I went to the presentation where the Queen's Rep pinned the medal on Christine's father. Trinda wanted to come but didn't make it. We went to Alex's house to go with them, but we were not dressed approprately. It was in the Prodistant church so no sleevless blouses or pants for women and long paants for men. On the way back to the boat to change, Trinda got hit with diarryha and had to stay home.
I got back to the church a few minutes late. The constables and his body guard had the street blocked off and I had to wait while the Queen's Rep entered the church. Then they locked the door until after the first song. Then they let us stragglers in. They said, "Go on in, face Him and bow. Then take a seat.
It was all in Mauri, the native tongue of the Cook Islands, so I didn't understand much. Until they read the letter from the Queen. It was in English. Seems Christine's father has been employed by the government for over 40 years!
Then we went across the street to the activity center and had supper. there were over 40 dishes. I did my best to sample them all as you would guess, but by the time I got back for the second pass, many of them were empty. I did try pork, curried scallops, several fish, sweet & sour bread fruit, arrowroot (tapioca), rice, taro, and several stews and pasta dishes. ALL with out benefit of silverware or serving spoons. Just you try hot stew with just your fingers! Aah well, when in Rome ...
There was a finger bowl and community towel afterwards.
The captain and crew from the Kwai came also, but they were too late even for the food. There was none left 30 minutes after the start! Christine and Alex invited them and me back to their house for drinks and supper for those who missed out. They got the good deal, lobster, more scallops (better tasting), fresh bread, etc. I had to settle for just some scotch, as I had bragged about eating my dinner and having to have Trinda's share too since she was sick. We all had a little too much scotch. Alex's
daughters danced for the crew from the Kwai and they played guitars and ukulele and every body sang (except me, I don't know any songs).
Alex wanted to buy some of my fish hooks, so I set the price at 2 lobsters and 2 varo (mantis shrimp). He thought I was kidding, just some food for the hooks? I said sure, I really wanted to taste the varo. So, tonight they had us in for the varo. It is like a very large prawn or shrimp, but has legs in front that remind you of a preying mantis. the edible part of the tail was maybe 8 inches long an 1 to 2 inches wide. the head is only about 2 inches, so it looks all tail. It was sweeter than shrimp,
not as rich as lobster, but better than crab even, Trinda said. Usually they feed us lots of choices, like the parties, but tonight it was just the varo, fresh buttered bread, rice, tea and coconut cream. The varo was sautéed/steamed in garlic butter. I was the best meal we've had in a long time.