Kings of the Wild World Tour: Cook Islands and Hawaii

John Tyrrell is one half of nouveau breaksmiths Kings of the Wild Frontier. In November 1999 he set out on a world tour and this is his neo-Kerouac on the road diary, a kind of continuation of the Kings' "Trans Am" ep which journeyed across the U.S.A from East to West appropriating local musical styles as it went.

Below are the emissives he and travelling companion Jo have been beaming back to base.

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2000

The Cook Islands.

Blue lagoons, sea kayaking between deserted sand islands, mosquito dodging jungle hiking, hammock swinging etc etc need I go on. Stayed at the home of Piri The Coconut King while on Rarotonga - this 60 year old nimble native climbs the tallest of swaying palm trees in record time, racing up the tree trunk like a greased monkey, wearing nothing but coconut fibres and a smile. Fantastic. (Jo)

Went hell for leather with the ol' native dancing thing again - saw loads of hip shakin young girls and thigh slappin strapping boys doing their vigorous thing to the beat of wooden drums. They seem to have picked up that audience participation thing though, which is a bit of a shame. It means I have to spend half the night looing at the floor to make sure they don't come near me. Best thing about Piri's place for me was the reef just off the shore outside our room. A young zoologist from Reading called Andy (also a confirmed Pokemon freak - there are more of us) took me out snorkelling one sunset and I've never seen beasts like it - moray eels, lion fish, octopus etc etc. And the water was clear as glass. We stuck our heads above the water to watch the sun dip down into the sea. Aaahhh... (John)


Flew in on John's birthday. Miserable sods on Air NZ wouldn't give us any free champagne and when I asked about sorting out a floral lei (necklace) for John on our arrival they just looked at me blankly. Never mind, we added to John's Hawaiian shirt collection instead, and I bought myself a hula outfit to wear as a birthday shock ('surprise' doesn't quite conjure up the look on John's face) - very funny, I think it was meant for a girl aged 11. Waikiki is full of cute Japanese tourists posing for photos and there are white limosines everywhere. I Love this place. (Jo)

Birthday in Waikiki. Dinner on the beach at Dukes, fresh catch of the day, and a bloke playing Jose Feliciano's version of 'Light My Fire' on the terrace. Thing's don't come any better. Plus we had a hotel room with 50 channels of cable and a fridge full of beer. Hard to drag myself out to the beach. But then the lure of the souvenir shops was pretty strong too - let's hear it for the ABC Stores - one every 50 yards. We managed some exercise when we climbed up Diamond Head in Waikiki - the rim of a long extinct volcano. The army filled up the crater lake and stuffed it with guns they never used. Boo. Jo couldn't resist the lure of the bodyboards after we saw some little kids going crazy in the breakers. Unfortunately we vastly over-estimated our abilities in the field. An abysmal hour was spent half-drowning in the foot high surf and frantically paddling to get 10 metres from the shore. We took the board back early. (John)

Spent a day at the Polynesian Cultural Centre - 7 reconstructed villages representing the cultures of Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti, The Marquesas, Tonga, New Zealand (Maoris again)and Fiji. It was great to 'visit' a bit of Fiji as we couldn't actually go there in the end due to the volatile coup situation. But with seven lots of pageants and performances going on all day it was a bit of a cultural overdose. Have seen all the fire making, flame throwing, basket weaving, drum banging and tribal dancing we ever need to see now.

Our appetites were satiated. (Jo)

Return to New Zealand or on to Californ-eye-ay!

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