August 25th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Papeete market

Once again Val + I set out on a small expedition this morning.  Dave was busy yet again – yesterday he’d gone to see the “Bounty”, a big freighter of the Tahiti line, off to New Zealand in a day or two, to see if he could go along as a passenger, but he’d walked a long way + received no good news for his pains.  However, persistence itself, he was off again today.  As for Val + I, we had the vague idea of hitching all the way round the island, tho’ we weren’t by any means dogmatic about it, + would take things as they came.  A short, but very hot, walk brought us to the place to begin hitching eastward out of town, + we soon got a lift – hitching here is as easy as anywhere I’ve ever known.  The guy was very friendly, a French art teacher, + he dropped us off outside the Taharai hotel, one of the most luxurious on the island, so we took the opportunity to go in + look round.  It certainly was very nice, + had a spectacular view over the cliff down into sparkling blue water + forests of coral.

However, back to hitching, which took a little longer than usual, + where, unfortunately, we couldn’t get out of the sun, so we almost fried.  However, a ride in the back of a pick-up truck took us a short distance to Point Venus, where we decided to go for a swim.  Very pleasant it was, + I was even able to enjoy myself in the water, since I’d found a soccer ball on our walk out of town, + tho’ I couldn’t play with Val, since one of us had to look after the gear, I was able to amuse myself with a little game – I really enjoy playing in the water.  After our swim, we had an ice-cream, then discovered it was 12 o’clock, + as it was hot, + we were tired, + weren’t very far round, we decided to thumb back.  First tho’ we had a fabulous lunch of fresh cold milk + fresh crisp biscuits.

We were very fortunate, + got a lift back with a very nice French lady + her children, who took us off the road to see the tomb of Pomare V, the last king of Tahiti, + then, even better, offered to take us to see one of the waterfalls on the island tomorrow.  Naturally we accepted… immediately.

Arrived back at camp at a good hour, + spent a couple of hours playing, kicking the ball around, + throwing a Frisbee.  Good fun, until the Frisbee lodged in a tree.  It was only after we’d thrown the ball at it several times to attempt to dislodge it that we discovered there was also a wasp’s nest there.  A number of angry wasps appeared, + one of them gave me a powerful bite – like a hard, sharp blow it was, as tho’ I’d been struck by a small stone.  Fortunately, tho’, my body didn’t react too badly to it, + the pain soon went away.  However, end of the game.

Val + I bought the provisions for the evening – we were attempting our most ambitious meal yet: shepherd’s pie with cabbage.  What’s more, Russ had supplied wholemeal bread + cheese, + we had some wine, so the meal was prolonged even more than usual.  We also had more than ever people gathered around – Kent, a New Zealander, Chris, a Texan.  However, the meal was a huge success – it was totally delicious + very filling.  (My mouth waters even now just to think of it.)  Afterwards, a lively discussion of the political/philosophical kind, with Kent attacking Britain and/or defending America.  Later, tho’, Kent seriously damaged his toe – fortunately for him, Chris was alert enough + concerned enough to play doctor.  The evening finished with a huge game of yum, the loser to do the washing-up.  Unfortunately for him, Chris again, a total newcomer to the game, lost.  After that, general dispersal.  We dropped another bottle of wine outside Tom’s tent, it being his birthday tomorrow.

I think it was a hornet rather than a wasp, and I can still recall one angry beast hurtling from the tree and straight at me, almost cartoon-style. Other than that, more low-level, and necessarily cheap or free, tourism. Good that Dave is so determined to fins a boat, bad that all his efforts are getting him nowhere. No idea how I managed to cook shepherd’s pie without an oven, but delighted that it was such a success (and it’s still one of my favourite meals.)

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