Saturday, September 14, 2013

THIS is a Road?

Aitutaki is not that big - less than 7,000 square miles.  You could do it without a car, but we are car people.  With three of us and enough camera gear for five of us, we need that backseat for storage.  Just as in Rarotonga, the cars are small subcompacts that would not survive on Interstate 5 in Downtown Seattle.  Coconuts are still objects to be avoided as are chickens, but dogs are not.  Dogs are illegal on Aitutaki.  

There is a main road that goes around the island and a few that go across the island.  The road the rental cars suggest you travel on are yellow.  They prefer you to not travel on the roads that are white.  There's a reason. (Not that we paid any attention to the reason, but we'll get there.)

The yellow road are paved and wide enough for two cars.  They are in good condition (except for the random coconut).  There are no road signs, though.  You're kind of just winging it.  "Okay, we passed the hospital and it was on the right so we must be on this road."  Yeah, like that. 

Then there are the white-lined roads.  As indicated in the picture below, it's nothing more than compacted dirt (this one was actually one of the yellow-line roads).  We didn't get a photo of the road that was literally - grass.  Some of it was a little bent over so we knew it was a road.  Still, at one spot I was so worried about the road that I did a 15-point turnaround in the middle of a hill with eight inch deep water run-off ruts.     

Still, having a rental car was totally worth it.  We got a lot of pictures we wouldn't have if we didn't have easy access to travel.

And we would have missed views like this.

Serious dream house.  As a matter of fact, when searching stock sites, we found this exact house.  In some places on the island, you could look West and East and see both sides of the ocean.

This is the water storage tank for the entire island.

If you look to the left of the building, you will see the ocean.  Notice that there are no windows on the house.  That is because the house was abandoned.  Houses like this are abandoned all over the island because residents of Cook Islands hold dual citizanship with New Zealand.  Many leave the small islands and move to New Zealand because wages are better and there are more opportunities.  Because you can't purchase property (it has to be donated), the property has been handed down the generations and there is little risk losing it.  So many are left to rot.  It was so different to see this because waterfront/ocean view properties are at an absolute premium in the States.  

The sunset we went to photograph was not as spectacular as in Black Rock in Rarotonga, but that was a hard act to follow.

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