Tropical Tahiti, french kissing and beer
Trip Start Sep 30, 2006
149Trip End Dec 24, 2008
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After a week of exploring the island of Tahiti we are starting to love this place. Here is some of what we have learnt. Tahiti is the name of just one island in the French Polynesia group, an area of archipelagos that could cover Europe. Tahiti is a colourful mixture of French and Polynesian cultures. The Polynesians provide the beer, turquoise sea, black pearls and the coconut. The French have brought over the chic, the seductive, topless sunbathing, souped up sexed up honeymooners and the pina colada.
Our accommodation on this paradise island is provided by couch-surfing and our experience started on the evening of the 3rd of May after a short time travel experience. Our flight left Chile on the 2nd of May and landed in New Zealand on the 4th of May, feeling a little cheated out of the 3rd. After an eight hour stopover we flew back in time to Tahiti landing on the 3rd. Still following? Vincent, the father met us at the airport armed with fresh floral necklaces and after he decorated his new house guests we drove back to the house to meet the mother Marie-Noelle (french for merry Christmas), and then pass out asleep.
Our first morning in Tahiti dawns and we get to experience the 4th of May for a second time. Marie-Noelle suggested we all visit Carrefore the local french supermarket. After seven months away from European products we get the chance to stock up on some English things. What do we come away from Carrefore clutching in our carrier bag, a packet of Darjeeling tea bags. You can take the English couple out of England but you cant take the English out of the couple.
Before lunch we pick up their two girls from school, Lily-anne (9) and Juliette (6) and go back to the house to eat. As couch-surfers we expected to receive somewhere to sleep and were very grateful to find we have our own bedroom with on-suite bathroom. The family ended up including us in every meal, their generosity was amazing. Over the week we realised we were getting an all-inclusive package of free accommodation, food and transport. Whoever said you get nothing for free these days should try couch surfing.
After lunch we all drove down to the main Tahiti marina to check out if any sail boats are heading west to Fiji and need crew. Kat and I went around sticking up our crew available notice (we typed up the one where you don't even recognise yourself), ripped down everyone elses' adverts, bothered people on their boats (and in bars) and generally made a nuisance of ourself. Marinas are small places and it shouldn't take long to find a boat.
In the afternoon we visited another French family, Fabreece, Claude and their four children. They like Vincent and Marie-Noelle have also taken a four year work period in tropical France. Fabreece is a captain in the French navy. He works patrolling the controversial atolls where the French tested nuclear bombs. His English is good and we sit outside chatting while he chain smokes Marlboro and insists we drink several beers. He turns out to be hilarious and decides on our first night in Tahiti we experience a proper Polynesian evening. The 12 of us spend the rest of the evening drinking larger and eating Pizza.
The next day dawns and its back to the marina to check our notices are still up and to see if anyone has emailed. In the evening another family turn up for dinner. We are introduced to Patrick and Katrine and their daughter Anna-marie. During dinner we give the French small English lessons. We teach the children about the knife and fork but soon drop the lesson when we realise their French accent turns it into knife and fuck. We tell Marie-Noelle we like to cook and she announces to us "my chicken is your chicken".
Sunday is officially beach day. The beach is called PK18. On the beach we meet up with Fabreece and family, Katrine and family and a Polynesian called Jimmy who is on the beach with his wife, kids, sister, aunts and uncle. He is like most Polynesian men, drunk on the weekend, sensing a party is gathering he nips off and comes back with a crate of beer. He is very generous and makes sure no-one goes without a beer. It gets dark and there is no light so someone builds a fire. We use the light to scramble around looking for flip-flops and bags. On the way back to the car Vincent throws up and somehow Kat and I end up in the back of Febreeces people carrier with seven other kids squashed into every corner. Febreece drives and starts to claim the more beer he drinks the better his English becomes, I realise with some horror a captain of the French navy has drunk six pints of larger and is now driving us home.
The working week begins and we settle into a routine of hitchhiking down to the marina to hang out for the morning and then go to the beach in the afternoon to snorkel and play with the girls. Thursday will signify the end of the week of our couch-surfing, still no sign of a sailboat, and so on Wednesday Kat and I offer to cook the family an English meal to say thank you. We buy everyone a gift and give a little speech about what an awesome time we have had. On Thursday morning we go back to the marina and notice someone has torn off one of the email addresses from the marinas laundrette! Then with all the luck in the world the guy who took our email is standing behind us in the laundrette and this is how we met Arslan.
Arslan, pronounced like the lion in the Narnia book, is the captain of a 18 month old Bavaria 42ft yacht heading to Fiji. We have a beer with him on-board talk about what each of us wants and an hour later we are the new crew! Good timing!
Love Dan & Kat