

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