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Rarotonga – Day 4

Today started with another morning run/yoga/swim session. I woke around 7 and hit the beach straight away. I once again ran all the way down to the black rocks, and quickly plunged into the ocean; the cool water was a welcome relief after brisk the run down the beach. After completing the second half of my loop, I hopped back into the water and began poking around the reef to see what I might find. I saw crabs, rather creepily, crawling vertically along the slick rock-face to my immediate left. There were a number of fish, none of which I could name, but they were quite beautiful up close. I also saw sea-urchins, sea-cucumbers, and a number of large starfish in a shade of dark-blue that I have never seen before. After about 30 minutes of wading around, I came upon a rather open area in the reef. The water was clear and only a few feet deep. I plunged my head into the water and began to swim. At this moment (not being able to see a thing with my eyes shut), I realized that I have never been able to swim with my eyes open. I’ve had contact lenses since I was 12, which was an obvious preventative, but even before that, I had never been able to open my eyes while under water. It always puzzled me how people could. I mean, I realize that our eyes are essentially covered in salt water, so logically it shouldn’t be an issue, but the whole concept was just very foreign to me. I had lasik surgery over a year ago, so the contacts were no longer an issue. I was officially out of excuses. Without a moments hesitation I plunged into the water and forced my eyes open. At first there was a very minor sting in my eyes, and everything was very blurry, but I could see! I popped my head up for a breathe, then dove back down for round two. Things looked a bit as they would if I was not wearing my contacts (before my surgery), all fuzzy and out of focus, but I could make out shapes and colors, this is cool! I spent another 15 minutes or so working on my new found ability before hitting the sand and finishing my run I spent the rest of the morning and afternoon lounging in a hammock underneath a palm tree, reading Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk, and taking in the day.

Around 3:30 I through on a pair of khakis, a light-blue linen shirt, and my flip-flops, and started my walk down the beach to the neighboring resort where Jay and Amy’s wedding would soon be taking place. I arrived at their bungalow about 15 minutes later, where Jay quickly trained me in the art of the “Painkiller;” I had offered to play bartender so he could relax and  focus on more important things. After a few drinks, we all made our way to the beach where the wedding was about to begin. Christine handed me her wide-angle camera, and asked that I snap a few shots as Amy made her way down the aisle (I accidentally left the camera in Manual mode which resulted in a large number of blown out pictures, oops).

Just before Amy made her way down the aisle, the sun peaked out from behind the clouds, casting a single ray of sunlight down on the ceremony, and creating the most picturesque backdrop that you could possibly imagine. The ceremony was beautiful. Short, laid back, and beautiful. After the vows, we all made our way down to the sand, where Christine happily snapped pictures of the newlyweds, along with the entire wedding party. It was fun watching such a great group of friends, sharing in such a memorable event. Once the photo-session wrapped up, we all made our way over to the dining area, where we shared a great meal, heard some great toasts, watched fire dancers performing the sounds drum circle, then danced the night away under a star-filled sky.

I know I’m probably getting a bit repetitive here, but I really can’t say enough, what a great, welcoming, and kind group of people they were. At one point I found myself chatting with Jay’s mom Inga (or Ingred, I’m terribly embarrassed, but I was never able to catch her name with 100% certainty). Here was a woman with stories. She’s in her 60’s, still running marathons, and full of more energy and life than just about anyone I have ever met. So in the middle of our conversation, she says that I simply must come visit her and her husband in Santa Monica. How they have a home right on Ocean Avenue, and they would absolutely love it if I came to visit, and even if their not home, there will be maids there watching the house and that I should feel welcome to simply come and stay and enjoy their home. Now, keep in mind that I have only just met all of these folks 4 days ago, and have only had a few brief conversation with Inga, and even less with her husband John, yet here she is inviting me to come visit them at their home. It was very touching, and I honestly hope to have the opportunity to take her up on that offer someday.

Before wrapping up my post, I have to give a shout-out to Liz and Chad, one of the funniest, and most well-suited couples I have met in a long time. I wanted to give a plug to Liz (aka Gossip Whore) who is a celebrity gossip blogger for yahoo: omg.yahoo.com These two kept me laughing for most of the trip, and I hope that we are able to stay in touch!

So, what do you think ?