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Saturday, March 22, 2014

My little Grass Shack in Aitutaki

November 22, 2003 

Swimming in the Waterfall 
It’s been a busy few days since I last reported in. Early Saturday I went to the local market. It was quite nice except for the incident with my right hand driving mirror on the rent a car. I’m keeping a low profile when I drive by the police station – just in case they look up while they’re issuing driver’s licenses to the tourists. Later I went swimming with the Australian couple I met fishing. It’s nice to have company for a change - I've stopped talking to myself as much now.

As I mentioned in my earlier post I was invited for dinner by the Canadian couple, Eldin and Sharon, who arranged my ill-fated fishing trip.  They seem to be regular fixtures at the Fisherman’s Club.  They generally start drinking about ten minutes after they get up in the morning, so they were pretty looped by the time I arrived for dinner.

They had invited some other guests - including an Albertan divorcee who is big into guns and computers.  She said she didn’t travel anywhere without a gun.  How she got one here, I don’t know.  When I asked where why she would possibly need a gun here she replied “pigs”.  

Everyone proceeded to drink a lot - except me, as I was worried about driving home. I have enough trouble driving sober.  I was worried that if I had too much to drink I might end up driving on the wrong side of the road – which is the right side of the road here – anyways it was too complicated, so I watched my alcohol intake.

Unfortunately for me gun toting Alberta Rose didn’t and I tasked with having to drive her home. The problem was she was very drunk and amorous. I had proceeded only a short distance when I felt a hand creeping up my thigh.  I pried it off – but while doing so the car drifted over to the other side of the road.  I got back into control only to feel her hand again.  She finally gave up and fell asleep.  Unfortunately she was beginning to get a bit green about the gills.  I was worried that she might throw-up at any time.  I also began to worry I was getting a contact high from the fumes emanating from her so I lowered the windows when  I had a blinding insight:  I knew why the police were issuing all those driving licenses to visitors. They were setting us up! 

I slowed down fully expecting to see the Rarotonga police moped up ahead in a road block. I would be in big trouble with the car smelling like a vomatorium and a drunken woman with a gun in her purse mumbling about shooting pigs.  I’d been driving for a while and began to worry I might have missed the turn off to her motel and was circling the island for a second time when I saw the cut-off to her motel.  By the time I got to her unit she was out cold.  I dragged her out of the car and propped her against the door fumbled in her purse and found her keys and put them in the lock and have turned the lock until it was barely holding the door closed.  As I tip-toed to the car I heard the door open and a loud thump.  I jumped in the car and took off in a spray of gravel fully expecting to hear gun shots at any moment.  

Mirror held together by fishing line
On Sunday night I dumped the old steed (the car, not the Alberta lady) at the airport.    I used a twig to prop the passenger side mirror in the upright position – hope the rental company doesn’t look at the car too carefully. I was booked on the midnight flight to Aitutaki.  Aituaki is a small island in the Cook group that makes Rarotonga look like New York.  Why midnight?   It’s because they're very religious on Aitataki and won't allow flights to land on Sunday, but they don’t object if the plane lands five minutes AFTER midnight! Go figure!  As we were approaching for a landing all I could see were a few green lights on the ground.  I pointed out to the woman sitting next to me that I’d seen marijuana grow-ops with more lights.  Probably not the best comparison to use on the plane.

Aitutaki International  Airport & Golf Club
Aitataki makes the little Airport in Rarotonga look like O’Hare International.  It consists of one long runway with a few lights and a grass shack where you pick up your luggage. The airport doubles as Aitataki’s nine hole golf course. You have to actually cross the runway twice when playing. I don’t know if it’s a two-ball penalty if your ball gets sucked into the intake of a plane taking off. On the way to the luggage stand I kept tripping over big land crabs in the dark. Evidently they go at night to the ocean to lay their eggs. Glad they could see in the dark - because I certainly couldn't.

My Aitutaki beach house
Someone offered to give me a lift to my "beach house" as the person who was supposed to meet me up didn't show up. I had been looking forward to my "Beach House" - until I got there. It seemed a lot more “primitive” then the pictures showed.  True - It has its own bathroom - outside!  It’s a composting toilet – which is just a nice name for an outhouse.
Composting bathroom = Outhouse

It’s got Mosquito netting over the bed – and a big spray can of Roach Killer on the night table. By the time I settled in at was past two.  I went to sleep, listening the scrabbling of the land crabs heading to sea to lay their eggs and cockroaches checking out the kitchen. I keep a glass of orange juice by the bed in case I get thirsty. About midnight, I heard a splash. I turned on the light to find a cockroach doing the backstroke in my glass of orange juice.  Now I know why the can of Roach Killer was on the night table.

Aitutaki Pigs
I awoke a couple of hours later to the local rooster and decided to take an early morning walk. I was startled a couple of time by pigs running across the road (too bad Nigel- “don’t mention the pigs” - isn’t here) . There are no dogs on Aitutaki – none – nada – not one!  They’re banned: there are only pigs and cats.
$650 a night????
I booked a Lagoon cruise.  It left from the most expensive resort on the island. Rooms BEGIN at $650 US night! Four nights there would cost more than my whole trip!

My Aitutaki moped
I wanted to see more of the island so I decided to rent a moped from the lady next door – who had the local moped renting franchise for the island. I had a choice of ONE!  Of course there was one little problem.  I’d never driven a moped before.   No problem she gave me a lesson – which consisted of giving me the key and pointing in the general direction of town.  She left out the part about putting up the kick-stand.   I took off in a showy shower of sparks. 

Next: Trapped in Paradise  

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