Further greetings from Rarotonga...

Further greetings from Rarotonga, which could easily get the nickname Rooster Island, or Isle of the Short-Legged Dog. Allow me to present my first palm-tree-on-the-beach photograph.

 Palms and wonderful sands.
Rarotonga Beach

This was artfully snapped (well, almost) from the front seat of a rattly topless island rental car, on the fifth day, the most humid day of my holiday yet.

Days Four and Five

I didn't do any walking on this the fifth day. It was impossible to extract Non-Gardening Partner out of the green bean-bag (a.m.) or the hammock (p.m.). But on the fourth day - success! We climbed about 340 meters up to the Needle, a blob of rock in the mountains. I love this climb - the tree roots form safe hand holds and ladder rungs. On the descent it rained. Hiking in warm rain, without the need of a parka, is a very pleasant, invigorating experience. Now, back home in New Zealand...

 Beautiful leaves.
Rarotonga Garden Plants

Roosters and Short-legged Dogs

Let me explain about the roosters and short-legged dogs. Early morning Rarotonga offers an unusual ambient music soundtrack. Imagine a soothing layer of distant rolling surf infused with the continuous echo-crowing of a million random roosters. Aargh!

The short-legs dog gene (bequeathed to the Rarotongan dog-nation by a virile, robust Dacshcund, maybe) has played havoc with canine self-esteem here. Some of the mongrel dogs have strong jaws and heads, huge chests, with the shortest, stubbiest, half-sized legs underneath.

Eek! If I was one of these dogs I'd do all my barking when lying down. Stand up and be laughed at. By the way, I didn't have the heart to take their photographs...

Day Six

So what's up for today? We are going to the Saturday market at Avarua to check out the fresh, local, seasonal vegetables and fruit, and then on a walk up a valley towards the mountain peak Te Ko'u. I've even brushed my hair. Let's go, before it gets too hot!


What a beautiful walk! There's shade from tropical forest, and the terraced fields of taro and water cress make beautiful shapes. Personal detail - the second part of the hike up Te Ko'u climbs near-vertical cliffs with the aid of sturdy knotted ropes. This part I gracefully declined. Not the scuttling up, but the slithering down, I fear, would have been too difficult for my non-bendy knees and poor quality legs.

 And water cress.
Taro Terraces Underneath Te Ko'u

And, being Rarotonga the tropical island, the afternoon finished with a real ice-cream in a cone and a swim on the beach. Well, I lazed on the sand and read my book. Non-Gardening Partner swam in the lagoon where fish-feeding occurs for tourists. He had his toes and legs nibbled by yellow fish. Eek!

Sunday 22nd October

Day Seven of my holiday is a 'sweet sorrow' sort of day. Firstly the All Blacks (New Zealand) won the final of the Rugby World Cup, but not convincingly, and only by one point. Far too close to sorrow, and not nearly sweet enough!

 Beautiful colours and beautiful leaves.
Rarotongan Roadside Garden

This is the last day of our holiday, it's raining, and I am sad to leave. I love being here with family, but I want to be home. I keep remembering little Minimus, left behind wide-eyed in her Cattery. I want to see her eyes go all soft and crinkly and smiley again. I want to hug the big cats (makes me sound like an exotic owner of person-eating tigers and lions, hee hee) and Rusty the dog, Mister Sociable. Though I know he will have enjoyed kennel life.

Now I start to wonder what's up in my garden back home. I know there's been a huge dump of rain. Have any big tree branches blown down? Is there still blossom? Is the first species rose flowering? Oooo - the excitement is mounting!

 As big as your fist.
Red Ginger Flower

Little Things...

It's the little things that will feel so different when I get home. Like my own night-time temperature (cool, even shivery), and a crow-free dawn (my nearest rooster is discretely distant, and there's only one of him). Nothing I grow will ever remotely resemble a clump of flowering red ginger. And it's never humid when it's hot in my garden, the brow-mopping handkerchief rarely needed...


Sunday's raining-time was gently filled with Scrabble, reading my book called The Lost Dog, watching the Rarotongan roosters (with hens and peep-peeping chicks) doing random lawn circuits, and looking through my photographs of tropical flowers. When it wasn't raining it was hot and humid and NGP, entranced by his book about the founding fortunes of Google, declined to walk. Fair enough. This man has fully deserved his short break.

Dear Rarotonga, Thank you for showing me your treasures, and having such pretty flowers and plants with such gorgeously big green leaves. Look after Daughter of Moosey, and keep Son-in-Law safe from the roosters. Or should that be keep the roosters safe from Son-in-Law?