It’s on the left. Other than everyone regularly turning on windshield wipers instead of the signal light, we’ve adapted pretty well. It helps that the main road around the island is only one lane in each direction and that traffic seldom exceeds 50km. Cars are small as gas costs about $2.64 a litre!
The main form of transport is the scooter. Almost everyone old enough to drive has one. It’s like Hells Angels on 50cc’s… Grandmas have the little kids with them, sometimes tied to them with a sash, often they just hang on. Speed limit for scooters is 40 without a helmet, 50 if you wear a helmet. I think we’ve seen about 3 helmets as it’s too hot to wear them. Better just to go 40 .
Food and drink
For most part, the food has been really good and in some cases, outstanding. Prices are comparable to Vancouver. The baked goods – from bread to croissants to cakes – are amazing! Also – coffee…. to our great pleasure, it’s been wonderful. Coffee is grown on one of the outer islands and roasted here. And folks really know how to pull an espresso too. The fruit is as great as tropical fruit can be. There’s just something about papaya and mangoes fresh from the tree!
There are many, many traditional wooden canoes around Rarotonga. Some are simple hulls, others intricately carved and decorated. They sit in cages, hang in grocery stores or lie in hotel lobbies. Many of them get taken out at least once a year for a traditional fishing competition. There is concern that it is a dying art as there are fewer carvers around and fewer young people interested in learning.
Typically tropical – when it rains, it pours! There had been quite a drought before we arrived but we’ve had a few good dumps of rain. It does keep all these gorgeous flowers happy. It never lasts long and it’s still 29 degrees, so no complaints here. Winds have been u usually variable, coming from directions they don’t usually come in at so it’s anything goes
Rocs and Mahimahi are the main available canoes. The Rocs are a bit lighter and a bit faster. There is no weight restriction with the local racing association so most canoes are about 225 lbs. The very few Mirages are 400 lbs and aren’t used for racing. The rigging on the canoes is braced high off the gunnels. Skirts are attached with Velcro and and varying shapes and sizes. Some are so tight across the canoes that the knees are rubbing against them.
Roosters and chickens…. Nature’s alarm clocks, even if you don’t want to wake up at 4am. Dogs: pets and community dogs…. Not quite feral as everyone feeds them. Slow moving dogs in this heat, no one is playing fetch! Mosquitoes and ants….. Lots and lots and lots of them. We have donated a substantial quantity of Canadian blood to the mosquito population. Beautiful birds…. Fish…. Aquarium like fish in the lagoons, with even some aggressive ones. One of our paddlers was bitten while snorkeling!