2001-2008
Home
Main
- About TFT
Friday Thing Archive
- Politics
- Media
- Culture and Society
- War On Terror
- People
- Places
- World
- Popped Clogs
- Music
- Books
- Film
- Etc
Help And Info
- Contact Details
- Advertising
- Jobs
- Privacy Policy
- XML Feed

Home > Places

Incident in Rarotonga

By Jonathan Harwood, our fearless South Seas correspondent.

27 September 2003

First a bit of background - Rarotonga is the largest of the 15 Cook Islands which are scattered across some 2 million square kilometres of the south Pacific Ocean, 2,000 miles from the nearest city. Raro (as it's known) is lush and green, draped in rainforest and fringed with white sand beaches, which disappear into a turquoise lagoon inside a fringing coral reef that keeps the mighty ocean at arms length. The peaks of the inland mountains are often obscured by cloud, palm trees sway in the leisurely breeze and the scent of frangipani drifts gently from garden to...

...well you get the idea.

The people, Polynesians, are uniformly friendly and scoot around the circular coastal road that runs right round the island on mopeds and in pick-ups - generally at around 30mph. It is also seemingly obligatory for the scooter riders to carry large containers of fruit, gas cylinders and / or small children while making their way from one place to another. They drive slowly because the pace of life is slow. People walk slowly too, it is generally to hot during the day to try and rush anywhere.

The unhappy lot of the scooter rider is something of an issue in Rarotonga at the moment. They are under assault from the island's wildlife. Rarotonga is blessed with a staggering number of stray dogs - 2000 is a rough estimate. These skinny creatures congregate after dark and fight in big bundles by the side of the road, often erupting out of bushes in a frenzy of canine enthusiasm, and generally in front of motorists. More annoyingly a sole dog will often lurk in a bush and will wait for a passing moped, at which point it will leap forward teeth bared, barking manically.

Sometimes the dogs are so determined to cause mayhem that they actually dive under the wheels of the bike, this kamikaze action is guaranteed to unseat the rider and is probably the greatest source of work for the doctors up at the hospital. The dogs are generally put down for this stunt. Partly because they have gone a bit too far this time, and secondly because they have been run
over.

As yet, I have escaped dog attack, but the other day I was attacked by a herd of eight pigs.

There I was, happily picking some chillis from my chilli bush, when out of the undergrowth emerged the herd of slavering hogs. Unusually for me I had a couple of rather old avocadoes about my person - which, in a gesture of friendship between man and beast, I tossed to the porkers.

They wolfed them down and then decided that I was to be approached for more. I shuffled backwards as they jostled ever closer and then, sniffing my fear, began trotting right at me. I picked up my pace and started for the door. They broke into a run too.

Fortunately, seeing as they were all piglets and only came up to my ankles, I was able to outrun them over the 10 feet back to the safety of my flat and slam the mosquito screen in their sweet little faces.

Then they hung around snuffling loudly outside for a while - if it had been a TV show it would have been "When Babe Attacks". I was tempted to grab one to fatten up for Christmas. But I knew if I'd done that I would have given it a name and housetrained it and had it sleeping on the bed before the month was out. So I shooed them off and went back to my empty, lonely house.

I hope I did the right thing.


A lovely pic of a Rarotongan pig:

www.bildene.no/detail.asp?product_id=rsv016cd14



Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

Subscribe to The Friday Thing for free


 ABOUT THE FRIDAY THING
Bad words ahead The Friday Thing is a weekly email comment sheet. Casting a cynical eye over the week's events, it is rarely fair and never balanced.

A selection of articles from each week's issue appear online, but to enjoy the full Thing, delivered by email every Friday - as well as access to almost five years of back issues - you'll need to subscribe. It's absolutely free.

READERS WRITE
"Razor-sharp comment and gossip." - The Sunday Times

"Hilariously cynical..To describe it as 'irreverent' is to do the newsletter an injustice." - The Observer

"Sharp, intelligent, opinionated, uncompromising and very, very funny. Just like 'Private Eye' used to be." - Alec McKelland

"Wicked" - Channel 4

"Ace" - Time Out

"'We rise once again in advocacy of The Friday Thing. We realize that some of you may be unwilling to spend [your money] on plain-text comment, but you're only depriving yourself." - The Minor Fall, The Major Lift

"Subscribing to this at the beginning of the year was undoubtedly one of the better decisions I've made. Superlative, and utterly marvellous. I look forward to Fridays now, because I can't wait for the next issue. Fucking fucking brilliant." - Meish.org

"Featuring writers from The Observer, Smack The Pony and The 11 O'Clock Show... will continue to attract new subscribers sight unseen" - NeedToKnow

"The Friday Thing is so good it's stopping me from doing a bunk of a Friday afternoon." - Annie Blinkhorn (The Erotic Review)

"So now" - The Evening Standard

"Damn it, you rule. May you never, ever back down." - Paul Mayze

"Ace" - PopJustice

"Snarky" - Online Journalism Review

"Can you please stop making me laugh out loud... I'm supposed to be working, you know!" - Tamsin Tyrwhitt

"Your coverage of stuff as it spills is right on the money." - Mike Woods

"Popbitch with A-Levels." - Tim Footman

"In an inbox full of trite work-related nonsense, TFT shines from under its subject heading like the sun out of Angus Deayton's arse." - Nikki Hunt

"A first rate email. It's become an integral part of my week, and my life would be empty and meaningless without it (well, *more* empty and meaningless anyway)." - Mark Pugh

"Genius, absolute bit of class. And you can quote me on that." - Lee Neville

"If you're hipper than hell, this is what you read." - MarketingSherpa

"The most entertaining email I've had all week. Great tone." - Matthew Prior

"A massive and engrossing wit injection." - idiotica.co.uk

"I wouldn't know satire if it bit me on the arse. But I did like the Naomi Campbell joke." - Matt Kelly (The Mirror)

"Has had an understandably high profile among people who know about these things." - Guy Clapperton (Guardian Online)

"Satirical sideswipes at the burning issues of the day." - Radio 5 Live

"Puerile and worthless... Truly fabulous... Do read the whole thing." - Stephen Pollard

The Friday Thing 2001-2008 - All Rights Reserved