Saturday, 12 October 2013
Final visit to Papeete, Tahiti
On arrival in Tahiti, stored my suitcase at the airport, grabbed a taxi and popped into Papeete. Principally in search of clip-on French Polynesia’s pearl earrings. First place, perfect set (and duty free made them even more perfect). On way to pearl market had noticed a street of fabric shops. Wanted to buy every roll with all their patterns, but settled on one to make a pareo (sarong). So much wonderful choice. Hibiscus flowers predominated whether symbolically stylised or more naturalistic. I settled instead on a more geometric find, not geometric like Marquesan tattoos but making me remember them. The landmark Cathedral was suddenly before me. Nothing to write home about architecturally. It was a useful break because I could sort out my bag and remaining francs. It also gave me physical and mental space to work out where I was and where I might go next. Outside it was simply too stimulating to think clearly. Then I found a busy street corner with a restaurant where I could buy refreshing jus de pamplemosse, and then watch the slim, elegant, urbane yet casual French local women walking away at the end of their working day. After quite a while and the walkers had thinned out, and watching cars held no interest, I wandered down to the water front, found a brasserie on the side walk. While enjoying a cold beer, the sun set majestically over the water with the rim of the reefs in the distance. All around me were elegant French men having end of day drinks. Very civilised. The street lights were on and it was time to find the food vans. Eventually made a choice and enjoyed a Mahi-Mahi with Tofu. Silken tofu slipped down interspersed with prawns and chicken pieces in a slightly chillied sauce. Was joined by a couple from Kobe who had no French at all. This was a shock. Tried to gather my thoughts and find some memories of my limited Japanese language. Thankfully the woman had sufficient English for us all to be able to communicate. Had one last look around and grabbed a taxi to return to the airport. Collected my case, brushed my teeth, washed my face and felt so much better. Water is such an amazing thing.