With just a couple of days left on Rarotonga, we finally got around to one of the things we’d planned to do ever since we’d arrived, viz hire a couple of bikes to ride round the island. It took us a while to get going – after all, we’d been busy – but we strolled into town + fixed ourselves up. The garage we hired them from was only open till lunch, but we arranged to have someone pick them up at 6. For some reason, the lady decided to charge us for just half a day – nice of her.
We rode out first past the Cook Islands parliament building – well worth a picture, as it’s just a prefab building. From then on, an easy enough, pleasant enough ride all the way round the island on the outside coast road. We stopped frequently for refreshments, almost whenever we passed a shop, so we didn’t over-exert ourselves. We had to stop off at a garage to adjust Val’s saddle, which seemed to be set for a five-year-old. Met some friendly people around – I really like the people here, for most of them have a smile ready. One of the main things we wanted to do on our circumnavigation was to call in at the film set. Cameras hadn’t been allowed during the shooting, but we didn’t see any reason why we shouldn’t grab a few snaps for the family album. We found the place alright, tho’ it was further than we thought. (Aren’t places always further than one thought?) There was one local guy there, but he wasn’t official, so we wandered around + took a few photos. I even ventured up one of the guard towers, tho’ I was a bit nervous about it, to get a more panoramic shot. The place looked even better now, with all the 1980s technology cleared away.
We also cycled round to take a look at another of their sets, just on the outskirts of town. Here they’d very cleverly built some new ruins which from the front were indistinguishable from the already existing old ruins. Then just a quick ride back thro’ town to the harbour. The place was very depressing since all the shops were shut – and this on a Saturday afternoon! It made it seem like a Sunday, + I can’t stand Sundays. I think we’re going to have to get used to a dead weekend tho’, since apparently New Zealand is just the same.
Arrived back at the boat at about 3.30, and then just sat around for a while in the Thyme-honoured manner. We had to take the bikes back at 6, which was a pain, since it also interrupted the making of dinner. There was nobody at the garage, but at least we’d done what we’d agreed to do, so we just left the bikes propped up outside. When we got back, Heather + Dick were aboard, + we persuaded Heather to stay for dinner, + then come out to the pictures with us. Dick could be persuaded to do neither – he said he had a meal ready-prepared, + then had letters to write. Doug ate the meal readily enough, but said he was going to have an early night. The meal was splendid – saveloys + cauliflower cheese – but it meant that we were too late for the first film of the double bill. We were only interested in one of the films – all we had to do was hope it came on second. We rushed into town, vainly, since the only film we wanted to see was halfway thro’. So, feeling somewhat dejected, we wandered back to the town’s other bar, the Hibiscus House, for a quick drink, so that the evening wouldn’t be a complete washout. That was certainly the intention at any rate, but we got talking with various people – Leif, Berit (known as Squeaky and Clean, I’m afraid) + a couple of sailors off the big cargo ship in the harbour, and the upshot was that, after a few drinks, one of the guys called Sid invited us all to go aboard… which we did. We had a dtink in the little crew bar there – a very nice little set-up it was – when in came another feller, called Bruce. We chatted for a minute or two, + he said he had a couple of Kiwis in his cabin, so he’d bring them down to meet us. I tell you, we nearly wet our knickers when he brought in first Dick, + then Doug. So this was what was meant by an early night + writing letters. From then on, there was quite a little party in there. There was music, loads of booze, even sandwiches. Val + I got quite a shock during the evening when he introduced the new crew member, a local woman, no longer young, heavily made-up – you get the picture. Dick was enormously amused by the whole thing… “Doug’s really dropped himself in it,” he said, with a roar of laughter. Doug, as yet, was delighted with his acquisition. Late in the evening, Val was persuaded to take Parr, or Pat (I’m not sure which, even now) over to the boat to show her around. They were quite a while, + Heather + I had just about had our fill, so we left to see how they were getting on. We met them on the dock, looking, to various degrees, bedraggled. They’d made it across alright, but P, having no dinghy sense whatever, had managed to dump them both in it, to some extent, on the way back. Heather + I had a good laugh, + left Val to escort P back. Val finally reappeared some while later, reeking of cheap scent – P had doused her liberally. A bloody good night tho’.
The evening is one of those that just had us laughing and laughing and laughing, especially with the arrival of the two who were going to have a quiet night in. And the prospect of an other crew member on an already cramped Thyme made for an interesting prospect.
Otherwise, toursity things, like cycling round the island (so much easier than Moorea.)