Thea Pijpers

My First Date in the Cook Islands

About 18 years ago, when I was somewhat younger, not exactly youthful, but still younger, I was holidaying in Rarotonga, capital of the Cook Islands.

I was staying at a small resort, Palm Grove Lodges, in one of their three small units on the beach fronting an exquisite lagoon. There has since been changes (there are eight units now), but at this time it was a more interesting setting, rather romantic and promising. Love is in the air?..

I met a charming man, middle-aged perhaps, but handsome and what’s more , he was the son of an American Senator. I have never met a senator, so I was quite impressed. He also revealed that he worked for the local government and was a friend of the Prime Minister. I was flattered. He invited me for tea, which in this part of the world does not mean tea and cakes at 4 pm as in Switzerland where I come from. Here, in Rarotonga, tea means dinner. Hence he invited me for dinner at 6.30pm at his house. He explained where his house was situated. Since restaurant food was generally not at a high standard in those days people invited current and future friends to their private homes to eat.

Dressed up to the nines in my best finery, well ahead of the appointed time I waited to be picked up. I waited and waited in anticipation of an interesting evening, but he didn’t turn up. I was upset, my ego was shattered and I felt jilted and mistreated. I became angry and began to think that all men are like this.

However, I learned much later that men in the Pacific do not fetch their women, a most ungentlemanly characteristic. I had learned this fact the hard way.

Some years later when I was living here, I met this man again and reminded him of this incident and my disappointment. We laughed about the misunderstanding and the missed opportunity, but he could not remember the occasion. This was not very flattering for me, but the years had taken their toll, he was much older and memories tend to fade with age.

I must be honest and conclude that I did not impress him and I have to live with this fact. Id put my best dress on for nothing…..

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