Today I awoke to the first blue skies I had seen since departing San Diego 3 days ago, and I must say it is a much welcome change! The rain finally took its’ leisure and decided to let the sun shine through for a bit. It’s incredible how drastically the temperature can change with just a bit of sunlight. WIth nothing major on the itinerary for the day, Christine and I decided to head back over to the beach on the opposite side of the island for a second round of oceanside dining followed by a bit of kicking back and relaxing on the beach. For those of you who have been following my previous posts, you might be starting to see this whole “kicking back and relaxing” bit as somewhat of a trend; you’d be right. The thing about Rarotonga is there isn’t a whole lot to do. There’s the beautiful ocean, which brings some breathtaking views, beaches for lounging, snorkeling, diving and swimming. Beyond this there’s a few touristy activities you can partake in such as taking a guided 4WD tour through the inland of the island, taking a cruise around the harbor, or visiting a local spa. And that’s really about it. This leaves an enormous amount of time for strolling along the beach, sleeping, reading, eating, and just enjoying the day at the slowest pace you can muster. Forgive me, I’m getting a bit off topic. I almost forgot to mention Lynne.
Having no other immediate means of transportation, we decided to once again take the bus to the other side of the island for lunch. About 4 minutes before the bus was scheduled to arrive, and in seemingly routine fashion, a white van with “Hash House Harriers” painted across the side pulled up next to us, and a man with a rather respectable handlebar moustache popped his head out and asked if we’d like a ride. He made the same offer to the kiwi couple posted up along side of us. We greatfully accepted and jumped into the back of the van. Once inside, the man introduced himself as Lynne (not sure how exactly sure how to appropriately spell that when referring to a man, so please excuse me if I’m wrong). After a round of introductions from the 4 of us in the back, I asked Lynne about the Hash House Harriers sign on the side of his van. I have heard about the harriers before, and had seen an advertisement in the local newspaper for their weekly run the Monday after we arrived, so I was a bit interested in hearing more about their group. Apparently the H3 (I don’t think anyone actually calls it that, but I’m lazy so that’s what you’re getting from here on out), is an international group with local chapters in cities around the globe. It’s basically nothing more than a running club with a drinking problem (or crossed with a social club if you wanted to be a bit more polite). They meet for a weekly run (about 5-6km according to Lynne) which reaches its completion at a local pub, where they reward themselves with a few beers and some socializing. Lynne went on to explain that this week he, along with a number of other organizers, were holding a week-long triathlete event on Rarotonga (today being the final day/event). WIth the island having only one main road that is essentially a 30km loop, and some incredibly warm ocean waters, I couldn’t imagine a better place for such an event. Getting back to our ride, Lynne mentioned that he was actually heading the opposite direction, but still kindly drove us all the way to our destination without so much as a though. Mind you, Lynne is not a local islander, he is originally from New Zealand, but has been living on the island for 7 years now. When asked how long it takes to get to get to a point where you can truly let go and get into the snails pace of the island, he smiled and quickly responded “8 years, but we’ll see…” It’s easy to see why people fall in love with the islands. The sense of sincerity, generosity, and overall kindness is enthralling, and truly like no where else I’ve ever been. I can only hope that I will find more places in my life with people who share this sentiment, and place an equal amount of aspiration that I will personally carry some of it with me going forward.
Later in the evening we once again joined the wedding party for dinner at Jacks; a nice seafood and pizza restaurant located on the harbor in town. The food was amazing. Christine had the coconut crusted mai mai (see also Mahi Mahi), and I had the Traders Supreme pizza (sausage, pepperoni, black olives, onion, shrimp, cheese, heaven). Once again we ended up seated directly beside Jay and Amy (the bride and groom). They, along with their entire wedding party, have been so kind and welcoming, that I truly feel as though I’ve known them for years. I can’t say enough times how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to share the week with such an amazing group of people. I truly hope that I am able to stay in touch with all of them in the future.