The number one reason I wanted to go to Tahiti was obviously for the scenery. The land that inspired Gaugin to live out his dying days banging and painting exotic women in unimaginably beautiful scenery put French Polynesia on my list of places I want to see before I die.
The second thing that made me want to come to Tahiti was well…much to the dismay of my other European friends I love the French language and the culture. Delicious meals that border on art served with a nice glass of wine – I can’t think of a better start to the evening. And knowing I would be spending a month suffering through my butchered Spanish and incoherent Portuguese, being able to communicate without a translator would be a breath of fresh air.
The third thing that brought me to Tahiti/Moorea was the fact that flying directly from South America to New Zealand would cost the same as flying from Brazil to LA with a 5 day layover in Moorea including hotel to a final destination of Auckland. So obviously, why the hell not.
Tahiti is sort of like a gay man’s “beard”. A beautiful woman, and you can look at her all day and night, and all your friends will be jealous you’re with her, but when it boils down to it there’s nothing you can do with her at night. Unless you’re on a honeymoon then its a completely different story.
I will in no way contest that Tahiti is by far the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. I love Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tower in reality is amazing. Going through Tokyo seeing all the lights flash before your eyes you’ll feel like you’re in a dream. But arriving in Tahiti, the second you look at the water and the scenery it’s hard to conceive that colors and landscapes this beautiful can exist in real life. No instagram filter needed.
As soon as we arrived we took the fast ferry to Moorea an island 45 minutes away from the main island of Tahiti. The large boat cruised over water so clear and blue, even professional photographs barely begin to give it justice. In the distance we could see the mountains and hills of Moorea whose deep greens contrasted beautifully with the crystal waters and it’s hard not to feel simultaneously poetic and verbally inadequate in trying to describe its beauty.
Upon arrival at the beautiful and quaint Hibiscus Hotel the first line of duty after marveling at the thatched roof bungalow we would be staying in, was to get ourselves to the beach.
I have never felt sand so soft, and felt water so still and warm. I wanted to just float on my back all day and stare at the sun. But as I would later learn, sitting in the refreshing waters all morning, relaxing, reading a book and tanning with your top off makes for a very uncomfortable situation. (Note to readers: If your top half has not seen the light of day since you were in Ibiza 4 years ago, use more sunscreen than you do on the rest of your body) I will admit the presence of clusters of seaweed and sighting of small fish did creep me out a bit since I have a phobia of stepping on something in the ocean and being attacked, but the fact that you could see straight down to the bottom of the sand from any depth where you could stand did ease my nerves. And the much appreciated acquired skill of floating I learned from Lianne in Rio didn’t hurt either.
After that, it was onward to a nice dinner of steak with foie gras and a bottle of wine….and then we left the restaurant and it was pitch black out. There was not a human sound was to be heard and not a light was on in “le petit village.” And it was only about 9:30pm.
Having nothing to do and being slightly jetlagged we headed to bed, only to be awakened throughout the night by the constant sound of chickens squawking roosters crowing (apparently that doesn’t only happen at day break) and the calls of a myriad of other birds mother nature had let loose to prevent a restful night’s sleep.
And that ladies and gents pretty much summed up my entire time on Moorea. Wake up. Tan. Eat a lunch of ramen (food is pretty expensive on the islands). Read a book at the beach or pool. Eat a nice dinner. Sleep.
The only exception was one day we signed up for a boat tour of the island during which we got to go dolphin watching. Which is a lot like watching people run from end to end of a boat to take pictures of nothing.
And remember I said earlier about how I freak out about stepping on something in the water? Cool. Well the other major component of the tour was swimming with sharks and rays. Now imagine me being told to jump off a boat in to ray and shark infested waters. Exactly. Last time I let Mark book the activity without me reading it over.
But guess what? I did it. And this is why – despite the fact that there was a boat of Japanese tourists ahead of us (half the people – twice the cameras) that was already in the water screaming like they were actually being attacked by the sharks, I knew this was a popular tourist trip that was probably done countless times without incident. If there was any risk of danger I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t just let a bunch of French vacationers jump into the water and become shark bait. So I reasoned that the fear was psychological and I was at no risk and jumped in. And as soon as I did a ray brushed arm and I screamed like a little bitch.
After the initial shock however, I started getting used to the slimy, pricklyness of the rays as they would maneuver in and out of the screaming tourists. After all they were only trying to get to the food the guide was giving them and maybe scare the shit out of the women who promptly grabbed onto their husbands. Guys – great date idea: take you girl swimming with the rays. Not only will she be in her bathing suit grabbing onto your muscular physique for dear life, but the body chemicals behind fear and sexual arousal are the same or similar, so there you go. Thank me later.
After that it was onto the BBQ where we learned how to tie a pare0, make Poisson cru and open a coconut using only a stick. I guess this is what typical Tahitian’s do for fun? Either way…good times!
The next afternoon on the way back to the airport we ran into an awesome couple from Texas that we had met on the boat trip. They told us instead of sitting at the airport waiting for our flight for 11 hours we should come with them and check out the roulottes which is basically a food truck convention that combines Tahitian, French and Chinese food into one. Obviously sold. And the food was delicious. Thank you Texans!
So in conclusion, Moorea or the Tahitian Islands in general are beautiful. There no shortage of picture perfect moments and views that will take your breath away. Would I go there again? Yes. Under certain conditions. One being that I was in the process of a mental breakdown and needed somewhere to sit in isolation and clear my head but still needed to eat good, albeit expensive food. The other being if I was on my honeymoon or with someone I really liked – and if I’m getting married or actually capable of really liking someone, I probably also had a mental breakdown.