Wed. Jun 12th, 2024

By Samuel Strait – December 28, 2020

It seems like I should be doing something other than sitting reading,
watching TV, and generally locked in my house. Ordinarily, I would be
putting the finishing touches on my latest adventure out of the Country,
some place warmer, with blue skies, new and exotic foods to try,
interesting people to meet, and generally a time to relax and learn
things about the world.  I guess I should paint myself lucky that
February 2020 was spent in just such a location in the South Pacific,
only to return back to the US for the beginning of what has become a
definite change in how we might travel in the future.

One of the first possibilities I suppose is to travel virtually, but
somehow that kind of defeats the purpose of having an adventure in some
far off exotic place, meeting people who can broaden your world, and
discovering places up close and personal. In the most recent adventure
of mine to the tropical Cook Islands, a non stop flight out of Los
Angeles, ten hours later as the sun rose in the East, I was greeted with
pristine lagoon waters, clear deep blue sky, and a warm 80 degree
weather.  After a quick ride to my cottage, literally hanging over the
lagoon’s waters, I pushed open the door to a deck and promptly took a
nap to be awakened several hours later by two noisy Myna birds insisting
on being fed.  They were to become a regular feature on my deck except
when the landlord’s cats were over for some entertainment.

Over the course of the next thirty days, I learned how to drive on the
left hand side of the road, not that there is much road on Rarotonga,
less than fifty miles, at a blistering pace of 38 miles per hour, the
fastest you can legally travel on the island’s roads.  Had the luxury of
eating fine dining just steps away from my abode where I became a
regular to be greeted by name, and become acquainted with many of the
local dishes the island had to offer.  While the lagoon just steps away
from my living accommodations, provided a wealth of beach activities,
kayaking, snorkeling, or just plain swimming in the warm waters inside
the reef.  Miles of white sandy beaches to stroll along with very little
traffic or company other than the islands large population of friendly
stray dogs.

The Cook Islands have a small population scattered out over fifteen
islands.  Tourists are the largest part of the economy, with a little
fishing and banking thrown in.  It is somewhat like here in Crescent
City where many of our youth have moved on to greener pastures.  New
Zealand is the most common destination several thousands of mile away. 
Yet those that have stayed are a friendly people who will sit down and
share their stories with you, from the island artists to those that make
finely crafted jewelry from shells and the local crop of pearls.  If you
need assistance look no further than the nearest islander.  There are no
street signs or address numbers on the island.

Every Saturday is market day where all kinds of crafts, food, and of
course Tee shirt booths deck the downtown area next to the sea.  Seems
like the entire island population appears all at once to enjoy the
beautiful weather, food and some lively local entertainment on the
market’s stage.  On occasion a random cruise liner would appear and
chaos would be the days activity around the port.  At night the island’s
clubs and resorts offer plenty of entertainment and the opportunity to
meet people from far and wide.  It is truly a twenty four hour, three
hundred and sixty day smorgasbord of delight for all that venture out
into the wide wide world.

2 thoughts on “The Cook Islands”
    1. Best part was, it was relatively inexpensive to fly there. It had been on my bucket list for nearly twenty years. After nearly twenty years of yearly going east to Europe or Africa it was a refreshing change of direction and tempo. Hope you have the opportunity soon.

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