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  1. #1
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    alilou's Adventures in Wonderland - Rarotonga, Oz, Vietnam

    To all the Vancouver crew who wanted to hear about my travels, and anyone else who's interested, here's the first installment.

    I'm sitting in Sydney airport waiting for my flight to Canberra where my family lives. It will be the first time in 7 yrs that I've seen them.

    But I'll start at the beginning - a flight from Vancouver to LA, and a few hours in LA - so we went into town to see what we could see and found Olvera St - the historic heart of LA and a little slice of Mexico in downtown LA. It was fun - a couple of Latin bands, and lots of little stalls. I really wanted to see the Walt Disney Concert Hall (an incredible building designed by Frank Gehry) but it was about 15degrees and raining. In LA! We were freezing so went back to the airport.

    From LA we flew to Rarotonga, the main island of the Cook Islands, a gorgeous South Pacific tropical dreamland. We'd seen the pictures, but nothing prepares you for the reality. Whatever those pictures of tropical paradise look like, the reality is 100 times better.

    We rented a little cottage on poles right on the beach. The entire island is surrounded by a coral lagoon. I hardly know where to start to describe it. Later when I get to my sister's I'll post some links, but I can't seem to find them atm. All the stuff about white sand beaches and coconut trees and azure seas and blue skies and endless sunshine is true.

    I'm going to try to post this now. I tried to preview it but when I click on preview post is tells me I'm not logged in.

    More later.

  2. #2

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    Shame you are not coming to Melbourne. It would be great to catch up.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    I don't remember the chronology, it doesn't matter. One day we did the tourist thing and went on a lagoon glass-bottom-boat cruise out to the edge of the reef and went snorkelling with an amazing array and quantity of tropical fish in every colour imaginable. It was like being in a giant aquarium. And the guys who took us out had been "taming" a moray eel for a few years by feeding it chunks of fish. Sure enough they managed to coax it out of it's hiding place in the coral - it's about 8 ft long - amazing to see so close. And then they took us to an island in the lagoon and made us a fish bbq lunch and gave us a demo of how to tie a sarong and husk a coconut - the latter of which I'm bound to find extremely useful in everyday life

    Another day we went for a hike across the island. It's listed as Raro's most popular hike but we saw no-one probably because all the tourist info says it's dangerous and you need to be experienced hikers and go with a guide. Mr alilou and I are pretty experienced hikers but I must admit we found it challenging - very narrow path, very rocky, very slippery, lots of creek/river crossings. It was really hard work, but totally worth it, even the anxious moments when we thought we'd be swallowed by tropical jungle and never seen again. Honestly there were times when we really didn't have a clue where the track went next. It just seemed to end in the middle of the jungle. The eventually we'd discover a tree marker or a bit of an opening in the greenery. We finally made it out the other side about 3 1/2 hours later hot tired and filthy. Time for a swim. In water that's always about 25C degrees

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    Hey Aussie Willy I'd love to come to Melb but just not enough time. What was supposed to be a 5 week trip turned into over 6 trying to fit in all we wanted to see. Come up to Canberra!

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    write me more!
    "it doesn't matter if you love what you do, but that you do what you love"
    a quote Tomas Verner () gave me to think about...

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    Thanks a lot! Cannot wait for another instalment.
    “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” William Shakespeare

  7. #7
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    alilou, back home it's 11 degrees. And raining. I will try to bottle this all up and save it for you upon your return to Vancouver. Wouldn't want you to miss out on any of this....

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    Wow! I hope the rest of the trip will be just as great! Keep enjoying!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by alilou View Post
    Hey Aussie Willy I'd love to come to Melb but just not enough time. What was supposed to be a 5 week trip turned into over 6 trying to fit in all we wanted to see. Come up to Canberra!
    I would if I could. I actually have to go to Sydney for work in a couple of weeks.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alilou View Post
    Another day we went for a hike across the island. It's listed as Raro's most popular hike but we saw no-one probably because all the tourist info says it's dangerous and you need to be experienced hikers and go with a guide. Mr alilou and I are pretty experienced hikers but I must admit we found it challenging - very narrow path, very rocky, very slippery, lots of creek/river crossings. It was really hard work, but totally worth it, even the anxious moments when we thought we'd be swallowed by tropical jungle and never seen again. Honestly there were times when we really didn't have a clue where the track went next. It just seemed to end in the middle of the jungle.
    you were in your very own Lost episode!

  11. #11
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    This may seem a strange question, but were there a lot of mosquitoes around your cottages on poles? I've always wanted to go on a tropical vacation but I'm horribly allergic to mosquitoes and holidays are not much fun when your limbs have swollen up like eggs

  12. #12

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    Vicariously enjoying azure skies and warm waters Alilou.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterG View Post
    alilou, back home it's 11 degrees. And raining. I will try to bottle this all up and save it for you upon your return to Vancouver. Wouldn't want you to miss out on any of this....
    Thank you so much Peter. You're so kind

    Quote Originally Posted by SandraMGfan View Post
    you were in your very own Lost episode!
    It def felt like it at times. A bit scary but really really worth it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ajax View Post
    This may seem a strange question, but were there a lot of mosquitoes around your cottages on poles? I've always wanted to go on a tropical vacation but I'm horribly allergic to mosquitoes and holidays are not much fun when your limbs have swollen up like eggs
    Yes there's mosquitos - daytime ones and nighttime ones. The day time ones are the ones that carry dengue fever but we were told there hadn't been an outbreak of dengue in the Cooks that year so we weren't too worried from that perspective. The nighttime ones are the malaria carriers but afaik there's no malaria in the south Pacific. So....... if you don't go into the jungle, but stay by the beaches you don't need to worry about the daytime mozzies. They are only inland in the jungle. When we were hiking in the jungle we used Deet because altho I don't come out in big red lumps or get egg legs mozzies love me and I hate scratching. At night we just stayed indoors in our cottage that had screens on the windows, otherwise you'd need to use some kind of repellent.


    I have remembered I have a blog! My neice set it up for me several years ago so I could send some pics of our Vancouver apartment to my sisters in Australia, and I haven't used it since. I have another sister who is currently housesitting for us in Vancouver so I hope to be able to talk to her in the next 3 hrs or so and get the user name and password for my blog. I shall then post a link to it and continue stories of my travels there. I'll be able to include pictures (which I hope will make my ramblings a bit more interesting).

    So hopefully sometime in the next day or so I will post the next instalment on my blog. With pictures!

  14. #14

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    Thanks for the update Alilou!!! Glad you are having a good time and be careful.
    “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” William Shakespeare

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    I finally got my blog up and running and with much help from my sister editing photos and from my BIL to upload them I now have the next installment. Hope you enjoy.

    http://alisonarmstrong.blogspot.com/...onderland.html

  16. #16

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    Those photos are absolutely gorgeous!!!! Keep 'em coming!
    “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” William Shakespeare

  17. #17

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    Thanks Alilou - lovely 'make you want to be there' photos and interesting commentary.

  18. #18

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    Thanks Alilou - is that you in the grass skirt and coconuts?
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  19. #19

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    Awww, alilou, you've made me homesick! If you visit the ice rink, please let me know so I can PM you with shout-outs to stirling and some other friends there!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Japanfan View Post
    Thanks Alilou - lovely 'make you want to be there' photos and interesting commentary.
    glad you like them. We just have one of those little point n click digital cameras so we're delighted when we get half decent photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    Thanks Alilou - is that you in the grass skirt and coconuts?
    yep! That's me!

    Quote Originally Posted by Angelskates View Post
    Awww, alilou, you've made me homesick! If you visit the ice rink, please let me know so I can PM you with shout-outs to stirling and some other friends there!
    Are you from Canberra?! We won't be visiting the rink (not enough time). And I didn't know stirling was here.

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