Day 23: RARO SORROW
The day started off pretty uneventfully as we packed up and headed out of the City Centre Hotel in Auckland at a little after 7:30am. I was still struggling with staying awake (we awoke at 6am) as Julie was getting ready because I didn’t sleep until some time after midnight.
As we drove the twenty minutes to the airport, we did notice that the city did come alive somewhat with well-dressed Kiwis walking to work. I think this may have been the very first time all trip long that we witnessed something like this, and this could be an indication that people have just started returning to work.
As for the rest of the pre-flight formalities, there was no drama. That was until we were at the gate waiting for our flight. It was then that Julie looked through her confirmations and vouchers and said to me that her accommodation bookings and car hire didn’t account for the fact that Cook Islands was one day behind New Zealand. So it was possible that tonight, we might not be able to have a place to stay nor have our own transport.
So with that in mind, we knew we couldn’t really do anything about it now. We just had to proceed and play it by ear to see what happens next.
As for the plane ride, I just remembered sleeping on the plane in between watching both Zombieland and The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard. When we de-planed, we got through passport control and then waited for quite a while before finally getting our checked luggage. The conveyor belt wasn’t very big so I’m sure the staff put luggages on the conveyor belt in tiers.
But when we finally got our belongings, we headed right for the Avis counter and were fortunate that there was a tiny Toyota Yaris available. So at least that part of the snafu went by ok.
And so we proceeded to drive to the other side of the island to our accommodation in the hopes that something would be available to us. We headed east and drove around the northeast part of the island at 50km/h (that was the speed limit throughout).
We were supposed to go to the Rarotonga Beach Bungalows since our original booking was there. But the lady made a snafu and booked us at the Little Polynesian. Still, we were asked to check in at the RBB before going to the Little Polynesian.
When we finally arrived at the accommodation at around 5:30pm, we saw a pair of backpackers waiting in front of the office. Unfortunately, there was no one at the office, and therefore, we were unable to meet up with the person that Julie had been corresponding with while we were at home.
So we ended up going straight to the Little Polynesian where we eventually spoke with the receptionist there and explained our situation. We later learned that the RBB correspondent had us checking in two days after today, which was yet another unexpected mistake.
Further compounding the situation was that Julie realized she left the LP Cook Islands book on the plane! It certainly wasn’t a good start to this trip.
Anyways, after a bit of waiting, we got the good news that we will have a room tonight and tomorrow night. So at least the international date line snafu wouldn’t put us in a bad spot. Meanwhile, the receptionist Teina was talking to us about the state of the Cook Islands industry. Apparently, they’re bracing for a tough 2010.
When we were finally checked into our room, we quickly got back into the car and returned to the airport. We didn’t get there until about 7pm. But the airport was pretty dead as everything was closed. We’d have to inquire about lost and found tomorrow. And that was fine since we had to go to the Police Station to replace our temporary license with a Cook Islands driving license anyways.
At 7:30pm, we had ourselves a dinner at the Little Polynesian in which most of the stuff was imported from New Zealand. Even the local stuff didn’t seem all that fresh, but the demi souffle dessert was quite good.
After the dinner, we walked over to the neighboring Paw Paw Patch Restaurant next door to the RBB. They seemed to have a more interesting menu consistenting of lots of local stuff, and we made it a point to come here to dine at some point later on in this trip.
By 9pm, we were back in our room to finally call it a day. We foresee an errand day tomorrow before we can get comfortable and settle into island time. But until then, we can consider the Cook Islands part of our last extended honeymoon trip as having just gotten underway…