before arriving on Rarotonga we had been told to check out the
Saturday morning market
is one of the big events of the week and - like market days
in old England - attracts a big cross-section of people.
wanting fresh fruit and vegetables, stall holders selling arts
and crafts or clothing, shop owners wanting to cash in on visitors,
tourists mooching around for bargains and folk selling food
go to the Avarua market every Saturday, it has become a bit of a ritual where I have a smoked marlin mornay crepe and my good lady has a waffle and coffee at the Waffle Shack.
first time we went to the Punanga Nui was while on holiday. We flew in on one of those cheap awfiul-arrival hour flights (about 1am) and we didn't
get up and to the market until about 11am.
a bit late as the market opens at around 7am and by the time
we got there it was winding down and really didn't grab us.
A week later it was much more lively - we got there at 9am - and
we got caught up in the hustle and bustle of the moment.
food stalls were great - prawn kebabs, fresh fruit smoothies,
sizzled sausages, chicken wraps, homemade ginger-and-lemonade
drinks and stunning crepes. My fave (which has since been surpassed by the marlin) was the banana and custard
one. Just wonderful.
art and crafts stalls had woven flax bags, carved shells, wooden
carvings of local gods, drums and turtles, while the clothing
places had colourful shirts and sarongs by the truckload.
while it is a market, don't expect to get great bargains.
of the prices are about what you'd pay in local shops and you
get the feeling it has become a tourist trap rather than a community
don't have any problems with the locals making money off visitors
- they have to make a living - it just wasn't what I was expecting
the first time we went.
time around we knew the situation and were pretty comfortable
picking up bags of souvenirs there.
and one must-do, is to get a chilled coconut - a Nu - to drink from.