Scooters and formal thongs

Sunday, October 18, 2009
Aitutaki, Southern Cook Islands, Cook Islands
18/10/09 Day 9 Aitutaki

Had a very lazy day today . Sat out on the beach loungers and read. Went round to Koru Café for brunch. Deeeeelicious pancakes with fired bananas and syrup. Will go back there.

Went back to Inano and just sat out by the beach again. Tried to track down Moeau to get : 1.) some beer and 2.) some paddles for the kayaks but he was nowhere to be found. There was definitely someone up in his house so maybe he's got a woman up there while his wife is away. Scandal!!

Pam and Graeme turned up to see Nicholas and Louisa to talk about motorhomes in NZ but they weren’t around so we took down all the details for them. For anyone going who wants one with seats right behind the driver for kids you need to get a six berth from Pacific Horizon.

P&G are heading over to the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa for dinner at the fine dining restaurant tonight. They leave on Tuesday after four weeks here. They just lay on the beach all day with a trip here and there in between .

While we’re on the way back a black helicopter zooms by. We tell them it’s a group of photographers working for Greenpeace. They’re here filming a Japanese long-line factory ship that’s been spotted in Cook Island’s waters taking tuna. Teu had told us about them when we arrived. They’re staying at Inano and she’d taken them to the airport a few days before.

We decided we’d get a scooter so we can see a bit of the island. Never even sat on one so it was going to be interesting. $25 for 24 hours. Have a trial run in the car park of The Boatshed and we’re away. I am very wobbly and with two people both trying to keep their balance it’s an unusual experience. Al’s moving one way and I’m going the other.

Head around the island and our original idea (pre-arrival) of walking round now looks very ambitious. It’s a bloody long way round the island. Go past the 'no Sunday flight’ protestors - about ten people with placards and banners .

Air Rarotonga now has two flights to the island on a Sunday. The religious community - not sure how big of a proportion that is of Aitutaki but I would imagine the majority - wants Sunday as a holy day but the govt, and I imagine the non-religious community, wants the flights. Letters to the editor in the local paper indicate that the no flights group will be doing their darndest to roll the govt at next year‘s election.

Sorry, but this religion thing is so weird.

The reason we couldn't go on the yellow boat on Saturday was because it's the Seventh Day Adventist's sabbath.

Then Sunday is the CICC (Cook Islands Christian Church) and Catholic and whoever else's sabbath. So most everything else, except businesses owned by Seventh Day Adventists I suppose, and Buddhists, and maybe even atheists (although they'd have to keep that very quiet here I reckon), is closed .

If the no flights on Sunday is about having Sunday as a day for the family then I have no problems - I think that is a wonderful idea - but I really have a problem with people using religion as the basis for the argument.

It is all about the family for island people and that is the most fantastic thing. Sad that the religion thing sometimes seems even more important.

Called into Tamanu Beach and booked their bbq. It’s a really nice place, restaurant right down on the beach and we should be able to watch the sunset. Had originally planned on going to Samade’s but contrary to all the recommendations we’re not that impressed with the place. Great location and friendly staff but the recommendation stops there.

A lot of places are closed. As for Raro, there are no alcohol sales unless you are at a restaurant. Even the two lagoon boats moored just up from us don’t go out but they didn’t go out Saturday either . Maybe the island is a bit quiet.

A lot of the island roads are gravel or sand so my wobbly riding gets a bit wobblier. We got right to the southern tip of the island then hooked around and headed for the ‘mountain‘. Found a cool little store along the way and had ice-cream in cones. Didn’t find the mountain or lookout although we’re sure we rodden along the right track. We’ll have to have another go tomorrow.

Got ourselves ready for dinner, Al put his dress thongs on, and we headed back to Tamanu so we could catch the sunset. Quite spectacular. We turn around and P&G are stood there. The menu at the Aitutaki Resort didn’t appeal so they’d come back over here and changed our booking to a table for four!

Dinner is really nice although the food is standard buffet fare. P&G are great company.

After dinner we went back to their place for a look . They are staying at Aratai Villas, a kilometre north of Tamanu. It’s one of a complex of three ‘ordinary’ two bed villas and three ‘luxury’ villas. It was gigantic, bigger than a lot of homes. Rack rate for theirs is NZ$300/night and the luxury ones NZ$620. We might head back tomorrow to have a look through one of the luxury villas to suss it out for Ian and Kylie. They have a TV/s and aircon, possibly essential if you come here with kids, although an extra $320/night is a lot to pay for a TV and cool air.

An even later night tonight. After 10.30. We’re going wild!
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