Arriving to RAR by plane felt like arriving to a party at which we were part of a group of honored guests. We landed at sunrise, stepped onto the tarmac and into the small airport ready to deal with the normally tedious task of going through customs. But, there with his voice and a ukulele, was 70 year-old native Jake Numanga to serenade we new arrivals to Rarotonga from atop the baggage carousel. And there he stayed and played until the last people (we) left the airport.
We’ve traveled quite a bit, arrived and passed through so many airports, and this was a first. I was intrigued, and asked others about him during our stay. Some refer to him as “Uncle” and say that no matter what time of the day or night, he can be found at the airport welcoming and bidding farewell to visitors, and that he’s done it for as long as they can remember.
Jake was kind enough to talk with me before we boarded our flight back to the U.S.