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Published: August 10th 2008
Having done very little all week, we made up for it today by cramming a lot in.
We started the day on a Raro Safari tour. This was an off road landrover tour to see high points on the island and learn some of the history. We went right up the highest peaks, saw amazing aerial views of Muri Lagoon and got some great photos of the Needle (a large rock) and the waterfall (unfortunately for us there was no water as it hasn’t been raining enough).
As far as tours go this was one of the best we’d ever been on and the guides had us in stitches. Our driver kept pretending he was going to ram the landrover in front to scare the kids who were sitting in it, and then he turned his head to talk to a car alongside and didn’t realise the front car had stopped so he went right into it with a smack. We couldn’t stop laughing at him. Luckily our car didn’t have a bunch of bananas attached to the front like most of them did so no damage was done. The kids in the front car looked scared for the
rest of the trip though.
We stopped for a bbq lunch of swordfish and salad to round off the tour and then headed back to our villa.
The afternoon was spent on the beach uploading the blog - we bought a wifi card but could only get access to it on the beach so that’s where we have to go to use the net. It’s not quick here so it took ages to upload the photos.
Then there was just time for a quick shower before heading along the beach to the Pacific Resort nearby for ‘Island Night’. All of the guide books rave about how you have to attend an Island Night on your trip and this one had been particularly recommended.
Walking along the beach we saw a total of four different wedding parties as sundown is a popular time to get married here.
At the Island Night we were seated on a table with two couples from New Zealand - Roger and Deana, and David and Gail. After chatting for a while we found out that David and Gail had just got married that day and hadn’t told anyone, not even their
children! So then Matt became their official photographer for the night and made sure we got lots of pics for them. He had proposed the previous week and they’d decided to just go for it while on holiday to save the stress of organising a proper wedding. They’d gone to the court on the bus, had the ceremony and then come back and decided they needed to do something a bit different to celebrate so decided on Island Night! We found out that they were going to be staying at the same bungalows in Aitutaki as us at the same time so we’ll catch up with them next week.
The food was served in a long carved boat in the centre of the restaurant and nothing had labels on it so it was all pot luck, although the beef, pork and chicken were quite easy to spot. The vegetables and salads weren’t so easy and we kept putting things on our plate thinking they were one thing but they were actually something completely different. I saw Matt had a big chunk of pineapple left on his plate so I sneakily went to grab it as it looked really juicy,
only to discover after taking a massive mouthful that it was actually a weird dry, cold, horrible vegetable. Matt laughed at me as he had just done the same thing.
Dessert was a large plate of different fruit and cakes for each couple. Matt and I had been previously arguing whether the fruit we’d been eating all week was papaya or paw paw, but it turns out they are one and the same which meant we were both right.
Over dinner we all shared our experience of the various wildlife we’d seen on the island, including the resident geckos that live in our villa ceiling and crawl around barking at night. Deana told us about some sand crabs that she’d seen that were the size of dinner plates - apparently they come out at night time so she suggested we look out for them on our walk back.
After dinner the boat was wheeled away and the dancing began. It was a mix of young girls belly dancing and young warrior men jumping around to drums. It wasn’t long before they started dragging the audience up to join in but we both slid down our seats and
hid until they stopped asking (apparently turning down an invite to dance means it will rain for years and years - let’s hope not!)
When the show was over it was time to head back to our villa along the beach. It was a calm, cool and dark night. I was glad I’d brought the torch. As we walked along the particularly dark stretch, with only a small beam of torch light to show our way, we suddenly saw fast moving things whizzing in front of us. We both jumped and shone the torch around to pick out some crabs about the size of golf balls running around really fast. We carried on walking but every few steps another crab would run out right towards your feet really quickly and as we were wearing sandles it really made us jump as we were convinced they were after our toes (maybe this paranoia was due to the wine and cocktails!) We also didn’t want to stand on any of them so walking back became a hilarious game of jumping as crabs ran towards us, with us trying not to stand on anything crunchy.
At this point we were dreading
seeing the sand crabs Deana had mentioned as who knows how fast crabs the size of dinner plates can run! We weren’t hanging round to find out!
Luckily we made it back without seeing any, although we did pick up a stray dog on the way who seemed determined to come into our villa with us and looked at us with sad eyes as we shooed him away back to the lagoon.
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