Again, I’m still adjusting to the time and climate. This afternoon I noticed that the front and back of my shirt were sopping wet. What an attractive sight I make with my hair falling in my eyes.
One of the guys in our group plays violin / fiddle in Colonial Williamsburg and last night he did a little concert ocean side. Very nicely done. I did start teaching about the separate evolution of Celtic fiddle styles in Scotland, Cape Breton and among the Metis. They didn’t seem to be captivated.
I also wrote a script for my film buddy Caleb. It’s not now and may never be ready for prime time, but it was nice to be creative.
The Cook Islands has very little industry aside from tourism. I think Rarotonga has a population of 10,000 and sees around 100,000 tourists a year. That may be high. I’ve been told that it has some of the best diving in the world.
It gets some development aid – primarily from New Zealand. There are 50,000 Cook Islanders in New Zealand and Australia. You don’t want to be at the airport during Christmas because they all come home.
Everything is expensive. Fruit, chicken, vegetables are cheap because they can be grown on the Island, but everything else, including fuel for the electricity generators, has to be imported.
While the salaries here are better than other places in the South Pacific, they are 30 to 40 percent of what they would be in New Zealand. Between the high costs and low salaries, everyone seems to work two or more jobs. There is no real welfare system – you rely on your family if you’re in trouble.
A lot of the extra jobs are entrepreneurial. Our country manager started the only brewery on CI. You’ll be glad to know I’m supporting the local beer industry. There are no large all inclusive resorts or chains. I hope they keep it that way because then they aren’t like everybody else. If the CI is like Cancun, then what’s the point? We’re heading off to diner and a dance show soon, so I have to go.