So here we are in Rarotonga.

Seven days of midwinter rest and relaxation in the warmth of a South Pacific paradise are ahead of us.

And things have started well.

We've walked into the arrivals hall at the airport and there are perhaps 10 people in front of us waiting to go through immigration control. The smile on my face is quickly wiped as Mrs P decides she needs to go to the loo before we join the queue.


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And, as I'm sure you may have experienced yourself, by the time she has powdered her nose the plane behind us on the tarmac has emptied and we are now standing behind 297 people who have formed a queue ahead of us.

And it's one of those snake queues they do when space is at a premium. You know what I mean. You go up and down like you are in a maze.

I'm sure it is designed to confuse and disorientate you so when they ask if you are bringing anything illegal into the country you will blurt out: "Yes, I'm carrying 10 kilos of drugs and a bottle of gin for my mum".

Downtown Avarua in Rarotonga. Getty Images
Downtown Avarua in Rarotonga. Getty Images

Luckily, in our queue we have a delightful child who very quickly becomes bored and proceeds to scream the place down. And as we go up and down he's in my right ear then my left. Constantly screaming: "Muuummmm!!!!".

So obviously, by the time we get through all the officialdom and get out into the car park to pick up our rental car, we are a bit frazzled.

And obviously, because its the islands, things are a bit laid back.

There was no sign with our name on it attached to the rear vision mirror as promised but the keys were in it and it was where they said it would be. And the email we had said there was no rush. We could go in tomorrow and fix up all the paperwork.

Next day, everyday stresses disappearing and amiable attitudes creeping in, I left Mrs P in the parked car and dutifully went to put pen to paper. Or at least try to.


"That's not our car," said the lady at the rental car company which, for this story, we'll call Company 1.

So now I've got a problem. I've got a car that belongs to someone who is missing one and they are likely to be a bit peeved seeing as I've had it about 24 hours.

"Try the rental company next door," said the lady. "I think it might be theirs".

Luckily I'd parked outside Company 2 and in the short walk to their office the absurdity of the situation swept over me.

Oh well, I'd explain it as a simple mistake. I was sure they'd see the funny side of it. At least I hoped they would.

"Hello," I said to the young girl behind the counter as I walked in. "I think I've stolen one of your cars".

The girl looked up from her cellphone as I launched into the story but out the back across a small courtyard was a giant who, I presume, was their mechanic, who had heard only the words "stolen one of your cars" and was now lumbering towards the office to investigate.

Luckily the girl was up to the task administratively and sorted it out in seconds.

With the giant by that stage at the rear door to the office I didn't feel like explaining it all again to someone who looked like he may not be as understanding so shot out the front door, crossed the road and opened the car door to find Mrs P rummaging through her bag.

"Quick," I said. "Just grab your stuff and let's go".

Now, in the movies, when a complete stranger comes up to another complete stranger and says something like "I need you to trust me and come with me now", they just go.

Inevitably they'll be chased by would-be assassins, shot at by corrupt police and spend the night in a seedy motel but the fact is they just do it. They go. And worry about the consequences later.

Mrs P, who has known me for years and, as far as I'm aware, never been involved in a high speed chase with assassins or corrupt police, wanted to debate the matter.

And all the while there is a giant mechanic wondering what on earth is going on inching ever closer.

After what seemed like an age Mrs P grumpily got her stuff together - how is it women can carry so much stuff in a bag and spread it throughout a car in five minutes? - we left the car and high-tailed it back to Company 1 and a new hire car.

Eventually, as we drove along, I managed to explain the whole saga to Mrs P who saw the funny side of things.

And later I managed to calm my frayed nerves too ... thanks to a bottle of gin I'd bought for my mum.

■ Kevin Page is a teller of tall tales with a firm belief too much serious news gives you frown lines. Feel free to share stories to .