Monday, September 27, 2010

Lazy Day of Fun in Rarotonga

Lazy day in Rarotonga
While we were feeding the fish in the lagoon at Edgewater, we were told of how there have been fish fed for many years at the Rarotongan Beach Resort and Spa, so we thought we might go visit the big Rarotongan during the morning. In preparation we gathered up some of the bread crusts from the breakfast buffet for the fish and some small cup cake/muffins for us to nibble on.
The Rarotongan is about 15 minutes drive away from our resort, a pleasant journey along the coast or slightly longer if you drive along the inland road, through the countryside and all the small farms and gardens.
We arrived at the Rarotongan, and just walked ion as if we were residents straight though the dining room and out onto the balcony which is built out over the water so the fish can swim beneath it and hide waiting for their feast of bread to be thrown to them. We hurled some bread in and other people who had biscuits to feed them tossed their offerings, all at once the sea just boiled with thee threshing of all the really big fish all determined to be the one to get the food, they fought over the scraps even. These fish were a different variety to the smaller fish we had been feeding at Edgewater, and very much bigger since this part of the lagoon has been a reserve and fish sanctuary for a long time and the fish have been able to grow to full size. One day the fish at Edgewater might well grow nearly as big, but I wouldn’t like to be in swimming with them then!

We drove on along the coast road looking for a nice spot for a picnic, we had bought a long cheese roll to fill with lettuce, tomatoes and ham and a local banana Pickle, along with a banana each and a bag of the cup cake/muffins and a bottle of water. But as we drove along we passed a private home with a small sign at the gate advertising Choc Mousse, trifle and Pineapple Pie. We couldn’t resist the Pineapple pie, so we stopped and were about to go through the gate when a lovely lady ran out and welcomed us to her property with a big hug and a kiss on each cheek. She drew us inside to proudly show us the Pineapple pie. It was so delicious looking we just had to buy some; half was all we could reasonable expect to be able to eat, as it was quite large and covered with big piles of golden meringue on top of the pineapple custardy mixture in a pastry case. Only cost us $9 for this wonder creation, which we could hardly wait to eat, once we found a good picnic spot, it got us all sticky with juice that dribbled down our chins and arms, but we just loved it. Had to go for a quick swim to wash off the stickiness! And use up some of those excess calories!
There was a native out-rigger canoe sitting on the shore, we would have loved to have pushed this out into the water and had a spin around the lagoon, but we didn’t do anything as naughty as that. I sat in it for a moment and Erle took my photo, or was it the photo of the convertible! If you enlarge the photo you can see an white aura around my head, amazing, or is it the spirit of the owner of the canoe? The native people frequently where a ring of flowers on their head, both men and women, it looks so nice, but I was not wearing any flowers on my head at that time, later Erle gave me a flower for my hair but that was back at the apartment.(It was surprise to see this when we got home.)

Later when we got back to our room we sat out on the balcony in the sun,with a glass of wine, and wrote up lots of postcards to all our friends encouraging them all to come to this fabulous holiday destination.
Tonight there is a crab race held beside the swimming pool, we were surprised how many holidaymakers turned out to watch and bet on the poor Hermit crabs. You could only bet $2 on the race and it was winner takes all. A big bucket of Hermit crabs was brought out, everyone was numbered and ready to race. When the bucket was overturned onto a dish and pretty soon a few leapt out of the dish and headed of in all directions quite fast too, one of them much faster and soon a winner was declared. A happy winning punter beamed as he took his winnings but the hapless crab was put back into the bucket for the next race!
The races were interrupted from time to time by a call of “Whales” when everyone quickly turned and gazed out to sea, crab race forgotten, to catch the slow graceful arch of the whale back and tail flip before it dived under water again.
There was a couple of young girls watching with a huge bucket size glass of a extremely heady cocktail, I asked them about it and was told each of them had cost $50 and probable had nearly a bottle of mixed alcohol in it. A suggested that they take all night to drink it,, I asked to photograph one of the glasses. Doesn’t that look nice!
We then drove our cute little convertible to the Big Game Fishing Club for our nightly round of drinks and fresh fish and chips, with Prawn twisters, prawns wrapped in a pastry case formed into a long thin twist, absolutely yummy when dipped into chilli sauce.
I would have liked to have had a big cocktail but it looked like just too much for me. Isn't it a beauty!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Our wheels in Rarotonga

Our Wheels in Rarotonga.
We got the phone number of a rental firm that hired the 3 wheel scooter/cycles and tried phoning them, but unfortunately we didn’t know you had to dial 9 for an outside line! So some poor person in Unit 225 got an early morning wake up call on Monday morning…. Oops. Finally got the right firm and they sent a car to pick us up. They showed us these weird 3 wheel scooter things, they have two halves, the base that stays solid on the ground and a top section that sways and wiggles from side to side, the man said it was quite difficult to master.

Erle has ridden motorbikes most of his life so he thought he would be able to control this strange vehicle, so hopped on it and wobbled wildly from side to side before he gingerly moved slowly forward with the bike swaying every which way, before he had time to get it under control it wobbled right into the side of a truck! He wasn’t hurt as he was hardly moving, just knocked a little piece of paint off and dented his pride a little. Erle said it was the oddest feeling, but he would of got used to it pretty soon, however I said to the owners, put that oddity away and bring out a nice convertible! Neither of us had ever had the luxury of a drive in a convertible, with the wind in our hair and all that.
We drove away with big grins all over our faces with that said wind blowing our hair around, an excellent deal, we are going to enjoy driving this, or rather Erle is, I didn’t buy my license over here so must not drive.

We took it straight back to our apartment, picked up our picnic lunch salads, buns and drinks and also our snorkeling gear., Off we went to Muri Beach, where we wanted to have our accommodation and couldn’t. Ah its so pretty round that way the beach is lovely and the small islands keep it nice and sheltered from the breezes, we checked out as many places as we could before settling on a nice private beach.

Erle could hardly wait to get his hands under the bonnet and tinker with the engine!

We saw this quite rude show-off, big carving while we were looking around.
We laid out our picnic on our big swimming towels and were just about to eat when 2 scooters and another car pulled in to the same nice private beach and preceded to also have a picnic or change to go snorkelling. Not a problem really, with so very many travelers staying on the island there is probably no where you can be alone for long. We lazed on the beach in the sun for a while before moving to a different cove to try out the snorkelling, we found there were less fish but prettier coral in the bay we chose, so there are differences as you move around the island. Each place is good but some are clearly superior.

We had been told to be sure to go out to the Big Game Fishing Club while we were here, so tonight seemed a very good time. The Fishing Club is about on the opposite side of the island from where we are at Edgewater, but that’s not a problem when you have a car. Now that we have been there we have to also say it is a great place to go for an evening drink, the prices are very reasonable, especially during happy hour, and there are lots of locals drinking here, its great to have a chance to chat with them, and hear tales of life in earlier times, specially the fishing trips. There is also a fantastic restaurant built in an old beached boat, The Flying Boat, they really do make the best freshest Fish and chips with salad, this is also very reasonably priced, I am sure we will be visiting here frequently while we are on Rarotonga. This place suits us perfectly on a warm balmy evening, we watched the sun go down as we ate and drank our wine and enjoyed our fish in crispy batter.
Be sure to check out lots of other interesting places around the world from My World Meme.
Sorry we did not take a photo of the strange scooter.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Update on the Earthquake at Christchurch.

We had such a devastating shock to see one of our prettiest cities virtually destroyed, by the huge earthquake, it kind of put me off posting frivolous things for a while. Things are still very bad in Christchurch, the state of emergency is still in place, but some schools have reopened and the worst destruction has been bulldozed down, ie mostly beautiful, iconic, historic buildings, the huge deep cracks in the road have been sort of filled in a bit and the deep volcanic silty mud that came out of the ground as sand volcano's, is being shovelled up slowly, soon life will be back to a semblance of normality.
Fortunately I was not involved at all but my daughter is still shaken up about it, and Christchurch people are still feeling multi earthquakes everyday of varying strengths, make me glad I don't live any closer. All we have been able to do is send parcels of food to feed those that have been displaced from their homes and money to help with repairs plus prayers for all of them. Thank Goodness there were no fatalities.

Market Day Rarotonga

Punanga Nui Market Day.
Today is Saturday, the big Punanga Nui Market Day in Avarau the main township on Rarotonga, so we were up reasonably early fed the fish in the lagoon breakfasted and went to catch the bus to Town. When we got to the reception area where the bus stops we saw two men with a very long extension ladder propped up against a very tall Coconut palm. They were there to remove the large bunches of coconuts hanging dangerously near to where people stand and also to the units. Falling coconuts, particularly from the tall palms cause a lot of damage in the island. One man was holding the ladder and the other right at the very tippy top, fortunately holding on tight with one arm, when the ladder started to slip and slide and then out of balance fell down to the ground with a crash, the poor man at the top just simply swung himself on to the trunk of the palm while he held on to a frond with one arm, as quick and gracefully as a monkey. He then started shimmying down as all the island youths seem to be able to do, even though he was middle-aged man. I called out for him to wait up while a got a photo, and he did so, loads of others waiting for the bus rushed to do so too. Could have been a terrible accident right before our eyes, but all was well. Both the men then proceeded to shuck the nuts and open them for all the many children gathered. We had a go at doing this and it is far too hard for us, takes a lot of strength and talent.
Bus dropped us at the gateway to the big Island Market and we happily went shopping for some vegetables and fruit like bananas, a pawpaw and tomatoes and lettuce. We wandered around looking at all the lovely black pearls some very expensive and some at as little as $5 each, I near bought another but I just love the one Erle bought me last time that has a pretty ring around it. I have been swimming in the ocean here with it hanging around my neck and it now has the most lovely pink lustre about it, so much so that a couple of pearl sellers told it was a lovely pearl, so I restrained myself, when you already have a good one why waste money getting another probably lesser one.
I photographed a big black rock that was all carved on every side in the middle of the market area.
Decided to buy a sarong, I do have some but it would be nice to have one from Cook Islands, so we made a grand tour of all the sellers looking for just the right one at the right price, finally we got a lovely one for $12 which I thought was reasonable, quite a lot of work goes into the painting and decorating of these sarongs.
We watched some more lovely island dancing that was the entertainment for the day, lots a little kiddies all dressed in grass skirts learning to wiggle their hips and dance, it was just delightful. Once again we bought up plenty of delicious ethnic food that we so enjoy, then we went out looking for a good place to rent a vehicle which we want to have for a week from Monday morning, there are so many to choose from, we don’t really want a scooter or a common car we want something different. We have heard there are some odd 3 wheeled cycles that have 2 wheels at the back for greater stability; maybe we will go for that if we can find them. Sadly the wonderful fun-mobiles we hired last time we were here are no longer available.
We flagged down the bus to go back to the resort, and were very soon out in the lagoon snorkelling among all the little fishes for the rest of the afternoon. Saw the whales frolicking outside the lagoon in the ocean again.
As this is Saturday night we decided to go out to a restaurant for dinner. We chose Alberto’s Steak house, we enjoyed some meals here last time, and we enjoyed ourselves again, the Swordfish steak was just excellent and the service quick and efficient even though they were very busy with a full house. As the resort was only a short walk away we could easily wander back home even with a few drinks under our belts!
Another great day, in this Island Paradise.
PS to my Cook Island visitors to my blog, welcome, do leave a comment and or become a follower; there will be more posts from here.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Major Earthquake in Christchurch New Zealand.

Major Earthquake hits Christchurch.

Some photos of damage done in Christchurch by the major 7.1 earthquake that occurred at 4,30am on Saturday morning. My Daughter found herself stranded in the city, she was unhurt but badly shake. By nightfall she managed to get a flight home to Nelson away from all the after shocks that are still happening. There were no fatalities, just a few people hurt by falling masonry etc. Roads; destroyed, water and sewer systems; destroyed, many major old city buildings, private homes and Churches; destroyed, schools all closed, its is going to take a long time and a great deal of money to bring about repairs. After shocks continue to be felt very strongly.
These are not my photos, they are from the net, sent in by people who saw it all happen.
As Christchurch is 300 km away from where I live, we only felt a nasty jolt, with no damage, we were lucky.

Friday, September 03, 2010

The Needle., Cook Islands

The Needle Rarotongan landmark.
Much bigger than it looks in the photos as it is so far away, inland. There apparently is a track up to The Needle but thats too much like hard work for us to attempt.
Sorry about the phone wires in one photo couldn't avoid them.