My friends, kia orana from the Cook Islands. The Islands are probably named after James Cook who discovered them for the crown of England. It was quite an achievement as not much is around and getting lost in the ocean a real threat. It is funny they are called Cook Islands for two things. First the locals seem to enjoy eating quite a bit judging by their diameter in body sizes. Having them sitting on a bike in front of you while you tour the only ring road around the island of Rarotonga gives you plenty of time to take a closer look. The second part is that probably now you are safe, but the term family butcher had more of a double meaning as you probably wished. On special occasions the menu for the locals featured as a dish of the day the odd tender tourist or potential conquerer. Good old times, now the tourists can only be milked for their money. A bit of a shame indeed. I met already two where I would not have minded too much, if the locals still took a view.
Anyway, speed in Rarotonga is slow: the max speed limit is 50 and people have decided that this is really quick and might rather choose a more relaxed speed while travelling on the street. By doing that the island might as well look a bit bigger and the round will take you roughly 40 minutes. Another reason for the cautious driving might be that fore gardens along the road feature almost unanimously some signs of graveyards. So you are reminded that driving without a helmet what most people still do here is potentially lethal. Since the natives decided to move down from the mountain areas to the seafront they have no vacant space anymore to bury their lost family members. So they took a practical view and kept their family members close to home in their garden along the road. People can stop by conveniently, if they want to say hello to a good soul resting in peace there. The circle of life in that sense is very a real one here at the ring road. Here you are born, raised, live your life and spend your afterlife. It is your wheel of fortune indeed.
On your way you will be surprised how many dogs you will meet. There are 4.500 dogs living on Rarotonga. They live happily here and were very fertile indeed. Now a campaign is looking to get their population under control and I guess balls are off for male dogs… They have our sympathy and we shall feed them some treats while on the island. On the flip side you can see when dogs are in a natural environment, they are able to move and live alongside people, aggression is pretty alien to them. All the dogs are really well tempered and you forget that most of them are the size of a German sheperd, while you greet the next one on the beach or street or in the hotel lobby.
Here you are in paradise or as a prisoner stuck on an island. In my view a bit of both and you have to be ready for enjoying days with much ado about nothing. The beaches are ok, the weather changes, we did not see too many fishes worth writing about and in principal kayaking the lagoon, driving your scooter, playing a round of mini golf, enjoy ing the seafood, listening to the local sounds of the local music, having a cocktail, take a bath in the sea while listening to the waves rolling in that is it. It is a true Betty Ford clinic for internet junkies as WIFI is just about to arrive here. It is bloody dear and far in between. We are learning how life was before the WIFI age and it is difficult my friends, but not impossible. We will keep you updated how we get along as time progresses. Spatzl is running out of coins on her kitchen game on the Ipad that allows her to keep on playing. So we probably need a good WIFI soon or I will have to cope with this expressive “I am bored face” of young children. When they are older, trust me, it is not more comfortable nor will an adult´s argument help a lot. Anyway, if paradise will be WIFI free it will take time to adjust.
We also visited a ghost resort. Sheraton wanted to build a huge holiday destination in the Cook Islands and from what you can see they were about to open up, when everything came to a standstill and the plan fell apart. From what we could gather there was huge fraud going on behind the scenes and one got killed over the whole story. The rest is in disguise and we probably have to mingle more with locals to uncover the rest. Fact is the place never took off since. It is rumoured to be cursed by the locals and no-one got lucky after the mysterious first failure. A couple of investors tried though. The whole story shows that going against the indigenous people on an island will never work.