For the past few days I have been living in the Cook Islands. They are a protectorate of New Zealand but they have their own parliament and police force. In the time that we’ve been here It’s been hot, humid and rainy, but other than that it has been a very interesting time. The island on which we shall live on for the rest of the week is called Rarotonga, an amazing island full of beautiful flora, such as; orange tree, coconut palm, papaya tree and banana tree, with a mountain range in the middle. and, if I’m not mistaken, is 32 km long, has only 10 000 inhabitants and is the biggest of the Cook Islands.
The Cook Islands main industry is tourism, which they supplement by fishing off the reef. There are lots of shops in which you can by souvenirs, great tasting food and cool clothing but, oddly enough all shops close at 5:00 pm and most restaurants are only open until around 9:00 pm. Almost all of the shops are closed on Sunday too. It is very different from other tourist countries in which the souvenir shops will usually stay open until 10:00 pm.
In the normal everyday life, I’ve noticed lots of differences and very few similarities between our countries. For one thing, there are chickens, everywhere! In the streets, in your yard, on your car and even in your own flippin’ house. I literally meant it when I said “everywhere”. The chickens are also of every distinct colour possible. Want a red chicken, they got it. Want a bald chicken, they got it. Also, in addition to the chickens, you can see pigs, goats, cows and even horses in people’s yards. Another difference is that, instead of having cats prowling around in the streets, you have dogs, and they aren’t small. They are usually around the size of a golden retriever.
One of the remarkable things about this place is that, who needs seatbelts? You can see half a dozen people in the trunk of a car an no one even cares. It’s probably because the speed limit doesn’t go past 50 kph and is usually only 30 kph. Another wonderful thing about this place is that you can leave your doors wide open, go shopping for a bit, and come back with nothing gone. Also, because of the island’s small size, you could probably walk the whole thing in one day and still have some time to go shopping, have a drink and make it back home in time for supper. Great, isn’t it? You can live anywhere along the island road and still be in walking distance of some convenience store and a pleasant beach. Pretty convenient, eh? (I’m such a Canadian) There is also almost always a cool breeze coming off the shore to cool you off if you’re way to warm and if you’re used to a much colder climate (like me! 😊).
Lastly, the water is freakishly warm and infested with sea snakes (Just kidding! I only saw one). Anyhow, the water is nice and warm and so much better than our freezing cold lake water back in Canada. You can see clearly through the water, very unlike our dirty brown water in Canada, which means that you can see every living specimen right by your feet. It’s quite an amazing sight.
So, to top things off, I’m quite enjoying myself on my trip. I know that this is only the beginning of my trip but I can’t help but think that everything will be spectacular from here on. The locals are very nice and interactive, I haven’t contracted any tropical diseases or been humiliated because I was attacked by a chicken, the food is awesome and I’m doing lots of fun stuff. Yup, I think I’m really going to enjoy my year this year.