Hope you’re still considering traveling to island paradises, because I have a few more to add to the list.
The Cook Islands are the 15 southern islands near New Zealand. I must note that they have had a problem with their name. It’s kind of like a woman who’s been divorced many times. She’s not sure which name to keep.
The first name of one of the islands was Pukapuka. Now, that one I can see changing. The Spanish who discovered it renamed it San Bernardo, not too bad and not too difficult to remember.
The next name change came when a Portuguese captain renamed it Gente Hermosa, or Beautiful People, in 1606. That name kind of makes you want to visit. Who doesn’t want to see beautiful people?
The last name change came when Captain Cook visited there in 1773 and 1777. He must have been the one who was the easiest to get along with, because they permanently changed the name of the southern islands to Cook Islands.
Here’s the part I really don’t understand. One of those southern islands is named One Foot Island. Why I don’t know, but I guess in honor of that one foot, there is only ONE cabin on the island. Don’t go there with a large family. There will be trouble ahead.
The travel site mentions that there are many day trips to One Foot and along with the one cabin, there is a beautiful lagoon, where you might be content to swim and fish.
There’s another chain of islands meant for the stout of heart and physique. It’ called Kong Karl’s Land. At first, I thought surely it was the island where King Kong was born and raised. Then I discovered that it’s in the Arctic Circle, a place where surely no self-respecting gorilla would go, so I had to research it a little.
I discovered that Kong Karl’s Land is translated King Charles Land and that the island is owned by Norway. Norwegians are probably happy to own it, because I think Norway would be pretty cold, at least in the winter.
Kong Karl’s Land is an island group in the Svalbard archipelago. If you want to impress someone, you can tell them that – with my blessing. There are lots of polar bears that live there during certain times of the year, and although their primary food is harp and ring seals, I’m thinking they might not mind a human or two if they were really hungry. Please keep that in mind should you plan to go there.
Kong Karl’s Land is dominated by coal mining, tourism and research. Tourism, I asked myself? Really? Tourism? I guess so, since the site mentioned several events. One of them is the Dark Season Blues, a blues festival in late October, at a time when daylight and sun begin to leave Kong Karl’s Land for at least four months.
Well, I hope you can go alone or with other friends, because no daylight or sun means I definitely can’t go with you. I think I have SAD, a disorder that means I absolutely need daylight and sun to even be half-way pleasant. Trust me, you wouldn’t enjoy my company.
Here’s another bad point about Kong Karl’s Land. There are few private houses, and those that are there are mainly recreational cabins. Think Matthew McConagaughey visiting with his big Lincoln SUV, drilling that ice and planning on ice fishing. Any other houses are owned by various employers and rented out to employees. Since I don’t intend to work there, it’s another reason not to go.
The last island we’re going to consider is Easter Island, and it’s a onesie. How to get there? Go to the middle of Chile and travel due West. Stop at the tiny dot about the size of a period. You’re there. Easter Island intrigues not only me, but also the children I teach. Why? Well, we like the name for one thing. We can tuck it into our brain, because it relates to something we know well – the Easter holiday. It was discovered one Easter long ago, and that’s when it was given its name.
The other thing that’s intriguing is the huge (think a two-story house) statues on it. They all look like stone faces that were placed there by a stone Mamma and told not to leave. And to make sure that they didn’t, Mamma shoved them into the ground until only their heads showed. Like some mammas nowadays, she had a strong hand and a stern voice.
How were they raised into the air? No one knows. How did they survive the centuries? Another mystery. What we do know is that they are slowly If you want to go there, it’s probably pretty warm and maybe you could recurve a few of those faces. They need it – and you.
OK, I think I’m done traveling, but if you think of some other places we should visit, please let me know. I’m always interested.
PAT LEALI is a Shenango Valley native and writer who lives in Hermitage.