Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Okay, so we are no longer at the Kii Kii Motel. We came back to our room yesterday after hanging out in Avarua all afternoon and decided to stay in for the evening and just watch some (exciting) Rarotongan TV. Since we did not have a TV, but one had been promised to us “by the evening”, we went to the reception desk and asked the lady if we could possibly get one. We had been told that they were going to move one for us from one of the other rooms (and, since it was one of the “perks” described in the Kii Kii Motel brochure, we felt entitled to it); the lady said that we could move it from Number 5 since that room was vacant. We went next door to the room and moved the big 17-incher on over. I decided to “freshen up” in the bathroom and was just about to start brushing my teeth when I noticed something on the sink. It was about half an inch long and dark brown…and it looked squishy. I called Casey and at first he didn’t hear me and then I was like, “Casey!!” and he came in to help me. It had NOT been there that morning when we left since I had seen something else on the sink and had wiped it up (but it was dry and crusty–oh, yuck, now I think I know what it was—the same as this, only older). So, I knew that the sink had been clean when we had left…Casey wiped it up and it was wet and he smelled it and it wa stinky like a, you guessed it, a turd. ACKKKK! Yuck, so disgusting. I was so grossed out….we weren’t sure if we should stay or not; at first I thought it was a mouse but then I thought, oh God, what if it’s a rat? I mean, that is really unsanitary (not just gross). And Casey was like, Maybe we should stay…we were both tired since we had woken up at 5:30 am to catch the plane from Aitutaki, and we had been walking around the whole day. But I just kept thinking of what it could be…and we finally compromised and said well, if they have another room for us, we’ll move. So we trudged on over to the office and Casey told the lady that we found “poo” on the sink, and she didn’t under stand and I said “droppings” and she began to understand. But she only works there and doesn’t have the power to deal with things like this and asked us if we could wait until 7pm to take of this as she had to get in touch with the manager and she wouldn’t be able to contact her until that time. So, we waited (it was then about 6:30). But, meanwhile I was thinking, what if they can’t/won’t move us? We’ll have to find another room somewhere else and it’s getting late. (That time of evening is late on Cook Islands–the stores downtown close at four). I started packing up my things and all the while I had this very sick feeling in my stomach. Finally 7:30 rolls around and the lady comes up to our room and goes, You can keep the TV, you don’t have to move it back to room 5 (which had been the promise so that she wouldn’t “get into trouble”). And I was like, what about the rodent droppings?!? And she said, Oh, well the owner is here right now and if you want to wait until he is done with what he is doing, you can talk to him.

Okay. So we went outside and he was unloading something with another guy and we talked to him and he acted like we were making it up, and he asked to be shown the droppings, and Casey took him into the room and handed it to him out of the waste basket. And he said that they had no other rooms available and that “Rooms are very hard to find on this Island.” That is a direct quote and I could not believe he had the gall to try such a transparent scare tactic on us! Like were are really going to stay in a room infested (could be) with rats because some smarmy guy tells us there are no rooms! And we had passed a bunch of places that day that had “Vacancy” signs out, so we knew that he was lying…he must have thought he was dealing with some 18 year-old backpackers or something! (It was dark outside and the lighting inside was dim, so that may be a possibility.) Casey said, “My wife can’t spend the night in a room that has a rat in it, so we’re going to have to go elsewhere tonight. And we aren’t going to pay for our room.” And he was like, “Well, come back tomorrow and the manager will take care of it”–not saying that we could have our money back. And then–“Before you leave I want to inspect the rooms”!!!!!! What a jerk.

So, we tried to call a place that we knew was nice, but the phone in our room hadn’t been turned on; Casey suggested that we go to Club Raro (a four minute walk away) since we had seen a “Vacancy” sign out that morning. It’s expensive (the cheapest rooms are listed as $165 NZ dollars (about $85 US) but since it was close and we had our heavy bags and no transportation, it was a good choice. I ran over there and booked us a room (at $150 a night) and ran back and got Casey and we lugged our luggage to our new room. I had booked for three nights (since we’re off to Fiji on Thursday) but since it is expensive Casey wanted to stay only a night. The room was small and okay but we could get a better deal elsewhere (more for our money). Casey went to the front desk to change it and came back a few minutes later and said that the manager wanted to offer us a better price if we stayed the full three nights. We both didn’t want to move any more, so we thought we’d see what he had to say.

It turns out that he wanted to offer us one of their beachfront rooms (we had a “garden”) at a discounted price; they normally go for $365 but he said he wanted us to take a look at it and tell him what we thought it was worth and then we could go back to his office and talk! I was thinking, Oh no, he is going to be wasting his time because we only have so much to spend per night and we are not in the market for a luxury room. But, we decided to look at it anyway. The ocean was so beautiful in the moonlight! The waves were crashing against the rocks and above then they had built a huge deck with tables and chairs, and beyond those they had the beachfront rooms…the rooms are not big, but they are nice and CLEAN and modern and the bathroom is really quite spacious; and best of all there is a beautiful ocean view. It also has a small porch area that is actually quite private. We saw a couple sitting out on the deck with some wine and it looked so nice; but we were not getting too attached to it! The manager gave us a few minutes to discuss it and we both agreed that we would be honest and tell him that we only had so much money allowed for our room, and that we were traveling for a few months and we weren’t in the market for an expensive (albeit very nice) room. Casey also mentioned to him that we were gooing to go to the Castaways and get a room and that we could get one for about $120 per night. The guy thought about it and checked his computer and said, “Allright, I will give it to you for $120 per night. AND I will still throw in the tropical breakfast in the morning (as he had promised earlier) since I am a man of my word.” WE were like, wow. Very cool! We moved all our stuff out of the smaller room, and into the bigger one, and spent the rest of the night out on the deck watching the moon and the waves and drinking wine (me) and beer (my beloved husband) and snacking on cheese and crackers. Wow.

So, this morning we went to take care of business at the Kii Kii. The owner’s wife was there and we had to discuss it all with her. She was being very obstinate and Casey had to pull our trump card (I think that’s what it’s called)–The lady that we had talked to last night, after she told us that we’d have to wait until after 7pm to talk to someone, also told us that “Oh, the people in number 5 [next door to us] came to us in the middle of the night because they found a huge rat under the bed!” Oh, very nice to know. So, this morning when the lady was not budging and insisted that we pay for our night (because we had spent time in the room! We didn’t even sleep there! “Did you not use the dishes?” I had made coffee! “Did you not enjoy time there?” We spent time, but we did not enjoy it!) Casey mentioned to her that the lady had told us that the place has rats and that the people next to us found one. She was like, “Who? Who said that?” And I thought, Oh no, she’s in trouble. But, mysteriously enough, right after that the owner’s wife backed down and said we would have the charges reversed. The daytime office lady said that it might take a while to reverse them since the owner has to type up a letter to the credit card company (they had put through one night’s charges already–$60), but that we should check with our card company in a few days. If she “forgets” to give us our money back we are going to have the payment revoked by the card company.

And then we strolled on over to Club Raro and took a look at the ocean and saw that they were cleaning our room (yes!) and walked into to town. Aaahhh, so relaxing.