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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Don't Mention the Pigs!!!!

November 20, 2003 


Well it's been a pretty bizarre 24 hours. After sending the last email I went to the Fisherman's Club for a beer (again!). I don't want to say they're getting to know me here, but when I walk in they call out "JEFF!"

While I was there one of TV Station manager’s buddies, Gordon, arrived on a beat-up moped.  He’s about 80 and looks remarkably like a British Major from the Crimea War. During the ensuing conversation I made the mistake of suggesting the national bird of Rarotonga should be the "Rooster” since there seems to be so many of them around.  From Roosters the conversation migrated to pigs – a hot topic here in Rarotonga. When I mentioned the pigs in my garden the other guys at the table began discretely shaking their heads at me as in  "Don't mention the war, Basil" (Fawlty Towers).  In this case it was amended into “Don’t mention the pigs, Jeff.”

But it was too late, the pig was out of the proverbial poke, as it were, and with spit flying in every direction Gordon launched into a diatribe on what people can and cannot do with other people's pigs. (I'm not making this up!) 

Evidentially if you catch a neighbour’s pig in your garden you can ask the local police to shoot it.(How the cops have time to do that I don't know - all they do is sell driver's licenses at 10 bucks a pop all day) Or (to get back to pigs) you can claim the pig as your own. But you’re obligated  to share the meat 50/50 with the original owner when you butcher it. When I questioned the old guy about the ethics of this he got furious saying, “How dare you discuss pigs with me!!  You have only being here 3 days!" 

With that he got up, stormed out and disappeared in a blue cloud of ancient moped exhaust. The strange thing is that nobody in the club seemed to notice. The conversation went on as if Gordon had  never been there. I made a note to avoid mentioning pigs again while I was in the Cook Islands.

After the previous night’s culinary disaster I decided to splurge and treat myself to a seafood dinner at a reputable (meaning recently inspected by the health department) restaurant. I got in my spiffy car and drove up to the restaurant – perhaps a little too close as I knocked down their sign.

On the positive side, I may be responsible for introducing valet parking to the islands, as the host, who witnessed my arrival, insisted on re-parking my car. I think she just wanted to try out a hot car. It’s probably not very often she gets to check out a three cylinder Suzuki Swift. I should have checked the odometer. She was gone a while.

I don’t think my parking skills impressed them; they seated  me in the bleakest darkest corner near the restrooms -  even though the restaurant was empty.  Any further isolated I would have been IN the restrooms. I think I heard one of them refer to it as the SARS table.

November 21, 2003

I ordered a nice Tuna steak, and a glass of white wine. The fish came – eventually-  and was quite good.  The waiter asked if I'd like “another” glass of wine. I pointed out  the custom in Canada is to be served the FIRST glass of wine before being offered another.

Needless to say I was not impressed with the service, but how to show it? Tipping here in the Cook Islands is frowned upon, so I came up with a unique solution - I'd leave a  BIG tip. That would show them my displeasure!

This morning I finally went on the fishing expedition I had arranged from back home. It was a pretty uneventful day -  other than falling off the boat and swinging over the water like an orangutan  hanging onto the flying bridge until  someone noticed I was missing and swung me back in!  The only fish we caught was a tiny Tuna –– just a guppy! 

I’m starting to get nervous about getting home. I checked with the local travel agent and she says the flight I'm to come home is 99% full – Since I’m travelling standby I'm already beginning to hyperventilate.

Well that's about all there is too report from now. I'm going back to the Fisherman's club and hope the pig farmer isn't there.


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