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C2C’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 06 Dec 2008

Location: Raratonga, Cook Islands

MapWell - things are definitely looking up.
Wednesday brought more driving rain. We were told at first that it was a cyclone but the Met Office downgraded it to a Tropical Storm. Gave us a taste of what a real cyclone would be like anyhow - very scary (and wet!)
The hotel is one of contrasts: it is beautifully located in an idyllic setting - but the staff seem to have zero initiative. There doesn't seem to be any management in evidence and they loaf around responding (usually) to requests but otherwise moving napkins, bottles, glasses around (but not cleaning), snoozing or eating. Reception staff (of whom two were aleep on a sofa yesterday) seem particularly sluggish. Food quality can be quite good but there's no atmosphere in the restaurant.
Anyway, on Wednesday they evidently decided to arrange a 'rainy day' activity for us and proudly told us that there was goung to be a flower-garland making class in the lounge! B rushed off to heat up the needles to stick into his eyes but we compromised and decided to hire a car. Good decision. Went into town - first stop Information Centre 'What do you recommend we do now that it's raining?' 'Nothing really - whatever you like' - then museum, library etc and the day was good. Evening was good too, with an entertainer called Kura - a young, edgy singer guitarist who sang mainly Jack Johnson - type numbers brilliantly.
Entertainment on Thursday was not quite so good but still OK - Rangi Henry (to be taken seriously as an artist male singers must evidently weigh more than 300 pounds and this chap was clearly at the top of his craft) serenaded us. There was the added floor show of staff wafting the air to try to rid it of the invevitable mosquitoes after two days of rain and temperatures in high 20s and eventually resorting to breaking up a mosquito coil into about ten pieces and putting them into small glasses around the floor. By this time, all the diners had been back to their rooms to apply more repellent!
We topped off two days of sun with 'Island Nite' in town at one of the locations renowned for a 'good show'. We were 2 of 9 waiting patiently (!) but got alarmed when a man switched on the disco ball, took the microphone and started drifting around the room trying to make eye contact and crooning love songs. Then, as the performers had still not arrived, he took a stool onto the stage and sang some Engelbert Humpeldinck numbers. Just as we got up to leave, the 'warriors' and 'hula-hula' girls made a grand entrance onto the stage and the evening was redeemed!
Today we fly to Aitutaki, another island in the group and will update the blog if we can, although we may just unwind completely before we start the long journey home.