Fri 11 Apr 2014 05:26
Andrew and I are spending a week in Tahiti off the boat spending some quiet time allocating all the hundreds of memories of the magical places we have seen. I'd hate to forget one moment and seeing as I can't remember where my glasses are I need to work on it.
Having driven around Tahiti we realise what an extraordinary and unique place the Marqueses are, Tahiti has clearly been going down hill ever since Fletcher Christian arrived. Unlike the Marqueses where man and landscape blend perfectly and the habitation is in complete harmony, beautifully tended, on Tahiti everything man has created is ugly and decrepit concrete buildings, rusting factories and car lots, hoardings and peeling adverts. Graffitti covers every square inch, usually a sign of a discontented society. Certainly our hotel which was glorious once is peeling and our bungalow has giant wood worm. The natural parts are still beautiful, the lagoon, the surf, mountains and reef.
Looking across at Moorea from Tahiti at sunset.
We explored Nuku Hiva before we left, it is immense with ginormous mountains in fact the road to the only flat bit, the air strip in the north, was a switch back road of a life time, even Andrew was white knuckled in the front with our Schumacher taxi driver grinning.
….he actually raced round blind bends on the wrong side of the road not just once but every time, we met 2 cars coming the other way !
We also explored the ancient capital of Nuku Hiva with it's stone foundations and the central sacred banyan tree.
…………..not only did they sit around it to discuss the weather but buried their dead within the roots……and also kept tomorrow's lunch imprisoned inside. Together with eating people they used female infanticide as a form of contraception after the population exploded. Evidently the first born son was a warrior and it was a great honour for the second son to be brought up as a girl to perform all the domestic tasks, I presume in those days their bits were chopped off so they didn't stray from the kitchen sink. Interestingly this tradition is the one that has survived, there are lots of Polynesian transvestites, many working in service in restaurants. They are elegant and very graceful, it does get confusing when you hand back the menu and say "Merci m…….." not being sure whether its monsieur or madam. The culinary customs were wiped out when the catholic missionaries arrived and told them to put something else on and to stop eating their neighbours. The same westerners decimated the local population with their diseases and imported domestic animals to eat. The chickens have no predators and the place is over run with them, in fact the one sound that will always evoke the Marqueses is cock a doodle do.
Another sight to behold is a near naked tattooed man cantering bare back along the Garden of Eden pathways both horse and man gleaming with sweat….calm down now…..
We have used our time in Tahiti to obtain our PADI diving certificates, each day we have done 2 dives and tomorrow is the last one , apparently along the Vallee Blanche with sharks eeeeeeks. Today we dived the cliffside of the outer reef, I hardly dared look down as it appeared bottomless. Lovely fish but just managing to swim straight and breath was just about all I could do. Meanwhile we are now e learning all about pressure, volume and bars and stuff I hope I'll regurgitate it all at tomorrow's exam.
Then back to Hebe on Saturday with Sophie on Rangarua. Whooppee.