I sit here and can only marvel that I've only got 10 full days left on this island. I've settled into such a nice routine and I've got so used to being here I barely even notice the ubiquitous crowing of the roosters!
Week 5 turned out to be a bit of a wash out! Monday and Tuesday were quiet and nice weather, particularly quiet because the doctors were preparing for their big annual health conference at the end of the week. We went snorkelling (a bit of a let down after diving) and generally pottered about a bit. On Weds the conference started under heavy skies and Amy (the new elective student from Leeds Uni) spent the morning listening to a range of local and Kiwi presenters talk about the obesity crisis and various more and less viable ways of dealing with it. We escaped at lunch time to town where we looked at so many black pearls our heads were in a spin. The black pearls are one of the Cook Islands most prized products, they are produced in the lagoon of Manihiki which is little more than a circular sand bar or atoll in the northern islands supporting around 300 pearl farmers. The pearls are beautiful and range from $10 for a loose oddly shaped, blemished one to many thousands for a perfect large round one. I think I'll buy one before I leave as they are very much part of the islands.
After our grey day on Weds it proceeded to absolutely pour for 12 hours on Thursday (I went and sat in conference for the morning and got soaked through coming home) and pour all afternoon Friday, Saturday and be grey all day Sunday. We entertained ourselves by going to such delights as the little Whale and wildlife museum in town on Friday (1hrs worth of distraction) and watching a huge number of DVDs!
We did head out on Friday night and went for a really yummy dinner at one of the local restaurants in town- lots fo great fish and then some cocktails and dancing. We even ran into the teacher trainees we met doing our diving who were out celebrating their last night on the island. It seems a lot of people are leaving- the body-boarders who had taken over the hostel headed off last night and the NZ uni holidays are over so the hostel is moving back to the international long term travellers again.
Unfortunately Aitutaki is off the cards- we tried this morning for deals one last time but it was simply too expensive to get there in the end. What that means is we're going to do a few things here we thought we couldn't afford instead like another dive trip with Kathryn once she finishes her open water and