Back to the yacht search. We cruised the strip, more or less taking it in turns to ask at boats where someone was on board. We reached the section where the boats are moored out, + were preparing to hail an incoming dinghy, when the people on board waved at us! It was John + Jean, our camp-fire comrades of Hiva Oa, newly arrived in Tahiti. Of course we chatted for a while, + then they offered to lend us their dinghy – a real favour, since now we could reach a no. of boats previously out of reach. Dave + Val rowed off, while I stayed behind to mind the gear. I was also able to chat with a friendly Australian guy, + glean some local information that way. Dave + Val returned with one or 2 leads. In fact, one of them sounded very promising – a ride for all 3 of us to the Solomon Islands. Unfortunately, he was planning to travel very fast, so wouldn’t see much, + even more important the word from his crew was that he was a hard bastard, + mean with it. Val + I at least have decided that we don’t want one of those sorts of trips again, so will definitely pass this one up. In fact, we are both lukewarm about the idea of getting on a yacht again. A natural reaction, I suppose – we’ve also been given a dose of freedom again, to spend our time the way we want, + that’s hard to give up.
Lunch outside our usual supermarket, + then the bus out to Point Venus, which is the nearest thing Tahiti has to a beach. There is some sand, cleanish water, toplessness a la belle France, + that’s about it. Lacking toys – a ball, a Frisbee, a windsurfer – we could only be fairly passive. Dave + I both took quick dips in the water, + there was an impromptu percussion band with a little bit of dancing going on, but it wasn’t a great success, our visit. We visited Deliverance again, just to get a definite no to our enquiry for crew positions, then went around to the steamship offices. Val + I have decided to go to Moorea for the weekend, but want to take the boat to Bora Bora when we get back.
Shopping again – Manate asked us to cook dinner once more. We are pleased to be able to do something for him – any offer of money would upset his code of hospitality, I’m sure. Once again, the meal a real success – a stew this time, lacking only dumplings. And the usual long conversation with Manate – for someone who leads a relatively uncomplicated life, he is an interesting man. It turns out he + his wife are not married yet – she’s waiting till he’s finished the house. An interesting note on their hospitality – Dave had to go into town after dinner to try to contact his parents by phone, + when that was explained Manate immediately leapt up to take him down on his scooter. Dave said no, he’d rather walk, + set off. It seemed Manate was rather upset at this, so I explained that Dave didn’t like to cause any trouble. At this, he shot off after him – he was genuinely hurt at having his offer of help rejected. The final outcome was that Dave couldn’t get through. Ah well.
Good to see old friends again, and the encouragement that they were to give us, as well as the practical support – the dinghy. But searching for boats is tiring and dispiriting. So the spot of sight-seeing that we introduced made for something of a change, even if it is just a way of delaying the inevitable. And cultural communication problems with Manate – that’s what travelling is all about.
Pamela J Blair
Yes, to the cultural exchange and learning. I one time spent ten days in the Tunisian desert with a young woman (social worker) that I met on a train, and became the talk of the village for the time I was there, hosted by the richest family in town, going to the weekly souk and clinic, talking with everyone there. It led to a story I wrote a few decades later. It happened all over, the hospitality of the poor and not-so-poor, who only wanted to meet a foreign woman, traveling alone. Those are some of the happiest memories of traveling because they changed me. Made me more trusting of people, more open, and also more grateful. I’m glad you found Manate!