It’s All Relative

Compared with the Marquesas, and even sleepy Ra’iatea,  Mo’orea feels positively metropolitan. Our first attempt to go to the beach took us through a hotel compound of bungalows and paved paths, a restaurant by the water, a place to rent kayaks, a dive center, etc. Dani (who has certainly been spoiled by his first taste of a Pacific Island beach in the Marquesas) had an almost violent reaction to the level of development. You may judge for yourselves, however, just how bad it was (that’s the four of us in the center):

Les Tipaniers

Maybe 20 people on the beach, 5 in the water, and another 10 sitting at the restaurant or wandering around – not exactly Wingaersheek on a July weekend…

There was, however, quite a lot of activity in the water. The wind was high and there were some astonishingly acrobatic kite-surfers flying around the lagoon and leaping over the dock, which was amazing. Dani, Matiu, and Abraham took a couple of kayaks and set off down the lagoon.

boys in kayaks

They were headed downwind and it occurred to me that they might have some difficulty returning. Indeed, in almost no time we lost sight of them. So Seven jumped into a kayak and set off in pursuit. About an hour later they reappeared, trudging through the lagoon, dragging their kayaks behind them.

This question of access to the beaches is interesting. We have been told twice by locals that you can just go into the big hotels and go to their beaches, but the larger hotels are obviously trying to stop people from doing this because they’re gated. We made an experiment along these lines the other day and were instantly stopped by the guard who asked Seven where he was going. I then got out on my side of the car (I don’t think the guard could see me; I was in the back seat on the opposite side) and spoke to him in French:

Was there a beach?

It was not public; there was a public beach down the road.

Was there a restaurant at the hotel?

Yes.

Then we would go to the other beach and come back to the restaurant later.

It’s funny about these encounters, I never know exactly how much they are genuinely charged and how much I am bringing to them in the way of expectation. But I certainly did get an adrenalin surge, or, to put it another way, it didn’t feel very friendly. From there we made our way to the public beach which was full of picnicking Tahitians (a little bit more of the Wingaersheek feel). That has its own challenge in a way. As Abraham noted, our local cred is better when we have Seven with us. (Matiu, who is the brownest of our children, is rapidly darkening in this sun and will pass for local pretty soon).

Finally, a nice shot of fish from off the dock somewhere…

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7 Comments

Filed under adventure, expedition, Oceania, Pacific Islands, Polynesia, Society Islands, South Pacific, Tahiti, travel

7 responses to “It’s All Relative

  1. Judith Larsen

    Oh thank you Christina for blogging away to your friends. This is even better than reading a novel! Peik and I have set out on the first of our slightly less exotic New England summer trips and downloaded your blog for out loud entertainment. You have us laughing hysterically and practically crashing as Peik (designated driver) has to see the pictures. This last shot of the fish was clearly lifted directly from his paintings. Can you shoot more fish for him? This is all for now on the iPhone but keep up the journal writing and shooting. I’m going to connect a few friends to this site who read and loved your book. Can I do the t-shirts for your next book? Nice Kisik cover image! Seven packing one pair of shorts says it all. xxxx Judith

  2. From there we made our way to the pubic beach

    think you got a TYPO here….as your mainland copy editor, I should bring this to your atencion…

    Hasta manana,

    emmanuel

  3. Gail Cohen

    Seven saves the day! (kayak rescue)

  4. Joel Freedman

    Hey! Did you guys get to see the solar eclipse yesterday (today?) that was visible in Tahiti (98% complete in Moorea)???
    Joel

    http://en.tahitipresse.pf/2010/07/thousands-watch-solar-eclipse-in-french-polynesia/

  5. Alex S.

    A dose of adrenalin and charge is A-OK unless, of course, you socked the guy one, even then…. Sometimes the issue of private vs. public beaches raises my hackles. It wouldn’t be so bad but then communities get to the point where there’s little or if any public access to beaches.

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