Flower decoration at a corner store

Week 2- My folks join us!

 
My parents arrived Sunday, and this week has been punctuated by 2 stellar cultural events!  Wednesday, my mom and I joined the local ladies to do some hand stitching, have some snacks (date scones marinated in orange- great combo) and generally gossip about things going on in town: for example, the funeral this week was 4 hours long (open mike too long), a staffer from a hotel in town accidentally ordered a shipping container of salmon and dog food rather than just a container, etc.
 
Thursday night was the end of a cultural festival that went on this week, where over the span of 3 days, businesses, government agencies and schools  decorated their buildings with flower arrangements to be judged for tourism awards.  This led us to last night: a MuuMuu pageant and Ukulele (Ukurere in Maori) show! Local flora and fauna are central to cultural pride, so the judges were looking at the muumuus as well as extravagant headpieces people were wearing.  A politician also made mention of the importance of using what is here locally, and not the plastic flowers you can buy.  Its amazing how fragrant the flowers are here… most offices and bathrooms have arrangements in them as air freshener.    
 
We only have a few days left here in the Cook Islands, and are looking forward to New Zealand next.  
 
What we’re doing for the next 340 days. 
 
The next year is going to be all travel for Brad and I. We have been working on this and saving for 4 years, and our budget is $50 000 Canadian. 
 
We have great accommodations right now: we are 50 ft from the beach on stilted units for only $100/night!  It’s great for the value we’re getting, but definitely a splurge from what we’ll be doing in the future, and we’ll offset it in New Zealand. 
 
The plan (in inconsistent measurements): 
Cook Islands: 17 days
New Zealand: 10 weeks 
China: 2-4 months (and maybe other parts of Asia)
Japan: 1 month 
Canada: 3.5 months from July 15 – In our home again November 1st, and Brad re-starts work the 15th. 
 
In that, we’ll have our backpacks with us the whole time while hiking, camping, house sitting, taking mandarin immersion, train travelling, biking, couchsurfing, and who knows what else!  
 
View from a Brad: “Uh-oh, I might have just run over a coconut.”
*”P” reference in last post: “P” is slang for Crystal Meth, new to the island and locals worried about it. 
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