Last day in the Cook Islands

Today is our last day in the South Pacific Islands. What a different experience we have had in the two different island groups of Fiji and the Cooks Islands. Fiji was Ali and Maisie’s favourite destination of our whole trip so far. They just loved it and who could fail to fall in love with such a gorgeous place, the warmest friendliest people and for us at this time fantastic value for money. For anyone reading this who wants an amazing holiday on the cheap it has to be one of the best places to visit on the planet and we would recommend it to anyone. Regardless of whether you are looking for a party place or a quiet and peaceful retreat, Fiji really does seem to have it all.

On the other hand for us the Cook Islands have been a huge disappointment. The weather hasn’t been very good and it has rained on and off for the last two days, this has made it difficult and we seem to be one of a lot of families dragging bored looking children around. We had heard some very good reports prior to coming here and I wouldn’t want to put anyone else off as I’m sure if it had been sunny and dry we would have been happier here. Despite these thoughts though I wouldn’t come back, although the coastline is lovely its only as pretty as Fiji ( maybe not quite as good) and the islanders seem more jaded towards travellers. It is also quite expensive for what you get, the meal we had last night although ok cost 120 NZD and just wasn’t worth that.

We spend the day sorting out our rucksacks for what will probably be the last time. I get really nostalgic and I cry a bit when we leave half of our first aid kit stuff behind. We don’t want to carry needles and syringes to the US to avoid any awkwardness at immigration and thankfully haven’t needed any more than paracetamol, strepsils and one lot of antibiotics. I figure that if we need it now we are going to the country with the world’s best healthcare so no worries.

It’s so sad though, unavoidably today we have had to face the fact that we’ll be home in two weeks and the thought makes me feel sadder than I could have imagined. Although we always knew there was a time limit for us and we’re looking forward to seeing all our family and friends I can’t help wondering if we’ll ever experience again that total thrill of anticipation, excitement, nervousness and freedom that we felt when we left 9 and a half months ago.

On a much lighter note we have had an email from Dad and Pauline today and they have sent us a fantastic itinerary for America based on what we told them we wanted to do. So exciting! They have suggested some other places to see and visit that we hadn’t thought of and we can’t wait to get there and see it all for ourselves.

Our flight is at 11.50 tonight – just sat watching Dreamgirls and then off out for dinner before getting a taxi at 9pm. Next blog will be from LA – yeh !!

Midnight- oh my god what a nightmare experience we have just had and now I really have turned against the Cook Islands. Sod it – I wouldn’t recommend the place to anyone. At 9.30pm (half an hour late) our taxi arrived to take us to the airport. When Simon booked it at 6pm he waited by reception and asked the receptionist to ask the taxi company how much it would cost as a previous taxi to the airport (when we went to change our flight) ended up costing 30 dollars instead of the 15-20 we had been told and we need to ensure we have enough cash to pay.

The company relayed the information that the taxi would cost 20 dollars but when we get out and Simon hands over the money the woman says the cost will be 60 dollars. Oh my god- what a rip off that’s nearly 25 quid for a 4 minute taxi ride and I’m not surprised when Simon refuses to pay up.
The woman goes mad and stalks us around the airport, after telling the check in guy all about it she eventually reports us to the police who to our amazement and horror completely take her side and tells us we have to pay. A huge row ensues and once it starts to get really heated I back off with the kids leaving Simon to deal with it. I have to laugh when he virtually accuses the policeman of extortion but it gets a bit more worrying when the guy then appears to put his hand on his gun. In the end Simon pays an extra 10 dollars and just walks off – a scary experience that I wouldn’t want to repeat.