Sunday, May 4, 2008

Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Today we are in Rarotonga which is part of the Cook Islands and actually a republic (?)of New Zealand. We did a 4wheel drive tour into the forest and our vehicle had some problems and something got bent, like the drive shaft or axel. Our driver was pretty nervous about it because he stopped several times. We got to one of the scheduled stops and we went off to look at some waterfalls and when we returned all of the drivers were fixing the car. It appeared that some of them were lifting the car while the rest were on the ground bending the broken piece of car. Before we stopped the car/jeep was making a sound that none of us had ever heard before.

We did see some amazing scenery beautiful landscapes it just keeps getting better. Everyone keeps telling us to wait for Bora Bora and Tahiti because they are even more beautiful than what we have seen to date. We did get a chance to stop at one of the many gorgeous beaches. You could walk out several hundred if not thousand yards and it was only up to your knees or thighs. The water was on the warm side, easy to get in. Clear and you can see so many fish and shellfish, lots of crabs too! The island has very beautiful scenery and flowers and trees and mountains. Just another good one!

Back to the ship for sail away which we did from the hot tub on the stern of the ship with the ladies and long island iced teas! The only way to travel folks! After that we got cleaned up and ready for dinner and had another fun night.

Thursday, May 1, 2008
A day at sea. I started off my day with s deep tissue massage from Reggie. He is quite good and I feel amazing afterwards. Spent the day by the pool and reading and watching movies and walking at least 2 miles around the promenade. (This is our attempt at exercising when we are not off trekking thru rain forests or walking on beaches). We played some 4 handed cribbage, had cocktails and dinner. I am getting quite used to all of this.

Friday, May 2, 2008
Bora Bora. Oh my Gawd!!!!!!!!!! The best Island to date. It was absolutely beautiful. We were able to get into the little village prior to our afternoon tour. Bora Bora is small enough and that means no dock so we have to tender in to shore from the ship. We did a bit of walking and saw some of the little village which seems to do a lot of fishing. The ocean is great but almost too warm to swim in. We did stop into a very beautiful shop/art gallery where we bought a very unique vase. It has a fairly unique shape and the artist painted the inside. Such amazing colors and a pattern unlike anything we had seen. Of course we bought this one, no 3 for $10 tee shirts for us! It’s only money. We decided to take the vase back to the ship before our afternoon tour so we did and then grabbed some lunch and headed back to shore. Our tour took us up the mountains on some muddy roads. We did see some 7inch guns that were put in place by the Americans in 1942 to shoot at the Japanese. They were still in pretty good shape. Of course we had to take some photos with them. The cool part is that we were at the top of one of the mountains and could see both sides of the island. That of course is why 2 guns were placed there for a good look out position. The roads to get there were steep, filled with mud ruts, rocky, bumpy, I thought I was going to die! Not really, it was a blast; we even got a bit of mud on us from it splashing up. Our driver, Carin, was a transplant who was half Italian and half Spanish, quite a combo and just lots of fun. She reminded me of Kendall with a great accent who spoke French!

We stopped at a very nice jewelry store where they sold basically black pearls. We did get to see how the pearls are made. I believe these would have been cultured, black water pearls. We did look in the store and I saw a few nice necklaces for me. One of the clerks noticed my necklace and commented on how beautiful it was. Of course I was able to say it was made by my jeweler, Miss Ginny of Alexandria. Ginny I am always looking for sales opportunities for you! You have now been seen in Bora Bora, Tahiti! Can you put that on your website?

There was just amazing great scenery during the ride! We had a great guide! It just ended too quickly. We tendered back to the ship. We did had Rebecca, Naomi and Sue to the cabin for a sail away party. We got some wine, whisky and munchies. They arrived with wine, beer and munchies too! Very funny. We had a great time and they loved the suite and our big balcony. Once out to sea we all went to dinner. A good day all around!

Saturday, May 3, 2008
Papeete, French Polynesia
This port was quite a bit more built up than any of the other Islands, but still very clean. We again had an afternoon tour so we walked around the capital city for a bit and got some tee shirts. They did have this huge market which we thought would be all tacky souvenirs but it turned out to be that and their food market. We saw some of the freshest fish you will ever see at an open market. Tuna, swordfish, sashimi, sushi! It just was amazing. Unfortunately it was a bit difficult to get the conversion from francs to dollars so we did not buy too much. Being Saturday there were a lot of street vendors and mostly locals walking around and shopping. I liked that.

One fact that was a bit sad and interesting. Prior to 2001 they enjoyed about 240,000 visitors a year. After 9/11 it dropped to only 150,000. 2007 was the first year they broke 200,000. Now in an effort to keep all Tahitians employed the government is targeting a goal of 300,000 visitors a year. Sp folks save your pennies and come to Tahiti! You can rent a 2 bedroom apt furnished for about $12 to $1400 US a month. I think our next long trip?

We had some lunch and then went on another 4x4 adventurer. This one had only 6 people in back and they took off the canvas roof so we could stand up, once we got off road. We drove thru some valleys and went up some good hills, but because there had been very little rain the dirt roads were hard and really bumpy, felt each and every one! We did make it to a spot by the river where we went swimming and had some fresh pineapple and coconut for an afternoon snack. The water was quite clean and very refreshing! I was the only one from out jeep that went swimming until our driver jumped in too! He was a blond haired native whose mother was Polynesian and his father was Swedish. He was funny and did give a bit of history as we drove thru the mountains. We also had a really good group of folks with us so we had fun and just laughed a lot.

When we got back to the ship we headed up to the pool and hot tubs for another sail away party. Raja ordered 2 more long Island iced teas for us and the girls joined us and we had a great time!.. Time to get cleaned up and then we met for some more 4 handed cribbage and then dinner. It was an early night. I think all of the thrashing around in the back of the jeep today exhausted me! That’s ok though, I don’t have anything else I need to do.

Sunday, May 4, 2008
This is the first of 4 days at sea before we get to Hawaii. I of course have updated the blog. Now I am going to head to the pool then lunch and then more pool and sun. Then we’ll get ready for dinner and go see the big floor show tonight which is a salute to Broadway. I promise I’ll be kind in my review. I do get pretty mellow on vacation. Will bring the last update to you in about 6 days after we leave Hawaii and are on our final leg of this incredible journey!

Take care
Chris & Roger

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