Back of a Bus

The other day I was following a bus, which had a large picture of a typical tropical island covering the back of the bus, and the words “The Cook Islands would be nice about now.” Given that it’s well into winter here, with weather pretty similar to late spring in Scotland, the Cook Islands did indeed sound appealing. It’s been cool here, and going for a run in the morning is a lot tougher in the dark. Trying to find and pick up the dog’s poo is tough when the sun hasn’t come up yet. Usually you need to find it by smell.

Well, I am happy to be able to report that the Cook Islands is indeed nice about now. Blair, a friend of mine from university days, was getting married to the lovely Tara, and we had been invited. Unfortunately Anna and I are a bit short of time at the moment, with work, university and CCIE study, but we were able to take a 4 day weekend, arriving the day before the wedding.

We had both been working far too hard, so the idea of a break was perfect. We were a bit worried that it was going to be a big flashy resort, but it turned out to be anything but. Just a nice relaxed island, a few dogs and chickens running around, easy-going locals, everything we wanted really. Someone had tried to build a flashy Sheraton resort about 2km from where we were staying, but it turned out to be a bit of a debacle – see this video for some idea about what happened.

We were staying at Are Moe, a nice little self-contained studio, about 50m down the road from where Blair, Tara and most of the rest of the wedding guests were staying. We didn’t really know what the details of the wedding were, other than what day it was, and the name of the place they were staying at. But we knew we were staying just down the road, so we figured it would all work out.

We got a shared van from the airport, and as it got down to us and one other couple left, we got chatting. Turned out they were on the island for a wedding. Apparently their grandson was getting married to an American girl. Oh yes, this sounds familiar…well now we’d made contact with at least one other couple, and we knew we weren’t the only ones who didn’t know exactly what the details were going to be.

So we settled in, enjoyed a bottle of wine, went out to dinner, had a couple more drinks, thinking we would have a quiet night…and then Tara found us at dinner time. Apparently the bachelor and bachelorette parties were underway, and we had to go and join them. Oh dear. If you’re going to have a stag do/hen’s night, there’s a very good reason why you should not do it the day before the wedding. I’m not really sure what happened, we didn’t even stay up all that late…but there’s a reason that Anna looks like she’s in serious pain/near death in some of the photos from the wedding. Poor old Tara was worse, and she couldn’t just hide in the background like we did. Anna and I spent most of the morning staying horizontal, that seemed to help. We can also report that they make a good meat pie on Rarotonga. We forgot to check the chocolate milk situation, that would have been a sure-fire hangover restorative.We were mostly revived by afternoon, but we couldn’t stay up late. A bit after 9pm we slipped away. We weren’t the first to go either!

The ceremony itself was a very nice affair, held on the beach near where were staying. It had been raining off and on all morning, but just on 3pm, the pastor walked out onto the beach, looked up at the sky, and it stopped raining. Lasted just long enough for the ceremony and photos too.

We had been hoping to do some diving while in Rarotonga, but we hadn’t gotten around to organising anything. We needed the rest, so we made a late decision to just have a day off following the wedding. I had plenty of reading to do – just picked up “Dance with Dragons” – and we needed to just chill out, and relax. Turned out to be a good decision, as it rained fairly heavily for much of the morning, and the seas were pretty rough. No problem, our place had everything we needed.

Here’s a couple of shots from the weekend: