One Year

Hi All,

….time flies and our first year on the Cooks is over.

So – we’d like to give you an update on what has changed compared to our first 100 days, what did not change at all and what are our new experiences….  Below are the updates …. in blue

and PS….

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  • „Island time“: is the most important topic to be understood and to cope with. Everybody on the island has an own interpretation of the factor time. Basically it is about doing things in a relaxed and convenient way. But – it can also become really tricky regarding appointments… People simply do not show up.  We are living on island time now as well, and (nearly) nobody expects us to do it differently. If we feel that we urgently have to close the shop to chill out – we do so.
  • We are the “Papaa”, the white / European people or expats. We are still Papaa – I just got a lot of new frackles and Pietro’s new hairstyele is pretty much local style (beard & ponytail)
  • Maori is a really challenging language…. The words have incredibly many syllables and each vowel is pronounced separatly… We are doing our best to learn it – and we have great neighbours that help us with it. We can talk Maori basics, and the locals are amazed when we do so. So this is motivation for us to learn more. Sometimes we mix up phrases in a very funny way – and the locals are laughing to death, and keep us in their memories forever.
  • And of course: the people on this island are amazing!!!  No changes 🙂
  • „Go local“: local products are the best, e.g. fish and fruits/ vegetables – and of course the local crafts , tikis, drums, tapas, tattoos etc. What we definitely buy from overseas is cheese & chocolate (Nutella etc. 🙂 Our „Go local“ strategy is clearly extended to New Zealand now. Because I feel that in summertime I also need to eat strawberries (that do not grow on Raro). And Pietro urgently needs clay for his new hairstyle. Last month Pietro went „Bavarian“: He got 5 bottles of Augustiner Edelstoff directly imported by Rebecca (by backpack). An incredible surprise for him!
  • …. and you’ll find a great choice of New Zealand and Australian wines on Raro. Paradise for wine lovers: New Zealand white wines are the best of the world. No changes 🙂 Just another finding: Australian red wines are some of the best ones we’ve ever tasted. Have you ever heard about „Saddler’s Creek Bluegrass Cabernet Sauvignon“? Unbelievable…
  • There is no need to look up the weather forecast for Raro. The weather doesn’t follow any rules or predictings anyway. It is only important to know about low tide and hight tide times – for swimming, snorkeling or surfing. Weather forecast – what is that??
  • Pigs, dogs and roosters… are „components“ of every garden. They always disturb you at the wrong time. But they compensate for the compost heap, just throw the remaining breakfast toast over the balcony railing. The chicken population definitely increased – we are thinking about a kind of „weapon of chicken mass destruction“, as their noise still disturbs our sleep (the whole night, not just the early morning hours…) . We have not yet found a solution. Any ideas? BTW: no guns allowed on the island…
  • Internet is a desaster, slow and expensive… And you can be sure that it dissappears completely while you are in the middle of an internet banking activity. No changes 🙁  Even worse: 2 weeks ago the central Bluesky (=Telecom) station  burnt down. Since then the Cook Islands are offline in terms of telephone traffic. Reparation work in progress – of course on Island Time mode… News on that probably in 2018…
  • Our closed shoes are too small. We are not sure if our feet are growing (too much barfoot…) or we just react more sensitively. Actually – we do not wear closed shoes any more. Next phase: no shoes at all 🙂
  • Coconuts are cracked with a machete. Even small local kids can handle that properly – which is scary!! Pietro nearly cut off his small finger while doing this. But we also had a learning out of it: the first aid kits here are much better than in Germany (3M Technology…) We have not yet enhanced our skills – we now buy fresh coconunts from the locals…
  • The colours of the island are extraordinary & amazing. I’ve never seen such an intense green, blue and turquoise – this is definitely  paradise!!! No changes 🙂 But the colours oft he lagoon of Aitutaki are even more intense. I have to cry whenever I see it (no jokes!)
  • Bread is an even bigger desaster than the internet… No no, as a Bavarian I do not really want to talk about that… Mmhh this is still a sad story – but we found sourdough bread and wholemeal pita – both really eatable.  
  • There are still bank cheques on the island – and they are used! No changes…
  • There is no lime scaling at all! No need to descale the coffee machine or the washing machine. This is really cool… Still cool!
  • Many Cook Islanders wear shoe size 16 (would be about size 52 in Europe, if to be found…) No changes…
  • There is not one traffic light on the island – and only two roundabouts (in town…). No changes…  Nowadays there are traffic jams – about five cars are queuing up because of slow scooters and bicycles drivers (and too many potholes)
  • With so much „traffic“ you’ll get lazy… Maximum distance to any goal on the island is about 20km – but this does not mean that you are always in the mood to drive sooo far (e.g far > 5km). Our house is located in Arorangi, Muri village is on the opposite side of Raro – definitely too far away for a dinner visit…
  • We have a visitor score board. After the Kiwis, followed by the Wallabies, it is a close run between Germans and South Africans for the third position. New score: all kinds of Kiwis, German speaking travellers (Swiss and Austrians are really catching up with the Germans), Australians and South Africans. PS: there are two Italians living constantly on the island, and 18 Germans

NEWS & Experiences :-))

  • Pietro is still the only Windsurfer on the Cook Islands. Mmh, ok, there is a Bavarian Guy (Werner from Bad Tölz) who has a Mistral Board from the 1980s – but I do not think that really counts…
  • But: Kitesurfing is getting big on the Cooks, on Raro and on Aitutaki – and it is great fun. Since a few weeks we have our own Kite-Equipment and are on our way to learn.
  • Photograph is boooooming … images are starting to sell on Getty.
  • Our home is pretty cosy meanwhile… Next step: get Pacific Sky TV to watch Rugby 😉
  • Rarotonga is a kind of „Boom Islands“: everwhere new restaurants, tour operators etc. appear. And the very good news with that is that you easily can find really good coffee now.
  • Small events get really big attention. The islanders love to find a reason for a feast, family reunion and any kind of relaxed get together. And they talk about it for a long time.
  • Within 2017 we had 6 lots of visitors here, which all enjoyed the experience with us :-))) Next year we are out for traveling, getting new experiences from the outer Cook Islands and other South Pacific island states.
  • And finally: For us these main mottos have emerged: „Life, Laugh and Love“ and „Beach life is the best life“…..

So – we hope that you enjoyed the update on our “island life findings”. And excuse us now – we are „Gone Surfing“ & „Gone Diving“ ;-))

Life, Laugh and Love & go well,

Eltje & Pietro

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