Lind Cribs Medoles in the Sind

Trip Start Sep 17, 2012
Trip End Nov 11, 2012

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Flag of French Polynesia  , Society Islands,
Saturday, October 6, 2012

After five days at sea, waking up around 9am, spending an hour or so at the comedy brunch, and then passing the day doing pretty much nothing special, today we had to be ready to join our tour of Papeete, Tahiti at 8:30am. It was a great sense of accomplishment when we made it to the departure lounge with minutes to spare.

We headed ashore, met up with our tour guide, Bertrand and rode off to explore this little island in the middle of the Pacific. The city of Papeete has a population of just over 25,000, and looks pretty much like the average small city you'd find in Mexico or the Caribbean. The one noticeable difference is that the signs are in a combination of French and Tahitian. The buildings are mostly square concrete buildings, with the exception of the city hall and municipal offices which are built on a large lot, configured to look like a "typical" village of grass huts. You can’t miss the huge properties on the outskirts of Papeete, once home to 5-star hotels like Hyatt and Sheraton, which are now abandoned and rotting away.

Our first stop on our tour was at Marae’Arahurahu, a sacred ground where Funerals, Baptisms, and other important religious ceremonies used to take place. The park is filled with dozens of fruit trees and other plants, including pink pineapple, apple bananas, and breadfruit. We wandered the area, avoiding the sacred areas and spears of the locals (no, I’m not kidding), and listening to our guide who was constantly interrupted by a very annoying member of our group who was extremely excited to let us all know that the Red Ti plant is part of the Camillia family.

Our next stop was Mara’a Caves. The caves have large pools of water which Tahitians used to use for bathing. In the late 1800’s, the artist Paul Gaughin used to bathe here also. However, he had syphilis so when the locals saw him coming they would all leave the pool.

We made a couple of short stops at beautiful gardens and beaches before heading off to lunch, followed by the Gaughin museum. Unfortunately, due to threats by disgruntled employees to destroy the originals, the owners of the paintings have returned the art to their own private collections. Now the Gaughin museum only houses replicas. As a result, fewer and fewer people visit and the museum is falling into disrepair.

Our afternoon drive continued around the island and included a short hike through the woods to a waterfall and several historical beaches, such as where Captain Bligh misjudged the winds and almost wrecked the Bounty, and where Captain Cook landed in the late 1700’s.

We were not really impressed with the island of Tahiti Nui (Big Tahiti) and its biggest city, Papeete. Signs of poverty and neglect are everywhere. Many city halls are run down and often appear abandoned. We were told that political corruption is the norm and the people feel as they’ve been abandoned by France, “the Motherland”. Things here are extremely expensive. One crewmember told us that she went to Macdonalds with 4 friends and they paid over $100 for 5 burgers and 5 soft drinks. On the other hand, fresh fruit grows wild everywhere and fish are plentiful, so no one is starving.

Check out the pictures. There’s some great scenery as well as some pictures of fish, including parrotfish, swimming in the shallow waters near the shore.

I’m sitting here on the Lido deck typing this blog. Behind me are 2 comedians from Australia, who came on board today to entertain us. I just realized I can’t understand a word they’re saying.  Today, Annette asked our guide a question in French and before she got 3 words out of her mouth he said, “You must be from Quebec!”  While he understood Quebec French and we understood Parisian French, in many cases getting used to a new accent is like learning a whole new language.  On board the ship, the crew comes from over 50 different countries, each with its own unique, and often heavy accent. Conversations are often challenging, but in the end, everyone understands each other. While walking on a beach next to a gentleman from New Zealand, we overheard him say to his wife “Look, lind cribs medoles in the sind!” Translation: “Look, land crabs made holes in the sand.”


Peter & Annette

Did you hear about the fire at the circus? It was intense. (if you don’t get this right away, say it out loud and think about it)
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