|Crazy biker dudes|
Throwing caution farther to the wind, we decided to head around the island anti-clockwise, because that’s just the kind of mood we were in. Hey, there’s nothing poisonous here and much of the island is shielded from sharks and other unpleasantries by a barrier reef. And the people are smiley and polite. So you gets your kicks where you can, right?
The Cooks are a mellow place. The peaceful Maori lilt of the locals and the constant strain of the ukulele in the air make for a gentle time. We drove around the entire island and it is clean and proudly kempt. Every now and again we had to stop to take photographs of the azul water.
The Queen’s Representative’s residence is understated and by the roadside. He’d have a glorious view of the water if the hedges weren’t so high. We were going to stop by for morning tea, but we didn’t have an appointment.
So we headed back again to Trader Jacks. This had been my father-in-law’s hang-out when he was on the island 20 years ago. He’d fallen in love with the place and was serious about trying to make a go of it here. But the obligations of his Florida life drew him back.
We thought we were paying homage to the old place, taking pictures of it for him to get nostalgic about – until we found out the original bar, the sort of place Hemingway would have made a home of, had been destroyed by a cyclone a few years back. This Trader Jacks was all new, made famous in the meantime by All Black Zack Guildford’s naked and drunken assault of the place after the Rugby World Cup last year.
The front page Dominion Post story about that incident hangs on the bar’s wall, a strange point of pride. After a lunch that included crayfish and fresh tuna sashimi we headed back again. Past the little rugby fields in the shadows of the dramatic volcanic peaks and the elaborate above-ground graves of the local ancestors we wheezed on our scooters. Happily there were no dogs threatening to unseat us from our precarious Yamaha perches. A couple of chickens raced across the street in a fowl uproar, but that was it. Even the drivers, who can border on the suicidal on other islands, are calmly respectful here.
|How do you like them coconuts?|
It was a good little turn around our South Pacific island.