A Travellerspoint blog

Cook Islands

Last day


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Feeling a bit sick today. I'm sure it's all that wind finally getting to me. I take the care back and head back to town for the last time. Need to finish my gift shopping. Visit to the museum is on my agenda as well. It's not huge, but worth seeing nevertheless. $2,50 donation for entry. On the way out I notice there's a University building hiding between trees.

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I give Salsa Cafe another try. They are less busy and I order straight away. 20 minutes (not a very long wait by the island standards) my Gumba Ya Ya. Yummy, worth the wait. My last meal on the island. This time I chose to go anti-clock wise on the bust. Not the best idea, apart from the fact that it takes longer it was chocker full. By the time I got back it was raining again. I packed up and spend few last moments reading my magazines. I noticed a huge spider just above my bed. Luckily I won't have to sleep here tonight. Tonight it's $7 steak night at the local so I get ride to the airport with everyone. The duty free prices here are crazy. $20 for most 1L spirits. I buy two bottles. One for Magic and one for me. I managed to score a window seat and could admire the view from atop. Lights only around the island where the main road is. I get home by 1am. No work for me tomorrow...

Posted by martenia 04:15 Archived in Cook Islands Comments (0)

Round I go


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Oh my.. blue sky. My had is not too well this morning, but I make an early start and head to rent-a-car place, so I can explore the island a bit more. The only car that's left, that's not manual, is a yuk green convertible. At $70 for 24 hours I take it. Of course there's no petrol in it. I put in $15 hopping it will last. What a great feeling to be driving again. The buses here are not bad, but I can see more secluded places with no need to wait an hour for the bus.

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First stop the Papua (Wigmore’s) Waterfall. The road leading to it was really narrow. Luckily there was no other cars passing by. The waterfall itself is not huge, but is nice enough to take some photos. Then I have a bite at a cafe near by. All the local dishes are out and I settle for a chicken wrap, island style. Not sure what's so island about it. I'm off to Hospital Hill where there is lovely view of the island down bellow. On the way to black rock I stop at the palace at Arorangi and few beaches.. just because I can. Off to do some groceries at Avarua. Next off to ancient Marae. The map I have is not very accurate, but after two tries I get there. It's not very exciting either. Few rocks sticking off the ground. Nice picking spot. By now I'm on the East side of the island where the sea is pretty rough, no reef there. It seems very windy as well. There's another old Marae on the way to the bay where, the legend says, canoes launched to travel to New Zealand. I stop at the Pacific Resort to take some photos, but the clouds are at it again. The photos won't look very impressive when I get back home, which is a shame. I get some gifts and head back to backpackers. I manage to catch some sun before the evening and have quick swim in the sea. Feels great after long day sightseeing. I get back just in time for curry night. $6 gets you a plate of yummy chicken curry. Then a DVD, a british comedy.

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The excitement of the day doesn't end there. Tonight it's jet blasting night. That's new to me. We situated ourselves on the sidewalk just next to the airport on the plane's path. It's pitch black. Behind us water, in front road with cars passing by and just above that air strip. Patiently waiting for the plane. Finally, after 20 minutes a small aircraft flies right above our heads blowing hot air. It was a bit freaky for second. As soon as we got to our pick up point it poured from the sky. Luckily we had shelter. Another 30 minute wait. After that exciting day I go straight to bed.

Posted by martenia 04:07 Archived in Cook Islands Comments (0)

It's raining in paradise


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Clouds again. Doesn't look like a good day to rent a car. I go to town instead. First stop shopping centre. Can't decide what I want to buy for gifts. Clothes are pretty expensive here and half of them are NZ labels. After visiting yet another black pearl shop I find one that has what I need at a OK price. The pearls are not perfect, but that's the best I can do with my budget.

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Time to eat. I head to a nearby Salsa Cafe. It takes some time and nagging to even get the menu. After 15 min of being ignored I decide to move on. By this time it stops raining. Near by I find Blue Note Cafe with slightly mediterranean feel to it. Yellow walls with scrapped paint, big wooden tables and chairs. I order eke (octopus) with root veggies and island style spinach. The sun is out so I can sit outside. I'm surprised to see people eating the same, old food while overseas. I'm always keen to try new things. I was even more surprised when my meal arrived. The octopus was massive, not the baby variety I'm used to. The meal proves to be tasty, once you go past the scariness of it. Afterwards I make my way around the town, that's not very big. I leave the museum visit for next time. I'm keen to get some refreshment in the lagoon. Nothing beats the clean, shallow water with no waves.

Tonight is the party night and it's all happening at the RSA, as weird as it sounds. $3,50 for a pre-mixed drink is not bad. We get a ride for $6 both ways. There's 8 of us going. The place is already pumping by the time we get there and I start on my vodka's straight away. I had way too many, but I had too much fun to notice. The music was great and I danced the night away. At the end of the night there was a local dance competition where alcohol could be won. Unfortunately at midnight the place was closing and we made way to our meeting spot. After that we stayed up till 3am drinking some more and talking. At 1am my new roommate arrived, from Japan.

Posted by martenia 03:16 Archived in Cook Islands Comments (0)

Lazy day


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Church day. Skirt or dress is compulsory so I have to dust off the dress I wore to the wedding. That's my only option. Busing again. We manage to get there right on time. The CICC Church in Arorangi is suppose to be the biggest and oldest on the Island. That's where the gospel arrived on the island. The church is white with a touch of blue. Little cemetery and bell are in from of it. Some locals like to bury their family members in their own backyards. Lot of them have fresh flowers on graves. Most of the islanders move around the island on bikes. It’s funny seeing them arriving all dressed up on a bike. The parish is full and it seems half of the attendees are tourists. All the rarotongan ladies wear hats. Singing is really enjoyable and takes most of the service with the priest, looking slightly bored, only speaks at the end. The service took one a half hour. A bit longer than expected. Then we are invited next door for a morning tea where we also receive a little history lesson about the village. I find out that Arorangi means ‘Look up to the sky’. Next door to the church is a modest looking palace of a local queen. We get a free ride back to the backpackers, not without dramas. Back wheel gets stuck in a big hole and it takes a lot of man power to get it out.

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Quick change of clothes and I’m off to Rarotongan Beach Resort for a pool side performance. Unfortunately it gets moved inside. It’s all about God today. Lovely performance though. But I’m really keen to take advantage of that lovely sun before it goes away. This resort is the best place for snorkeling. The fish is everywhere. It’s windy as hell so I opt for our quiet beach. Unfortunetly clouds come around again and I don’t get much time in the water.

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Everything is closed today, so I have a relaxing evening with everyone and still have the room to myslef.

Posted by martenia 16:39 Archived in Cook Islands Comments (0)

Day two


For some crazy reason my sunburn doesn't hurt. I had a nice sleep and early start again. Today is market day, so we want to make the most of it. The only way we can get to town is bus. There's only one an hour going clockwise and one an hour going opposite direction. Every tourist seems to head to the same spot as us. The bus is full and seats small. Japanese made. Avarua, the main town is not very huge, but civilized. There's everything one would need.

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The market is buzzing with people from all over the island. On offer are clothes, souvenirs, some food and local produce. You can buy pearls in every corner of the island. They ain't that cheap, not even at the markets. It's hard to get a pearl that is perfect. I buy few gifts, some for myself of course. We get some lunch. Since it's winter time now, there's not much fruit, but since I love paw paw I make sure I don't leave the market without. They are very cheap too, comparing to $15 for a kilo of pears. Ouch.

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Finally it clears up and I get a chance to have a swim. Picture perfect setting. I hope it will stay that way for the rest of my stay. Calm water, great sand, blue sky and warm water. Nice! There's broadband at the backpackers. Well, I wouldn't wall it broadband, but $1 for 6 minutes is not bad. Sucks that my mobile is not working here. I'm starting to be glad that I chose this place. It's cheap, with very friend owners. There's a shop, petrol station, cafe and the bus stop right on the doorstep. You can hail the bus anywhere though. For dinner we have a BBQ. For $5 we will get salads and only need to bring our own meet. Yummy food. It's a great chance to get everyone a bit better as well. There are only 10 of us there. We get a lesson how open coconuts as well. Useful skill when I ever get stuck on some deserted island. We watch a DVD to top it off. No rommie for me tonight either.

Posted by martenia 16:15 Archived in Cook Islands Comments (0)

I'm here!


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The day has finally came. After months of waiting and planning I'm on flight NZ28 to Rarotonga. How's that for a food choice: fish or chicken pie? A truly Kiwi meal, like it or not. The trip was pretty uneventful and boring. It would help if there was a good movie on. The landing was pretty bumpy though. At the lending some oxygen masks fell down. They do exist! Must of been freaky for the people to our. It's warm when we get off and we are greeted by ukulele playing dude. A nice touch. Straight away I wander off to duty free shop. 1L Absolut for $20? Yes, please! They don't even scan our bags on the entry. We get a free ride to the International Backpackers. By the time we get there it's almost 11pm... Thursday. Everyone seems to be up and enjoying the night. The place is modest, but for that price you can't expect more really. It's clean and tidy. After we settle down we make a trip to the store around the corner, which is still open to our joy. We get some breakfast for the next day. Pretty limited selection, but they have V, $3 a pop, so I'm happy. I can feed my addiction. The beach is few steps away. It's pitch black, so we can't see much, but there are coconuts everywhere. Everyone is friendly at the backpackers and makes an effort to talk to us. Then I finally meet my roomie, Katia, from Germany.

Friday... again

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Oops. Clouds, wind... not good for a wedding day. It's still 3 hours to go, so it might clear up. After getting we ready we are lucky to get a ride to the resort where the wedding is taking place. A really beautiful place with only 10 villas. The ceremony was right on the beach. It was pretty windy, but nothing could spoil that day. Even the sun came out. Drinks and a delicious lunch follows.

We get back to the backpackers to change, but before that we quickly check out our beach. It's really nice. No wind, to our surprise. No waves and crystal clear water. Heaven. All I want to do is get in there. That's when I discover how burned I am, with a lovely triangle on my back.

For the evening entertainment we go to The Pacific Resort for the famous Island Night. It's a huge resort with ponds, rivers and bridges and lash flora. The night starts with the happy hour and cocktails start to flow to the music of a local band, if you can call it that. Then traditional island feast follows. To be honest the reception food what so much better. After we clean out our plates a cultural group entertains us with traditional wooden drums that sound amazing. To go with the music there's dancing of course. It seems basic with lots of hip and knee movements. Everyone from the age of 5 is involved. Desert. More drinks. It's been a long day and busy day, so by 10pm I'm knackered. Whole group of us catches a bus that almost runs me over. Somehow we manage to find our place. It's midnight when I get to bed, hoping I'll have a better sleep than the night before. Luckily for me I have no roomie tonight. Alarm clock in not needed around here. Roosters do a great job. Who cares if it's at 5am. One by one they go off.

Posted by martenia 01:16 Archived in Cook Islands Comments (0)

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