The Cook Islands are fabulous and I feel completely relaxed. Our hostel is overlooking a beautiful blue lagoon, with two small islands called Muri Bay. In case we don't fancy the golden sand, we have a nice sun deck to lie on. It has been really nice to stop and stay in the same place for a while. I have met a fab group of people here and we have become great friends. It's nice to stop travelling and get to know people sometimes.
The locals are wonderful people. They are genuinely kind and I never get the impression that they are trying to rip us off, or gain anything from us.
Things that I love about the Cook Islands -
- It's beautiful & it's warm
- The lovely locals
- The fab group at the hostel.
- The nice man that plays the banjo in the airport (even at 4.30am when we left)
- The quirky airport. It's very bizarre and rubbish securit, but I love it. The depature lounge is open air and there is just a wire fence between the passengers and the plane.
- The welcoming committee at the airport. The 2007 South Pacific games had been on in Samoa and the Cook Islands team were on my flight, so you can imagine the exciting reception for them when we arrived in the Cooks. The smell of the flower garlands was amazing.
- Snickers cocktails - they taste fab (discovered by Jules & Pete!)
- Going to the Sunday church service - we went along because we heard it was a good experience (also we heard there was a free lucnch). It was amazing! the singing was fantastic and there was a lovly atmosphere. The Minister insisted that all the visitors went for lunch and he said that it was 'to thank us for coming, not to try to get us to come back' - how kind! We couldn't understand a lot of the service but it was just really nice being there.
- Getting my driving license - you have to have a Cook Island driving license if you want to ride a scooter. I wasn't bothered about riding a scooter, but I wanted the license as a souvenier. I hired a scooter and went for my test at the police station. No one wears helmets but I hired one because I knew my mum would be horrified if I didn't. It was hilarious because it was the first time that I had ridden a scooter (don't worry mum - i think it will be the last as well). All we had to do in the test was ride around the block in a group of 5. The tester said that so long as we stopped at the stop sign then we would pass! Anyway, off I wobbled on my scooter (indicators flashing all over the place) and I passed and I got my license - just like being 17 again!
- The relaxed way of life - everything is so much slower and relaxing. Even the bus driver was doing U turns to go back and pick people up and wasn't in a hurry to be anywhere.
The only annoying thing is that I'm nearly completely cut off from home. It costs $3.50 per min to call the UK, the internet is well expensive and this is the only country that my mobile won't work. I was a bit annoyed at first, escpecially considering my two best friends are due to have babies during my time in the Cook Islands. However, I've got used to it and I actually quite like being detached now!
Anyway I'm off to go to play some more cards (we have played a lot here), and drink some wine.
I hope you are all ok and had a fab summer. Hey, I bet all the xmas stuff is in the shops already isn't it??!!