Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Break Part 2

Hardly 12 hours after getting back from my bike trip I loaded up on a bus and headed back into Arthur's Pass for a 4 day field trip in the southern alps with my Ecology Class. It ended up being a bit more rigorous than I expected, and some how I managed to forget my sleeping bag...hahaha. Anyway it was a good trip in beautiful country, and I got to know a whole bunch of my Kiwi classmates much better than I would have otherwise.

Among other things I also left my camera behind, though I admit I was pretty tired of taking pictures. I yanked this from the class website.

Rarotonga-Day 1

After two rest days back in Chch, all the IES kids sans 2, met at 430 Monday morning to head to the airport.

Two flights, and one international date line later, we made it to paradise, sometimes called Rarotonga...

Day 2
The Cook Island Parliament building.

This tree is only 12 years old

Views from our short group hike

Narv and I rented some shweet bikes to get off the main drag and see the island at our own pace. As you can see, we were dealing with a pretty aggressive pieces of equipment.

Cameras always do hills an injustice. This climb was steeeeeep and super rutted, even for steeds of speed.

I'd never seen bananas on a tree before, I thought they grew in cardboard Dole boxes :D

Airport lagoon beach, a nice place to cool down after the ride.

Hammock back

Sunset at the hotel, it was like this everyday

Day 3

The third day we received a cultural welcoming. The guy in the lower picture was one of the van drivers, and no, he didn't wear that outfit while driving.

We made sarongs, this is not mine

Traci and Samir

This is mine... it didn't make it back to NZ

Day 4
Every morning we had a lecture at the University of the South Pacific. The school does quite a bit of internet and satellite programs, but also has a small campus in Raro.

Outrigger racing. The team on the left is one of the Raro youth groups. Watching them row is pretty amazing, their strokes are in perfect unison.

Muri beach
Day 5
So on the last day the driver accidentally dropped us off at one of the dancer hostels. Raro hosted a multi day traditional Polynesian dancing competition during our stay, attracting hundreds from all over the South Pacific. This was about as dodgy as things got. With only 4-6000 people and no where to run, if you decide to go on a criminal streak it won't take long before you find out you've robbed your cousin or your uncle. The biggest criminals are probably tourists and the likes. anyway, after 5 mins some kids noticed the random and awkward group of white people mulling around their pad and came out to talk try and get us to play games.
On that note, Narv and I may have founded a new Cook Island national sport at the fruits of raro beach on Wednesday. Its called, 'throw the rock at the coconut' (in the surf), we had three kids running up and down the beach chucking rocks at drifting coconuts chanting all afternoon. You just wait and see, I bet it sweeps the Pacific in a generation.

This was dodgy. Ferrel dogs roam the island. During the day they're no worries, but at night they group up and make a ruckus for people and other dogs like this one.

Back on campus, a group of locals showed us how to husk a coconut in 10 seconds, then had us fumble around and try the same.

If you've never seen a coconut on a tree, they actually come with smooth hard outer husk lined with a dry flaky fiber, as seen pictured on Traci's head.

Unreal. So if a stick isn't your thing, try and husk one with your teeth. It took our van driver about 15 seconds, though the hardest part is making the initial bite.
Kai gave it a shot, less successfully.
Someone order chicken?
Dante Pedro! Well, we're not sure, but Narv named a dog that looked pretty similar a few nights before.

This was last years youth female winner, but pics weren't allowed so this is all I got.
Friday, 1.30 am, Dante Pedro and several other locals came to the airport to wish us well.

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