First thing, we decided to rent a scooter, a very wise decision as it turned out: it gave us a lot of freedom. But in order to rent one, you need a local category A driving license. Since we neither have a motorbike driving license nor a local / New Zealand one, we had to get one at the police department. After 10 minutes and paying 10 N.Z. dollars, Gilles was in possession of a local A & B driving license, with no one asking any questions. What a great souvenir! Then we rented a scooter from Budget, since the scooter for rent at the Vara’s Beachside Resort, are not covered by any insurance whatsoever!
We are on this scooter every day exploring this tiny island and every day we discover something new, although we have passed the place many times before. One thing that nobody can possibly miss is the incredible number of churches, with Seventh Day Adventists being by far the most prominent one. So early and present day missionaries did a hell of a job here! Their influence is most likely responsible for the long list of restrictions regarding the sale of alcohol superseding American bible belts laws. The other striking sight in that category is the many tiny cemeteries that seem to be part of family properties.
Apart from the spiritual well-being, dealing with worldly matters is not less obvious. Ministries are spread out through the village of Avarua, the main settlement on Rarotonga and thus naturally the seat of the government of the Cook Islands. Those ministries are usually low bungalows painted in green or grey. Now to give a more accurate description of Avarua, its main commercial buildings are lined up along the waterfront which can be crossed on foot in 15 minutes and urban it is not.
Residential dwellings are tucked under thick green vegetation. In case we have not mentioned it yet, all shops in Avarua close at 04:00 pm and the wildest night is Friday’s, when a few bars stay open until 02:00 am. This is only to complete the picture of a very small, very quiet place being the capital of a U.N. member state…
The most hilarious thing was to watch Cook Islands TV: all commercials present businesses we regularly frequented and often we wondered if we might be on TV one day.