If there's a heaven

Friday, October 16, 2009
Aitutaki, Southern Cook Islands, Cook Islands
16/10/09 Day 7 Muri Beach - Aitutaki

Gwen called at just before 8 .30 and said wander over whenever we were ready. We loaded the bags into her little car, lucky we only had one big case. She drives a little silver Terios just like Jacs. Before we got in Gwen said she wanted to ask us a favour. Could we see if we could find her a mop head for this mop she's had for years? We’re sure we’ve seen them at home so we’ll post her one back.

Stopped at a place called The Beachcomber up in Avarua. It’s an old building that has been restored and a gallery, shops and café have been created inside the shell. Great coffee, Gwen reckons the best on the island, and we’d agree it’s the best we’d had. Gwen said "my shout" but there was no way Al would let her so we paid. When we were sat at the airport I told him he has to be more prepared to accept gifts. He is terrible at it.

Checked in for the flight and some Germans we’d sat beside at Highland Paradise were also waiting for the flight. Very interesting people and greener than I could ever hope (or wish) to be . They have a two seater electric car (with pedal back-up). Now that’s extreme.

Not real crash hot with propeller planes so was a little anxious. Plane was a SAAB 340 turbo prop. Not sure how many rows back but two seats on one side and one on the other. We were in row one that was like an exit row with the emergency door next to us. Right outside the window the propeller spinning at a million miles an hour. Surprisingly I really enjoyed both the flight and the experience.

Only 40 minutes to Aitutaki. Went by in a flash. We hooked around the islands and the lagoon and the hostess took some pictures for us out of her window.

Met off the plane by a lady who asked if we were Peter Brown and, pause and puzzled look, Alison? Nearly burst out laughing but said no it’s just Al as in Alan. Her name was Teu. Cute little guy with her who introduced himself as Ethan. He was staying with his mum and this was there last day .

Drove the kilometre or so to Inano. Oh my god!! The water was the colour the brochures show, the sand white, air warm. Teu took us into the bungalow and it’s fantastic. She apologises it’s not perfectly clean as Ethan and his mum had been staying in it and had only been moved out this morning before she’d some to pick us up. It was fine.

Swimming shorts on and we both raced down the beach and jumped into the swimming pool/lagoon. I’m not a religious person but could be converted if I was told that this was what heaven would be like. Wow. Moeau the owner came over and introduced himself. Not sure how many gay couples they’ve had here.

There was a family a bit further along the beach with two little kids, all blonde, so most likely Scandinavians (they are). Met Ethan’s mum Vanessa. They’ve been here over three weeks. While we’re talking I brush something on my leg and then feel a burning pain . I’ve been stung by a bloody wasp. Race into the bungalow and stick my hand in the freezer. Can’t believe how much it hurts but at least I'm not allergic.

We’ve read that Samade is the best place to drink and gaze across the lagoon. Luckily it’s just around the corner so we head round. The view from there is spectacular. Grab a couple of beers and just lay back on the deck chairs. The bungalows here are $250 a night and look at each other, not the view. Weird. Watched the Italian family who had arrived on the same flight as us make a mess of kayaking. Was hilarious. Vanessa had told us watching dodgy kayakers was one of the best forms of entertainment since she’d been here. Lucky she was going before she could pass judgment on our abilities.

Just off the tip of the island is the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa. Last minute deals there were $500 a night for a garden view room. They can actually all see the lagoon but nevertheless we are paying about Oz$125 for the same thing (ok, we don’t have aircon or a tv or even a radio) . When we’d originally talked about coming to Aitutaki we’d considered booking an over-water bungalow at the resort. Two nights would have cost us our more than what we’ve paid for 12 nights accommodation. Glad we didn’t.

Had some lunch and booked for the island night next Tuesday, our last night. Back to Inano, swam some more, talked to Vanessa again, Ethan brought over a bloody big crab that he’d just caught under the steps of our bungalow. Met the other family - Nicholas and Louisa and their children Gustav and Ingrid. They’re from Denmark and they’re on a 4½ month South Pacific holiday, partially funded by the Danish government. Really lovely (and lucky) people.

While we’re chatting Ethan comes down and gives us the mozzie coils they haven’t used. We’d been warned the mozzies are bad here and they are really, really bad. The mozzie coils could very well save us from heaven becoming hell!

We’ve got four restaurants/cafes within walking distance and then everything else is on the other side of the island, maybe five or six kilometres away . There are two at the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa, Samade, The Boatshed and Koru Café. Vanessa said Koru was fantastic, the resort good but expensive, Samade ok but didn’t recommend The Boatshed.

So we headed back to Samade for dinner. Dinner is the same menu that they have for lunch (just with dinner at the top of the menu) and to be honest it was very ordinary. Not bad, but the most ordinary food we’ve eaten since we’ve been in the Cooks. Beer is expensive too, $6.50 for everything.

Get a bit lost coming back and end up walking back in the shallow water because we couldn’t find the track. The mozzies were swarming. Luckily I’d lit a coil and left it on the verandah before we’d left so we were mozzie free.

The bed is fantastic. The bed at Muri was just less than hard as a board. This bed is wonderful and we got a great night’s sleep.
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