Friday, June 29, 2007

Zombie Prom!!

Well there's much excitement for me as Rich and I have decided to go to Zombie Prom at Happy next weekend!!

What is Zombie Prom - you may ask? Well it's an excuse to dress up as Zombies and head to happy for a few drinks and see a few bands.

I am very excited about the Prom and already thinking of what costume I can come up with for the evening...humm....I think I may be in for a round of second hand shopping this weekend to find a dress I can cut up and splatter in blood for the big night.

Also trying to find a few fellow zombie's to go with, although few of my friends share the zombie obsession I have (I don't know why - what's not to love about zombie's!) plus a few people are away or busy next weekend...

Nevermind - if nothing else Rich and I will have an awesome zombie night out.

Here's the website with details of the Prom and photos from last year

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Aro Valley Markets

We haven't had a chance to have a stall at markets for a while - it seems that Craftwerk hasn't been doing anything for a while.

But last week I texted the nice folks who are running the Aro Valley markets and managed to secure us a table! Woohoo!

The markets are on the 7th July and we don't have a whole heap of stock (we do have a bit of stuff left over from Triangle when it closed though) so I think this weekend and next week will have to be spend making a whole bunch of fimo's. But nevermind - with this weather it's not like I want to go outside at the moment anyways.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bye Bye Mella!!

I don't really know where the last 9 months have gone - and yes I am aware that is a very old woman thing to say.

Last night Rich and I went and had a coffee with Mella after work as this week is her last week in Wellington before she heads back home to Hamilton.

It's been really cool having Mella here and it will be sad to see her leave but I know she's looking forward to returning home to Hamilton (I hope the weather is a bit better up there for her) and getting back to her old job where she sees "real people".

Plus it does give me another reason to get myself sorted and head up north for the weekend to see some of my friends up there!


So I have had about a million and one things floating around my head lately - and because of this I forgot my dear friend Ange's birthday on Sunday....yes I am a bad friend!!

But I hope you had a lovely day and I will be there for the more formal celebrations on Saturday!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Dinosaur Comics

Recently a friend has introduced me to the Dinosaur Comics at

Basically it's the same Dinosaurs everyday - but each day they have something different and random to say! It's fantastic:)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Illness brings on cross stitch creativity!

Well I have been sick for what feels like forever - but since last Thursday to be exact. I am feeling a lot better but still getting tired very easily and not looking forward to going back to work tommorrow - not doubt that is going to be a VERY long day!

Anyways one of the things I have been using to keep myself entertained over the past week or so is cross stitch - here's a few of my creations:)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Where in the world am I?

I thought I'd just make a brief entry as I am sure some of you are wondering where I am - truth is it's not very exciting...

I've been home sick with some sort of bug since last Thursday - I did make an attempt to go to work on Tuesday but I had to come home at lunch because I felt so bad.

Rich caught my bug too - but he only had one day off sick whereas I've had a whole week off now and I have spent a whole bunch of money on the doctors.

Hopefully the second course of antibiotics will clear up this bug.

I have to say I am feeling quite bummed as I had heaps of plans last weekend and this week and I haven't been able to do anything - fingers crossed I am ok for Sam's 21st lunch and Simon's 30th birthday party this weekend!! I really want to go to both of these before I forget entirely what my friends look like.

Well that's enough complaining for now - hopefully I will start to feel a wee bit better tomorrow!

Happy Birthday Rossy!

Happy Birthday to you

Happy Birthday to you

Happy Birthday dear Ross

Happy Birthday to you!!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Rarotonga - Day 8 - Wellington Calling

Our final day in Rarotonga - and as always we woke to the sound of roosters crowing and also the most beautiful sunshine! It was an absolutely beautiful day.

We woke early to pack up all of our things. Rich decided he would like to play golf on his last day in Rarotonga. I wasn't really into the golf so I decided to spend my morning hanging out in Avarua.

After Rich left on the bus to the golf course I went and got some yummy breakfast - muesli, yogurt and tropical fruit. I decided to write a few final postcards - so went to the post shop and bought a bunch of them and sat in the sun whilst I wrote them - it was great to get out an enjoy the sunshine and relax.

I had a look through a few of the gift shops and then decided to have one final look at the markets - whilst there was a few stall holders about no sign of a ukulele! But I got a better look at one of the cool sculptures.

By this stage it was SO SO HOT - I was glad it had been overcast weather most of the time we had been in Rarotonga - I didn't think I could have handled cycling around the Island in this sort of heat! But it did give me a chance to take a few final photos.

After the markets I walked back into town and went to "Perfumes of Rarotonga" and bought myself a present - some Frangapini perfume and soap. I then waited in an air conditioned cafe for Rich to return from golf! When he arrived back he was REALLY hot - I think if the weather had been like this for our whole trip we would have spent all of our time at the beach cooling off.

We had one final look around Avarua and Rich finally bought his ukulele and we also bought some liqueur in a Tangiroa (Cook Island God) shaped bottle and headed back to our motel to wait for our transfer to the airport.

Rarotonga Rocks - everyone should really visit:)

Rarotonga - Day 7 - Adventures in sea kayaking

We woke to roosters crowing - I think I am actually starting to get used to roosters crowing - I guess it's a bit like when you move into a flat next to a busy road, to start with you think you will never sleep again but you gradually get used to it. I guess that's how Cook Islands handle living with the wild roosters!

Today was the day we were meant to be going to the art and craft market, however, when we got there we found the markets were dead. We talked to one of the stall holders that was actually there who saw us walking around looking rather lost, she told us that not many people come to the markets during the week - most people come on Saturday's. I guess this is a lesson - don't trust a 3 year old lonely planet guide!

However, she told us if we came back about 12 something might be happening. So we were now at a loss as to what to do for the rest of the morning.

Rich thought it would be a good idea to spend the morning at Muri Beach again and then come back to Avarua and see if anything is happening at the markets. Rich had especially wanted to go to the markets as he had his eye on a Rarotongan ukulele and the cheapest place to buy one was at the markets.

We went back to the motel and got all sorted for the beach - when we arrived at Muri beach it was surprisingly quiet even though it was 10 in the morning. Whilst walking along the beach we noticed a guy renting out sea kayaks and other water sports equipment.

We were standing on the shore deciding whether to rent a kayak or not when he started waving at us to come over and talk to him, so we decided to go over and rent a kayak - after all - it's not everyday you get to kayak at Muri Beach!

The guy we rented the kayak's from was really hard case. He told us the best places to kayak and also where to snorkel - so we hired some snorkeling gear as well.

First of all we kayaked around one of the islands off Muri Beach which was really hard work! Kayaking is so good for your arm muscles! I got pretty wet whilst Kayaking because I was sitting in the front but that's ok because it was so warm it didn't matter too much.

We kayaked around one Island and then decided to head for another - the second Island we arrived at was the same Island we had our first snorkeling adventures at. The guy we hired the gear from said that the best snorkeling in Rarotonga was around the back of the Island. However, it was pretty difficult to get to the back of the Island in the Kayak as the water was so shallow and rocky. But finally we managed to get the kayak onto the shore - this wasn't very easy!
When we got out of the Kayak it turned out I had been given a dud snorkel set as my mouth piece kept on filling up with water as the tube wasn't long enough for the set (maybe it was a kiddies one?) and no matter how shallow I swam I ended up with a mouth full of sea water. Rich offered me his set for a while so I could do some snorkeling. It was pretty good snorkeling but I still think the spot opposite fruits of Rarotonga was better. Although we did see quite a few big fish out at this spot.

After a while we decided to return to the original Island we kayaked around as it had a nice beach - we thought we would hang out there for a bit because it was sandy not rocky. We paddled the kayak up onto the beach and the water was so clear we could already see some fish. Rich offered me his snorkel set to use and said he'd use my dodgy one and just hold his breath when he was under the water.

Even though this wasn't a rocky beach at all there were still quite a lot of fish about - most of them were around a tree which had fallen into the ocean at some stage.

After all of our sea kayaking and snorkeling we were VERY hungry and found a very cute cafe at Muri Village called "Deli-licious" it was a really cute cafe with a really "trendy" vibe. This cafe would not have been out of place in Cuba Street!

After lunch we returned back into town, by the time we got to the markets it was about 3pm - we saw the same lady again when we arrived and she called out to us and told a few things happened at the markets at about 12 but most people had gone home already! I decided to buy one of her beautiful shell necklaces - so I bought something from the markets that day.

After we left the markets we decided to have a look through the tourist shops to see if we could find Rich's ukulele at a reasonable price - but the cheapest tourist shop still cost a good $20 more than the markets.

We finally headed back to the motel to hang out for a bit before heading to "Trader Jacks" at 7 for dinner. Trader Jacks came across as being a bit of an Rarotongan Icon - but to be honest - I didn't really like it that much. The meals were nice enough but it was one of those places where you felt like you couldn't really relax as they were trying to get as many people through the doors of the restaurant in one night as possible. It felt like they were trying to take your plate away before you really had a chance to finish you meal - which was disappointing. There are much nicer places to eat in Rarotonga than this.

When we finally got home we were exhausted from kayaking, snorkeling and walking but decided we better pack up a bit as the unit looked like a bit of a bombsite and we were leaving tomorrow!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Rarotonga - Day 6 - Highland Paradise

As per usual we woke up to the sound of our friends the roosters crowing - I REALLY won't miss wild chickens and roosters when I leave Raro.

We decided today we wanted to do something "cultural" so we decided to head to a place called "Highland Paradise".

We left the motel relatively early to drop off our bikes - I was a little sad to say goodbye to them after having them for 3 days. I guess I won't have the chance to cycle again for some time given Wellington roads are so hilly and narrow and the drivers so crazy!

After dropping our bikes off we waited at "Cooks Corner"to be picked up from someone from Highland Paradise. When I rang to book the tour I was told that someone would pick us up between 9:30 and 10:30 - so we were a bit worried about being picked up at all.

Finally a mini-van arrived from Highland Paradise with our guide/owner Tutu who was a really interesting woman - she had gone to school at Auckland Girls Grammar, done a degree at Canterbury and worked in Sydney for some years before before returning to the Cook Islands about 5 years ago when her father was sick with Cancer. After her father passed there were some family "issues" and Highland Paradise was closed for about 3 years, but she had recently re-opened it.

I think I learnt more from Tutu about Rarotonga in about half an hour that I did from anything else I had read about the Cook Islands. She told us that there was a Queen on one part of Rarotonga (her area can be identified by these small white fences in front of the properties in her area) and the other part of the Island is ruled by a council of chiefs - although one of the seats has been empty for some time as there is some fighting over who should take up the seat.

She also explained that there really arn't any laws in regard to what you can do with your land - that's why there are so many gravesites - because people are allowed to bury their relatives in their backgarden if they want to as there are no laws in regard to the use of the land.

When we actually arrived at Highland Paradise we sat down and Tutu gave us a bit of a history of the area and Rarotonga in general. She told us that before the missionaries arrived Rarotonga was a tribal society and there was a lot of violence as the tribes fought each other. Her people lived on the site where Highland Paradise now stands to protect themselves in times of war.

She also told us that when the missionaries came to Rarotonga much of the Cook Islands history was lost as it was an oral history and it only took 5 years from the intial arrival of the missionaries before everyone in the Cook Islands were converted to Christianity.

After our discussion with Tutu another guide took us around the "mountain" to see the gardens and the site of an old villiage (although apparently the villiage is actually 1.5 km further up the mountain).

Our guide was really fantastic and showed us a lot of different tropical plants which was really interesting. One of the plants she showed us was the "Starfruit" - I'd had a starfruit in a cocktail earlier in the week but I had just eaten one, they are really delicious. Our guide picked a whole lot of starfruit for us a even weaved a basket for us to take them home in.

She also explained the main differences between a marae in New Zealand and a marae in the Cook Islands (in the Cook Islands you would never sleep on a marae).

She also showed us the compass stone which pointed towards New Zealand and told us a lot about different Cook Island myths and legends - she really was an amazing guide.

She also showed us the site of the "village" which included a whole lot of really big boulders/rocks.

When we returned back to the building where we began our toue we found the most beautiful and huge lunch waiting for us - finally some Cook Island food! We had some potato salad, taro, paw paw salad, beautiful fish and a tropical fruit platter for dessert - it was delicious!

We ate our lunch whilst overlooking the view from Highland Paradise which was incredible.

After lunch Tutu gave us a lift back to our motel and some more insight into Island life.

When we returned to the motel we decided it was time to chill-lax for a while. Tutu had sent us home with a whole lot of leftovers from our lunch so we decided that we should buy some fresh fish to eat with all our salads.

This was a much bigger task than we thought as it seems that in the Cook Islands the supermarkets don't sell fish! So we walked and walked and walked and finally found a fish shop - but it was worth it - fresh fish in Rarotonga is SO cheap. We bought to huge fillets of albacore tuna for $3.50!

By the time we returned to the motel it was nearly time to cook dinner. We bought an onion on the way home and Rich cooked the fish beautifully.

We decided to spend the rest of the night just hanging about the motel - but I would recommend Highland Paradise to anyone going to Rarotonga.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Rarotonga - Day 5 - I like to ride my bicycle

Today we woke to the sound of rooster crowing - but thankfully NO RAIN! So we could actually get out and about and do something.

We left the motel quite early on our bikes determined to cycle around the whole island and stop for a spot of snorkeling on the way as Rich had read about "The best place for snorkeling in Rarotonga" in the Lonely Planet guide.

On our way around the island our first stop was a small road side stand selling carved souvenirs - they were selling some of the same stuff we had seen in town but we decided to buy a wee carved figure anyways.

We hoped back on our bikes and cycled some more until we reached "wigmore's waterfall" which is the only waterfall on the Island. To get there we had to cycle past a half constructed resort/hotel, which was quite creepy - apparently construction began, began and then something went wrong and now all the half finished buildings are abandoned.

We cycled up a dirt road to see the waterfall which was pretty cool but we only stayed a very short time as there were mosquito's everywhere! I've never seen so many mosquito's in one place before.

Once escaping the mosquito's and getting back on the main road again we cycled for a while before reaching "Fruits of Rarotonga" - this has to be my favourite food place in Rarotonga! It's a simple roadside stand that serves morning/afternoon tea (Rich and I had fruit smoothies and muffins), sells jam and chutney and also rents snorkeling gear - because it is across the road from the best snorkeling spot in Rarotonga.

After finishing our muffins and smoothies we hired some snorkeling gear and went to check out the sea life. I really liked snorkeling at Muri beach but snorkeling here was even better - we had whole schools of fish swimming around us, plus we saw a blue starfish and even more types of fish. After finishing up snorkeling we got all dried and headed back on the road again.

On the way back to the motel we visited the spot where the 7 waka's left the Cook Islands to come to New Zealand, which wasn't particularly well sign posted considering how many kiwi's holiday in the Cook Islands.

At the site there was a kind of memorial and each waka was represented by a stone and a plaque. Some people had left coins on some of the plaques, I'm not really sure why, maybe to give the people of that waka good luck? After checking out the sites and taking some photo's we were back on our bikes again.

One thing I have noticed whilst in Rarotonga is that there are a huge number of churches, Rich and I decided to stop at one of these churches and take a few photo's. Just because it was an interesting building.

After stopping to check out the church we began the final leg of the journey and headed back to the motel. We managed to cycle 32km around Rarotonga - pretty good for a girl who had not been on a bike for over 10 years:)

When we arrived home decided to have a bit of a rest - all that cycling and snorkeling does make you a bit tired.

We decided we wanted to have something nice to eat for dinner - but it was Queen's birthday Monday in Rarotonga as well and there was not a lot open.

We ended up at an Indian place called Raviz. The food was nice but I couldn't help thinking that since we had been in Rarotonga we had eaten Italian, Chinese and Indian but no Cook Island food.

Because we finally had a clear night we decided that we would spend some time on the deck of the motel star gazing - which was very cool as all the stars in the sky were so bright and you could see Venus clearly - so beautiful!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Rarotonga - Day Four - RAIN! and Blackrock

We woke again to roosters crowing - as this seems to be our daily routine in Rarotonga - but even worse we woke to RAIN!! Lots of it! The last few days of humidity had given way to a storm that completely changed our plans for the day. About mid-morning the rain stopped, but it looked like it could start again at any time - but we decided to risk having a look at what was happening in Avarua.

I knew that Cook Islanders were quite religious people but I didn't realise just how dead Avarua would be on Sunday - pretty much nothing was open and there was nobody around. We strolled along for a bit until we found the "Blue Note Cafe" open, so we decided to have an early lunch there, the adjoining shop which sold souvenirs was open so I picked up a whole bunch of postcards and a mug for my Dad. When we were eating the rain stopped but when we got up to leave it started again! We made it back to the motel just before it got too heavy.

We ended up spending the next few hours in our unit at the motel - I wrote out some postcards and read and Rich did some sketches.

Finally at 3pm cabin fever got to us, it had been raining for the last few hours on and off but we both knew if we didn't get out and do something we would go crazy. So we packed our bags and some rain jackets and grabbed our bikes to go for a bike ride - it was so great to get out of the unit!

We didn't really have any particular destination to go to but Rarotonga is so small you don't really need to bike far before finding something interesting. Before long we arrived at "Black Rock".

Black Rock is, as the name suggests a black rock but it's absolutely huge and really quite an amazing site. There is a legend about black rock that says when a famous missionary arrived in Rarotonga his ship was moored near Black Rock and he walked to shore clutching his bible above his head - apparently the 'true' story is he got a smaller boat to shore.

When standing near black rock we noticed a beach further along down the cliff so decided to bike a bit further along and check it out. We found this really cool shoreline with lots and lots of rock pools - so we went to check them out, they were so full of life! So many little fish and crabs.

Unfortunately whilst we were down at the beach the rain came back in a BIG way so we decided we really had to go back to the motel. On the way home we decided to stop at a dairy. We didn't like our chances of finding a restaurant or cafe on Sunday night given what had happened at lunch so we decided to buy a can of spaghetti for tea - hey it's not glamorous but it filled the gap.

That evening we also tried some of the food we bought at the markets. The sweet corn we bought was so good, the guava was interesting - the flavour grew on me the more of it I ate. The banana pudding was NOT GOOD! I know - how can pudding be bad? But it was heavy and creamy - kinda had the texture of a big lump of gelatin and was way too sweet for me.

After our food adventures decided just to hang out at the unit (it's not like we had much choice - not a lot else was happening in Avarua) and read, sketch, write postcards and hope for a clear day tomorrow - as by this stage it was bucketing down!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Rarotonga - Day three - Punanga Nui Markets & Muri Beach

Woken up by roosters yet again!! Seems that this is going to be our standard morning routine whilst in Rarotonga. One of them decides to start crowing and then more and more join in until the whole island is one big rooster party - no chance of sleeping in when you're in Rarotonga as them seem to start at 5am every morning.

This morning we decided to go to Punanga Nui Markets as it was their fresh food and produce morning - these markets are quite big and seem to be a real centre for the community. There was absolutely HEAPS of food there! We arrived at maybe 9:30am and people were already cooking big meals on BBQ's. Cook Islanders seem to eat lots of meat.

We bought some fruit - some banana's (which don't taste as sweet as the ones in NZ), some Guava and some passionfruit (which look very different to the way they do in NZ! They are much bigger and green rather than being black/purple and kinda shrivelled up looking). I also bought "Banana pudding in coconut cream" which came in a plastic container.

We saw lots of people at the markets buying something called "raw fish" - it came in little plastic containers and looked like coleslaw. I was not game enough to try anything called "raw fish" it just sounds bad!

The markets were very cool and I'm really looking forward to going back on Wednesday for the art and craft markets, it will be interesting to see if there are many different stalls. But if not that's ok as there were heaps of craft stalls today that I'm keen to take another look at and pick up some cool things.

After the markets we went and rented some bikes for our adventure out to Muri beach. I hadn't been on a bike for years so found it a little difficult to start with (the last time I was on a bike I would have been about 15!) but slowly got used to it. Because I wasn't that confident on the bike Rich thought it would be better to take the back roads. This was pretty cool as it wasn't focused on tourists like the main road on the Island, so it was good to see some 'real life' Rarotonga. I liked seeing the crops growing - especially the banana's!

When we finally arrived at Muri Beach it was stunning - the sun had finally come out and the water was so clear. Rich and I hired some snorkling gear - I'd never been snorkling before but it was pretty easy once you got used to breathing out of the snorkling tube (I'm sure there is a technical term for the tube). The guy that we rented the snorkling gear from told us to head to an island not far from shore as there was good snorkling to be had there.

We headed out to the Island but didn't see much to start with apart from sea cucumbers and rocks. But then we came across so many different types of fish it was amazing! They were in so many different colours and sizes. Some go into a panic and swim away as soon as they see you and others you feel like you could almost reach out and touch as they don't even seem to notice you're there!

After we finished snorkling we headed back to Avarua and stopped for an ice cream on the way home.

In the evening I really wanted to go to "Trader Jacks" for dinner - but we couldn't get a table. Turns out it's one of those places you really need to make a reservation for. There didn't seem to be a lot of other restaurants open in town - a lot of the cafe's are only open during the day so we ended up going to this little Chinese place for dinner. It was really a nice place though - the food was good with lots of veges.

After dinner we decided just to go for a wee walk around town and then came back to the motel to sit on the deck for a while and enjoy the nice warm evening.