Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Was I actually There? (Aitutaki) pt. 4

Anyway, if you've come all the way to Aitutaki, the one 'must-do' is a boat excursion across the (semi)atoll's spectacular lagoon -broad enough to easily swallow up all of Rarotonga and some, to visit the tiny 'motu' (cay) of Tapuaetai, or 'One Foot Island'. There's a choice of several boats, all offer a similar itinerary. We took the smaller boat from Bishop's Tours (NZ$65 pp; www.bishopscruises.com). On the way across the lagoon, we landed on one of the 'motu' that served as a location for 'Survivor: Cook Islands' , as well as sailing past Akaiami Teal Lodge, the idyllic thatched-roofed 'eco-retreat' where contestants voted off the island waited out the filming of the series.

"I wouldn't mind being voted off to there for a few weeks" quipped a mind-reading young Dane. The vastness of the sea, the passing palm-fringed islets, the boat cutting through the clear, aqua water - I found myself singing snatches of Elvis' 'Rock A Hula Baby'. The setting demanded it. The Dane agreed (God bless little Denmark, too bad it's the one Scandinavian country where The Fleshtones have no public) leading to a discussion of Elvis-in-the-tropics scenarios to the utter indifference of his female companion. Not that it's the same thing, but Gordon Spaeth once commented that it was moments like this that triggered a "plethora of ridiculous ideas in his head', a condition he blamed on a childhood saturated with preposterous TV fare. While on The Fleshtones first cross-country tour in 1980, Gordon's brother Brian Spaeth (Clocks Stopped At A Strange And Savage Hour, Serious Ink Press, 2009) confessed amid the grandeur of Carlsbad Caverns (our road manager hated it, but it was just one of many sight-seeing detours made under the threat of mutiny) that natural wonders like this had been totally ruined for him by seeing so many papier-mâché caverns in stuff like 'World Of The Vampires' (El Mundo Do Los Vampiros, Mexico: 1960). Faced with the real thing, he sadly said he half expected Abel Salazar to step out from behind a 'fake' stalagmite.