Day 24 – Promises to keep

It’s Tuesday. I got back yesterday at 10 in the morning after a trip of 31 hours. I will never use Star Alliance again. Air New Zealand is in partnership with Air Canada through Star Alliance. I got into LA from Rarotonga about 11:AM (a 9 hour flight) and my Air Canada flight left two hours late about 8:30 pm. That meant I was in Calgary about 1:00 in the morning and didn’t leave until 7:40 am. There was a perfectly nice West Jet flight leaving at 4:00 pm. I likely could have made a connection Sunday evening to Saskatoon.

Once home I tried to stay up so I’d get back on Saskatoon time (I was making up 3 hours) and almost succeeded. Phoebe, Erika and I had a nice three way Skype call in the afternoon.

Over the next day or two, I’ll get caught up on my blog, now that I have decent internet connectivity.

The important thing I got from my trip to the Cook Islands is that I love the place. It is everything the South Pacific should be – commercial on a very human scale, most of modern amenities are available (although internet service at the hotel sucked), people who want to talk to you, relief from my mental illness, and the whole authentic natural beauty that you dream about.

Yes, a week in Hawaii during March is cheaper by $766 dollars ($1741 versus $975 according to Orbitz). It doesn’t cost much more to fly to one of the other islands in Hawaii. The costs in the Cook Islands are about 30 to 40 percent higher than in Saskatoon (one Canadian dollar buys one New Zealand dollar for $CDN 1.16, which is what is used on CI). Trips to the outer islands can be really expensive, although I’ve found a local vacation planner who is very reasonable.

The best way to visit CI is to find a suite where you can do a lot of your own cooking. You can probably do better on accommodation if you’re not on the beach. On the other hand, if you can put up with more primitive accommodation and a hot plate, the Kiikii is $70 a night for bargain accommodation and if you ask for Room 22, you are 20 metres away from the ocean.

I would also recommend Global Volunteers to anyone. It’s a great way to get to know the locals and at $3,000 for 21 days is a real bargain in terms of food and accommodations. The work they have you doing in the schools is fairly straight forward, if repetitive at times (testing reading). You get to know your fellow volunteers very well and I’ve made some friends throughout the U. S.

Time to start saving money. I don’t have to go as nuts spending money on the garden this summer.

I’m waiting for spring in Saskatoon. March doesn’t look very promising according to weather records, but April has possibilities. Plus, global warming seems to be upping the average temperature, so who knows.

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