Can he climb that tree?

Day 12 – Thursday, December 4, 2009

I started to realize. Tomorrow we go home.

I thought about staying. I noticed that I had not gained this much peace ever in my life. Could I just send for my kids? Robb and I saw white kids here taking the bus home from school one day. Well, my kids were only half white. Aw, too much thinking to enjoy the rest of my real relaxing trip so on with our day.

I think it was the idea that we might see sea turtles so we started our adventures by heading over to Tikioki (Fruits of Rarotonga) to snorkel. We had been passing by on the bus one day and people were spotting sea turtles there. This was also the place to see them along with eels and small white tip reef sharks. But our luck was not in our favor at the time. We ended up just seeing some fish that didn’t seem too spectacular. The slight disappointment was combated later with chocolate cake with crème sauce at the Fruits of Raro food spot. Chocolate cures a lot in my book.

We took advantage of the island’s rewards as much as we could since we were leaving. I took a swim in our pool since I didn’t have that luxury to do alone back home. And then there was a bucket list item of Robb’s to climb a coconut tree. He gave it an old college try…well maybe lower classmen. I mean what was I doing making fun of him? Like I could climb that tree. What I made fun of was his mandals mostly. Yes, mandals. These ugly (in my opinion and I bet I could find others that would agree) sandal strapped foot devices that were not attractive. But in Robb’s defense, who gives a shit because these things were useful especially in the regions we conquered. Robb definitely gave a good try at climbing that tree for his amateur status but we all know he was no Piri Puruto III, coconut tree climbing legend of the island aka our two time chauffer.

Tonight was the night we were going to Vaima’s for dinner where Kana invited us out. Turns out it was more of a  - we are going to give Kana’s brother’s restaurant more money - invite. That was okay. We weren’t expecting any freebies. I guess we saved money here and there from the islands’ policy not to tip anyway. I had a great dinner. I had garlic bread, the tuna steak stack and a “Sand of Vaima” drink. Then we moved to the bar. The bar had two sides to it. One side was from the inside of the restaurant and the other side was from the outside. Robb and I were inside the restaurant and across the way some attractive surfing travelers from other parts of the country. While we were there we met Kana’s friend, an American from Oceanside, CA that lived on the island. Meeting Kana’s friend kind of made the world smaller since she could relate to us in a way. We talked to her for a bit and even took a picture with her to show our American encounter. It was a horrible photo of me. Kana was talking about what was going on that night on the island and thoughts of possibly going out to a dance club. I was in to get my dance on. We kind of left it an open casual thing where maybe we’ll see you tonight possibly. So we said our goodbyes and headed outside to the scooter to get back to our hillside apartment. Instead of us hopping on the scooter and speeding off back to our place, the scooter would not start. We were there for so long while Robb frustratingly tried to get that thing to start. Robb was on the edge of losing his cool. Finally out of nowhere, Robb succeeded and I think that made him done for the night. We got back to our place and I asked him about going to the bars with me. He declined. So I took the bus by myself to Avarua where the bars/dance clubs were.

The first place I went to was called Whatever Bar & Grill. I bought a Bacardi & Diet and surveyed the scene. I was like whatever and left. Plus I didn’t see Kana or any people from Vaima’s restaurant. Then I went to Rehab where I paid a $2 entry fee. It seemed off the hook for this chill island. I bought a Vodka & Redbull to drink while I was searching for some people with good dance moves. I found a younger local guy that took me up on dancing and seemed to know what he was doing with some confidence. He asked me my name and where I was from. I gave him the information. He seemed happy to find a Southern California beach girl. He asked how long I was staying. I told him I leave tomorrow. That’s where he saw his window of opportunity and invited me to spend some “island time” with him before I left. I was flattered but not easy so I thankfully turned him down and headed out on a mission to get back to the apartment. I spotted Kana’s American friend and said a short goodbye as I walked.

I had to catch the bus back because I had no other secure ride and the busses stopped running at a certain time. I felt relieved to arrive at the bus stop in time. It was there that I met Tutu. Tutu and I spoke of life, experience and perspective. Tutu was another person I would meet in life and never see again most likely. But he was someone I needed. So many people come and go in a person’s lifetime and their life builds on those encounters, moments, looks and conversations. Tutu along with a number of people on this trip were unconsciously useful strangers in the wind.

I took that bus ride, walked up the hill and made it back safely.

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