The Heart of Rarotonga

Another day in paradise… I’m halfway through my Raro visit and it’s been raining for 2 days, but it’s still paradise to me. Got my little iHome speakers hooked up with reggae & Jahwaiian and a cup of coffee on my nightstand and I couldn’t be smilier (us writers can make up words, you know). I’m looking out at the ocean as I type this and every molecule in my body is buzzing with gratitude. I’m thankful to the Universe for conspiring to help me get here, I’m thankful to my friends & family for their unending support, and I’m thankful to myself for putting aside my fears and stepping into something so big without looking too far ahead or too far back.

There’s so much going on, I’ve had so many details catalogued in my brain to mention in my blog. It really is a challenge to force myself to sit down and list all of the things I’ve seen – when I could be out seeing more! Kinda like how baby books never really get used because parents are too busy being in the moment and watching the show…

I am definitely more “in the moment” than I have been in a long time. I am in the heart of Rarotonga. I am definitely recognizing some parallels from when I moved to Hawaii… but it’s different. It’s different because this is not America, because I don’t have a plan, and because I am most interested in building my character and testing my adaptation skills rather than the party mindset of my Hawaii adventure.


Interesting things I’ve observed here…

-even little tiny kids hold onto their parents on the backs of scooters – like 2 years old!

-little babies are held in the laps in front seats of cars, nobody wears seat belts

-there are no stoplights and I’ve only seen “give way” signs, no stop signs

-they call flip-flops “jandals”

-to go food is called “takeaway” 

-Cook Islands Maori is spoken fluently

-most of the resort staff is imported from Fiji

-drinking age is 18 but it’s not enforced at all

-in most bars, you can just take your drink with you when you leave!

-living wage is about 3 times higher here than Fiji, but cost of living is twice as high

-you see tombstones everywhere, even in people’s yards

-a purple starfish and a spotted eel!

-you should avoid eating fish that feed off the reef (like parrotfish) because you can get poisoned due to waste dumping and chemical bleaching of the reef

-instead of counter-clockwise, they say “anti-clockwise”

-fruits and veggies are cheap at the market, but grocery stores carry mostly packaged foods that are expensive ($3 for a Snickers!)

-Soymilk? Whazzat? I have only seen whole milk and it comes in a non-refrigerated box like a big juice box. Ewww.

-coffee is called a “long black” and a latte is called a “flat white”

-they call papaya “pawpaw” and it is so freakin’ good… melts in your mouth

-they drive on the left side of the road, and the right side of the car… you gotta keep that in mind when you’re crossing the road or you become people soup

-There’s a small island in the Cook Islands group called Palmerston, where the 70 residents are all descendents of a white man named William Palmerston and his 3 native wives

-the one road around the island used to be 40 mph but then people complained that they needed to get to work quicker, so they upped it to 50

-Mangaia, a nearby island, was the only spot you could view the recent total solar eclipse from. They had to ship food, generators, and beds over for the 400 visitors.

The famous "RFC"

Everyone in the resort is coupled up, I haven’t met another solo traveler yet, and I’ve only met one person from the U.S. My friend Analina works in the resort and we laugh easily together and talk about (what else?) boys, music and travel. She’s going to take me around the island soon. I’d much rather do it like that than pay for a guided tour ($50 – $100).

Yes, it’s nice to have fresh towels and linens and a magically made bed every day. Though I am washing my undies in the sink since a load of laundry is $15. My mishaps have been minor – lost sunglasses and mouse pad (I found a $3 SpiderMan mouse pad at FoodLand), a leaky shower (which got fixed already) and a divebombing mama mynah bird who goes for my head every time I leave or enter my room (I just duck & cover). Oh and a triggerfish nibbled on my ankle, quite hard I might add. Apparently they get territorial & aggressive at the start of mating season (now). Needless to say, I will be wearing a full wetsuit and reef shoes next time I go for a swim.

I’m especially fond of beach walks at night. The resort is not very full at all, so I usually have the beach to myself at dark. There is so much wisdom in the sea, I feel more beautiful, strong and powerful just being next to it.

Thanks for checking in & much love.

Kia Manuia! (May Fortune Shine on You)



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