Saturday in Rarotonga

The roosters were crowing at around 6:30. We got out of bed at 7. The view from our open bedroom window is stunning — the rising sun’s rays were illuminating the forest-covered volcanic mountain that is the centre of this island. Coconut trees hardly moving in the stillness. The air is warm but you can feel the hot humidity that is just around the corner.

We showered (what a waste of time and energy THAT was!) and Sue made some good coffee with the French press in the kitchen. We gathered up our assortment of reusable cloth grocery bags and headed into town. A few houses down from our villa a lovely young lady approached us and introduced herself: Elliot, the girl Sue had made the AirBnB booking with. Very friendly, asked us how our night had been. Anything we need? Feel free to stop by the house and ask. NICE! We explained that we were just on our way into town. Did we want a ride? No thanks, we’re happy to walk. We actually had no idea where we were going, but we followed the driveway out. Along the way we passed quite a few roosters and mother hens with their families of chicks scurrying around, scratching the grass, looking for the ‘early worm’. For a while we were followed by a little piglet and when I turned around to take a photo he/she scurried off to join a big old sow rutting around in a heap of garbage in someone’s garden. And when we got close to the main road a few mangy dogs joined together in a barking contest and nearly scared Sue back to our cottage.

We got to the end of the driveway and turned right. There is only one main road that circles the island, so it’s probably impossible to get lost here. Already there were lots of cars and scooters on the road; all of them, presumably, were going to the one and only Saturday Market! So were we.

Vans and trailers were parked at the side of the road. Quite a few stalls were already set up before we even got to the actual market. Not far from our corner we came upon the CITC Grocery and Liquor Store — the only ‘big’ store of its kind on the island. WELL! That’s convenient! We checked out the store shelves and were very surprised to see the selection and variety of products. That same sausage and cheese and crackers we’d packed into our suitcase because those things were either hard to get or very expensive here? All available here and the price difference was negligible!

The Saturday Market

Once we knew what we COULD get at the grocery store, we continued on to the market. Fruits and vegetables were supposed to be MUCH cheaper and better here. So we wandered around. Sue was doing her best to find us a RIPE avocado. Slowly but surely our shopping bag was getting full.

Several stalls were offering breakfasts, and good coffees, and fruit smoothies. We plunked ourselves down at a little plastic table next to a ‘waffle and fruit’ breakfast vendor. Busy place. We were joined by another couple — turned out they were Canadians, from Vancouver, visiting the Cooks for 3 weeks. We drank our coffees and visited for a bit.

On our way back to our house we again stopped at the grocery store — and this time we loaded up our bags “bigly”. Although the trip from there back to our villa was only a short walk, we had to stop and trade carrying hands a few times on the way home, just to keep our arms from falling off.

Back at the villa we put away the groceries and then plunked ourselves down on the patio — exhausted! Man! It is STINKING HOT here. And the humidity is almost unbearable. Sue, of course, thinks it’s just lovely! 

We had lunch on the patio. Bohemian pilsner came out of our fridge feeling refreshingly cold, but relief from the heat was brief. It did little to bring the body temp back into a tolerable range. Whenever a little gust of a mountain breeze blew over our big cedar deck it felt (and smelled) like we were sitting in a sauna that was probably getting a little too hot, and you should probably run outside and roll around in the snow for a bit before the top of your head blows off. 

And how could ANYBODY actually get any work done in this heat? But I watched the owner of our complex push a lawn mower around for a while, and then he brought out his riding mower and continued working under the hot sun. I was feeling so lethargic I couldn’t be bothered to ‘twitch’ my leg when a fly landed on my foot and started to tickle me. Both Sue and I had at least one nap each. 

Sue put together a little happy hour snack. Elliot, our host, came over and checked in on us to see how we were doing. She explained that because another customer had requested Villa #1, we’d been ‘upgraded’ to Villa #2. So THAT’S why our place didn’t look anything like the photos we’d seen when we booked it.

At around 7pm Sue and I ventured out. We walked about a kilometre along the main road to a hotel/restaurant that our hosts had recommended. We got a table overlooking the ocean where the sun was just setting. We ordered our food, but neither of us was particularly hungry. We both picked at our food for a while and listened to the ‘world geography quiz’ that the young people sitting at the table next to ours were playing. We paid our bill and walked back along what was now a very dark road. I used my phone flashlight to guide us on the way. 

Back at the villa, the windows and doors were opened wide, our ceiling fans were switched to ‘high’. But it wasn’t really comfortable yet. Sue and I each took a shower, trying to cool down. That helped a bit. 

We sat on the patio and filled in a crossword puzzle together. Finally, at around eleven, we called it a day and went to bed. Finally, the night air coming through our window is bringing us some relief.