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July 17, 2001
Greetings from Rarotonga (Gail)

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Gail on our very own, personal, private beach

Somebody pinch me.

After a year of planning we are finally here in the Cook islands. The boys are on the beach, the parents are relaxing. I am in heaven and it's only 10a.m. on our first day. We have not had breakfast yet but the boys are so busy building a seawall to keep the ocean at bay they don't care.

In our previous email you heard a little about how crazy the last few weeks have been, things breaking, people getting sick, schedules useless and plans falling apart (a safari that was all but paid for fell through the beginning of June).

Leaving home knowing we wouldn't see it for a year was hard, but despite Russell's prediction that he would have three basket cases on his hands, no one cried as we got on the plane.

Once we were finally on the Air NZ flight the boys were thrilled with all the gizmos the seats had., I was thrilled with the leg room.

We arrived at the Rarotonga Airport at 3:00 a.m. (one half hour early) and were greeted with the Polynesian Spirit, music, singing, flowers and friendly customs agents. After meeting with the home rental agent we were taken to a beautiful house right on the beach, which we could hear but not see as it was pitch dark.

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4:00 am in the Ra Mura house

The boys were excited about the mosquito netting over the beds, which they used, though there are no mosquitoes.

Everyone settled into sleep for few more hours, and then MEOW,

MEOW.

An orange tabby was crying outside and setting off the motion sensitive lights, then Cock A Doodle Do, a rooster announced it was morning at 4:30.

It made for an interesting first "night".

This morning we discover the cat is Rusty and he comes with the house, very friendly. I guess he was a bit upset to be left out all night. The rooster is, well I have no idea, but close.

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Rusty the cat on the refrigerator
Ra Mura house
The beach

So here we are, new world travelers. I finally have the time to realize what is we are doing, and also realize just how lucky we are.

The rest of the world waits, but I plan to enjoy my beach, my family and, oh yes, Rusty the cat.

Will write again soon, Gail

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Gail and sunset. "I don't have wine, and I don't even care."

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