The Literate Vampires of Aitutaki

Hello again from the Big Blue!

My absence I shall explain merely as an act of mercy to
you, my dear Nutters. I’ve been wallowing in and out of a funk since returning
from Auckland but even in my quasi-depressed state I realized writing at length
about the hardships of living among swaying palms and turquoise waters and
balmy, sunny days would only cause me to look back on such Coconut Chronicles
with profound embarrassment.

Two things finally pulled me out of my fog. First, news
from Guru Terri about her new hubby’s, (Lefsa Gary), latest treatment against
stomach cancer. This woman and her never-ending optimism amaze me. In a show of
support for LG, who went under the clippers to remove the hair that was falling
out because of the chemo he’s going through, Guru sacrificed her own locks as
well. Not only did they both undergo the full sheep-shearing treatment, but
they also took time out to make funny hair-do’s as they went, including a limp
Mohawk and a cowlick gone wild.

Reading about such playfulness in the face of adversity
was just the reality check I needed. Yes, Prez and I have begun to feel as if
our days are spent on a hamster wheel surrounded by pretty scenery but things
could be so much worse.

The next anti-funk remedy was the booking of our flights
back to civilization. Strange how one, mostly symbolic, act can change a girl’s
entire outlook. Nothing has really changed since I booked the tickets – except
for my Visa balance – but it feels as if I’ve just tiptoed downstairs on Xmas
morning and stumbled upon Santa Clause, wiping cookie crumbs from his beard.
“Yes! You’re real!” I shout.

October 1st we fly from Aitutaki to Rarotonga
and at 11:59pm on October 3rd, we fly to Los Angeles. It’s no longer
an idea, a notion, a thought, a possibility…it’s real.

We’d wanted to first spend some time in New Zealand and
possibly Australia but finances need to be considered and we’ll be dragging far
too much luggage with us to make hopping around from place to place fun or
convenient – so we’ve decided to come back to this hemisphere and explore at
another time

What a joy it has been these last few days to chat over
sunset cocktails, calendar and pen in hand, planning our itinerary. As it
stands, stop one will be in 29 Palms to visit with Miz Liz, Mom II & HQ,
and hike our brains out around Joshua Tree National Park. Of course, Vegas is
just too close to resist, so we’ll be zooming over there for a few nights of
much needed hedonism. (Man there’s some good deals to be found in Sin City
right now!). Next we hope to scoot over to Petaluma and pay an overdue visit
with the Benedettis, flying back to Vancouver from San Francisco.

I have lobbied hard for as much time on the coast as
possible. My last stop there was such a whirlwind, this time I’d like to be able
to relax and enjoy some quiet times with our family and friends. (Not to
mention doing some shopping, attending my writer’s group meeting, getting my
teeth cleaned, hair cut, and body checked out)

Our last stop will be Nelson, where we’ll hangout with
the Ripsters before they leave for Australia. We are both anxious to see Nelson
again and reconnect with all our friends there. In short, we miss our “home”.

Along the way, there will be much eating of food.

About three weeks ago, we had a couple come to visit that
had brought with them a load of groceries from Rarotonga. They offered us a
couple of steaks, their generosity no doubt prompted by the trickle of saliva
coming from both of our gaunt faces at the mention of red meat.

The steaks had to be cut from a giant slab of meat and
they were as sweet and delicious as cotton candy.

“You bought this on Raro?” we asked, desperately.

“Yeah, at the CITC,” they answered, tugging the remainder
of the package from our hands.

Five seconds later, Prez was on the phone to Mr Boss
asking him to buy us one of these packs of miracle meat and ship it over ASAP.

We are now on our second meat slab and each yields about
sixteen or seventeen sirloin steaks. Since the only steak available on the
island for the past three or four months has been an unidentifiable part of the
cow, (though I suspect it is the hooves or ears), we have gone a little
red-meat crazy. Suddenly, we are like vampires working the night shift at the
blood bank.

“What should we have for dinner?” Prez will ask and
before I can answer he is taking a saran-wrapped package out of the freezer.
“Steak? Sure, why not.”

Our digestive tracks must be in a mild state of shock. Oh
sure, we still eat some fish and pasta but, even as we’re commenting on how
delicious the sauce is now that we have fresh picked tomatoes, we are dreaming
of the next night when we will once again sink our fangs into the
colon-clogging goodness of beef.

The other compulsion that has taken us over is our
nightly Scrabble game. To be honest, this was all Prez’s doing. He started
playing with the guests, mostly out of boredom but once he figured out that the
game was as much about math and strategy as spelling, that was it.

One guest suggested we might want to change our slogan
to, “Sun, Sand and Scrabble”.

I’m ashamed to tell you how many games I’ve lost to him.
I’d spend ten minutes formulating a six letter word, for a grand total of six
points, and then Prez would play “as”, on a triple letter, double word space,
connecting to three other words, and score 57 points.

I’m slowly learning to put aside my love for syllables
but it’s physically painful. (Last night, however, I struck a crushing blow
with “gargoyle”).

So we’re filling our free time with over consumption of
red meat and an addiction to word games. Life could be worse.

On second thought, maybe our slogan should be, “Sun,
sand, steak and Scrabble”?

QUESTION: Do you scrabble?

Until next time, I hope this finds you healthy, happy
& lovin’ life!

The Princess

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