Saturday, December 3, 2011

Rarotonga - The Rarotongan

February 17 (Thursday already!)

Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
Kia orana! There was another big rainstorm overnight. It rains very hard and wakes you up. Then it clears up. Then it clouds over. But it doesn't matter. The temperature is fabulous and very comfortable today.

This morning, we went snorkeling at The Rarotongan, the really nice resort (low-rise) where Bob and Karen stayed last time they were here. It seems funny to say that. Someday, I'll be back in Raro, and I'll be able to say, “Oh! And here's the place where we stayed last time we were here!” [Okay, stop tearing up, eyeballs. It could happen. Really.]

The Rarotongan Resort from the water.
Photo by Bob Hampton. All rights reserved.
Just as in Aruba, the beaches here are all open to the public. It isn't a problem, because there's hardly anybody on the beach, even at the resorts! So, it's totally okay to drive to The Rarotongan, park your car across the street, walk through the resort to the beach, and go snorkeling. Besides, you'll probably spend some money on a meal or a drink or a souvenir. So, it's good for business.

Apparently, there's at least one wedding every day at The Rarotongan. There's a nice deck area for the reception, and everything's included – the food, the band, the flowers. By “included,” of course, I don't mean “free.” On this particular day, they were setting up the tables, and the band was warming up. It looked like it was going to be a good time as well as a good day for somebody!

Photo by Bob Hampton.
All rights reserved.
As previously mentioned, there's a lagoon that goes pretty much all the way around the island. Our place is on the south side of the island, towards the east. The Rarotongan is also on the south side of the island, but it's on the western “corner.” But it's the same lagoon. The fish at the resort are used to being fed, so they come over to you when you hit the water. Especially if you happen to have some frozen peas with you.

The water was much clearer today, with a fabulously wonderful array of fish (sea life?). And the fish are bigger, too, some of them, than I was expecting to see. Big enough to eat. But not big enough to eat you, which, in my book, is an important distinction.

Photo by Bob Hampton. All rights reserved.
We had lunch at a little place down the road from the resort, at the half-way mark (½ way around the 32 km island from the main town, Avarua). I had a B.E.L.T. Sandwich (bacon, egg, lettuce, tomato). I'd seen it on a few menus and thought I'd give it a try. It was very unexpectedly delicious. Really. Give it a try, and you'll see. Harry had Cajun chicken salad, which was also very good.

Tonight, we ate at the Paw Paw Patch Restaurant, about a five-minute walk from our place. It was a great experience on a number of levels (see the previous post...). I had Thai fish (marlin), and Harry had fish curry. The food was excellent.

Fun factoid: There are stray (or not) dogs everywhere (also chickens), but they are friendly and don't seem mangy like stray (or not) dogs I've seen elsewhere (Mexico, for instance). There's a dog on our property. Jack, the three-legged dog. He's the only one we're “allowed” to feed, and he always knows when we're eating something. He suddenly appears out of nowhere. This morning, he had some scrambled eggs and toast, because we'd cooked too much. At home, my husband was always very opposed to giving dogs treats from the table. He must be going through a phase or having a change of heart, because the “no treat” rule does not apply to Jack.

A walk on the beach.
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
I went for a walk on the beach this afternoon – beautiful! The tide was very low, and you didn't need snorkel gear to see bunches of parrot fish and a snowflake eel and spotted groupers and etc., right next to the water line in the closest corals. So peaceful. Highly recommended and refreshing for body, soul, and spirit. I hear the theme song from “Adventures in Paradise” (television series) in my head as I look at the water and the palm trees.

There are lots of cute vacation places in our village, Titikaveka – bungalows, small hotels, and so on. There are no high rises on the island. The vegetation is lush, with flowering hedges mostly lining the road on both sides. Just when you're about to snap a photo from the moving vehicle, here comes another hedge. But it's hard to mind terribly. It's gorgeous. Jaw-dropping, even.

Most residences seem very liveable, though not all. There are a couple of “shells” that we drive by, and one of us will say, “Hey! We can totally remodel that place!” It's kind of a running joke. There are homes that are over the top, too, but it seems, as a rule, that “regular people” live a simpler life here. But that is not the same as a substandard life, which I've seen in other places.

Oh! Forgot to mention our dessert tonight at the Paw Paw Patch. It was outstanding: coconut-cashew pie with a lovely, not-too-sweet caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. Mmmmmm! And we also tried a Matutu pale ale. No, not with dessert! With dinner. It's locally brewed, and I had expected it to be a little...flat tasting. But it was surprisingly flavorful.

Bob editing photos. Harry looking on.
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
Here's what we're all doing to pass the time this evening: Bob is editing pictures. Harry is doing a crossword puzzle. We are having trouble with the DVD player, as the movies we brought from home will not play on it. And, there's one television station, but we can't seem to get it. It's kind of nice, actually, to I find that I can bear the deprivation quite well indeed. The sound of the waves crashing on the reef offshore is soothing.

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