Scrambled eggs for breakfast. Email from Mom wishing me a happy birthday. Cloudy skies, so there may be some relief from the oppressive heat today. The plan is to buy a parcel of bus tickets and travel around the island. It’s a 32km trip all the way around — we can almost WALK it. Almost.
Sue packed her suntan lotion, swimsuit, and beach towel into a bag. We added a couple of small umbrellas. We went out to the supermarket just around the corner from our driveway to wait for one of the two busses. One does the clockwise circuit every hour, the other does the counter-clockwise (or ‘anti-clockwise’ as they say here) circuit. The schedule said we had just missed a bus, so that meant we could sit on the roadside bench and enjoy the warm sunshine for half an hour. Meanwhile, since we’d run out of internet data again this morning, I ran into the supermarket to buy another $10 voucher. NOTHING happens quickly here on the island. The friendly, but very relaxed, islanders found many important things to do and people to chat with while I waited impatiently for my voucher to be printed out. Still, I got back to the bus stop with time to spare.
The bus will make as many or as few stops as is required — you just wave them down when the come by. So it took us only about half an hour to get to where we wanted to get off for our first stop.
Partly we felt somewhat obliged to at least have a look at some of the resorts, beaches, and facilities on the south side of the island. Before booking this leg of our trip, Sue had received some travel tips and recommendations from a couple of travel agents who had been here. Beach-front cottages at two different resorts came highly recommended. While we hadn’t booked either of them, the old travel agent in Sue needed to scout them out. So that’s how we picked our ‘drop-off’ point.
The first little resort had cottages on both sides of the main road. Sue asked to see a room and had a quick ‘tour’. The cottages on the beach side of the road cost double that of the ones on the island side. Our hosts told us that the BEST beach was actually not far from where our villa is located — the water is clean and clear and cool. They claim that the sea on the south side of the island has a lot of algae in it. We didn’t bother to check that out — we are not beach people and it would have made not difference to us.
We started walking beside the road — not too much traffic here so we only had to step off occasionally. We must have walked for at least 4kms. The cloudy sky made the temperature for walking bearable. And the intermittent rain showers gave us a chance to try out our umbrellas as we scrambled to find a place under a big tree to shelter us.
At some point, surely way past our ‘official’ lunch time, we stopped at a lovely ‘high-end exclusive’ resort. Sue asked if we could walk through it and have a lunch at the beachside restaurant. They said of course and ushered us in. White table-cloths. Infinity pool overlooking the beach. Very nice.
We ordered off the lunch menu. Fancy-schmantzy. Sue loved it.
After our leisurely lunch we continued on our walk. We were sopping wet, either from the heat or from the regular rain showers. The umbrellas popped in and out of our ‘beach bag’ quite a few times.
Although we had originally thought we’d take the bus from the one resort to the next, we ended up WALKING all the way to the next one. And past it. And all the way through the next village, the second largest one on the island. We ended up standing in the pouring rain, umbrellas up, waiting for the next ‘clockwise’ bus for about 20 minutes. But when it came, it stopped no problem, let us board, and drove us back to Rarotonga, ‘our’ town.
We exited the bus in the centre of town so Sue could head over to what is purportedly THE TOP restaurant on the island and make birthday dinner reservations for tomorrow night. It’ll be HER treat; i.e. she’ll PAY for it, and she’ll LOVE it.
We only pulled out the umbrellas one more time on the walk home from the town centre. That’s how it is here on the island — it rains, it stops, it rains in one village, the sun shines in the next village.
All our chicken and rooster friends welcomed us home upon our arrival, clucking and crowing and running after us as we walked up our driveway and up onto our deck. Isn’t it nice to be home again!
Well, now that we’ve acclimatized ourselves to the temperature here, and had a good look at more than just our immediate neighbourhood, it’s perhaps time to take stock of things and share with you some of the things I like best about the Cook Islands. I was thinking of posting a “Top Ten” list, but that proved to be somewhat of a challenge. So I’ll start with my “Top Three” things now, and add to the list as more “fun” things occur to me.
TOP THREE FAVOURITE COOK ISLAND EXPERIENCES
Like I say, I hope to add to the list. You might want to check back sometime to see if I’ve thought of anything else.
We showered and sat on our deck, reading, for a while. Although my sore throat was feeling better, I wasn’t quite a hundred percent yet. Sue offered to make something for supper, but neither of us had much of an appetite. So we sat and read and listened to the geckos chirping on the ceiling of the patio.