Things we never knew about French Polynesia
Papetoai, French Polynesia
There are discoveries about places that are not in any guide books, finding out about them brings a strange sense of satisfaction, like the one you get understanding a clue during a treasure hunt.
Here are 7 things we learned about Tahiti and Moorea
1. Most Polynesian women, the vahine, really walk around all day with a lovely flower tucked behind their ear, on the left to show that they are married, on the right to show that they are free. How handy for the boys...
2. The coconut crabs' livers are so big and so engorged with coconut that you can eat them like a kind of white foie gras, cooked on a bit of bread...yum should be on the list of one hundred things to eat before you die.
3.Still on the food, you can have raw fish for lunch every day and never get sick wheras a miserable ham sandwich will immobilise you between a toilet and a bucket for two days ... Luckily, Maxim and Callum were there to look after both of us....
4. The benevolent wild dogs who roam the local beaches look so well feed because they go fishing on the lagoon at low tide. They also hunt for crabs under any stone they can find. It is as if they were walking on the water at dusk. This puts a new spin to the dog's dinner..they also go for chickens
5. It is not only a paradise for humans, superb roosters and chicken occupy gardens and forest and nobody, nobody can ever find their eggs. Okay maybe the dogs...They can jump high up in trees (because of the dogs) and their secret personal pleasure is to gather and wake up tourists with their very own brand of "cocorico" early in the morning.
6. The coconut trees bend over lagoons not to look as photogenic as possible but to get as much light as possible from the sun reflecting on the water (that is also how you get sunburn) (no, not us, just the freshly arrived french tourists before they got devored by the moustiques as they are trying to fall back asleep at dawn)
7. The affectionate name the tahitians have for white sun burned sleep deprived, moustiques bitten people, popee, means burned, or cooked. Yum, I can hear the moustiques say, as they zoom around poised for their relentless hunt in the early hour of the morning as the roosters sing, here come a barbi...
We are all packed and ready to go, but Tahiti and Moorea will stay in our mind for a life time. It will be a very sad day for the moustiques in our fare, no more Callum no more Paul to savour...
We thought our place by the beach in Tahiti was pretty good until we took the ferry and the truck (that how they call the local bus) to Moorea. Our dark and high roofed fare (hut) was full of very hungry moustiques waiting for the next herd of tourists to devore. Why stay there when the type of beach we had only seen in magazines so far was lying there, waiting for us at the back of the hotel...
In the crystal hours of the morning, it is as if somebody from above had thrown a palet of blue paints in the water, or as if we had been plunged in a photoshoped magazine picture.
It was all there, all what we had imagined of french polynesia. The photogenic coconut tree bending over the turquoise lagoon was there, I spend three days in its generous shade. The jetty covered in nightly star was there, from which to admire the beach and the sunset,with even a manta ray swimming between the fishes. The little bar over the lagoon was there, where we could sit in the shade lips on an ice cold beer, eyes on the kids swimming with the fishes. The coconuts were there, offered by a smiling vahine with a flower in her hair (on the right) and cut for us by the waitress armed with a big efficient looking machete (we made sure all our bills were paid after that). There were the hunting dogs, the singing roosters and the plates of raw fish, the dramatic sunsets and the smell of the tiare flowers... All there and now, like gems in our minds to keep... It will be so hard to leave this place behind.
Our friends will be waiting at the ferry tonight, for one last meal before bringing us to the plane, they promised raw fish and local beers, we will store their kindness and hospitality in our gem box too.