Rarotonga arrival

approx. 3:30 local time

We come in low over the water and lights that indicate there’s hills east of the airport.

We step out of the airplane on to steps, one set each at the front and back of the plane, and the air is warm – dark, thick, and heavy with tropical humidity after the sealed dry compression of the flight.

Landing a few hours after midnight, it’s the last flight of the night and duty free closes as soon as the last passenger queues for customs and while we wait, old fashioned fans in the airport carry music to us from a small band next to the baggage carousal as well as a leisurely breeze.

Waiting for us at the curb on the other side is a driver from the backpacker lodge where we have reservations. He helps us load our baggage into a white van. With the driver’s seat being on the right hand side, it’s the smaller, Pacific cousin of the vehicle I rode in just over six years ago down damp dirt roads in Walungu Province.

As suddenly they appear and vanish in the headlights, he points out resorts, restaurants and the hospital, seeming disappointed by our lack of energetic response. But through the flight fatigue we do sense that there’s a lushness to the vegetation and a freshness to the breeze that’s stronger now as it rolls in through the open windows.

After parking, we shlep our bags towards a stilted bungalow and find ourselves staring at the ocean that will be waiting outside our door in the morning.

A path to the heavy gold setting moon sits upon the waves & the milky way looks as of the stars offered the ocean a bracelet or threw a scarf around their shoulder & let the end fall into the water.


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