Sunday, 6 October 2013

Wed morning leaving Tahuata

The usual early wake, repack, and Joelle is outside waiting to drive us back to her house. Breakfast of fresh baked that morning long bread sticks, the largest ever avocados I have seen, more of her brilliant confiture (a blend of guava, lemon peel, vanilla bean grown in the Marquesas, and I have forgotten what else), small sweet bananas of course, and Nescafe coffee. Other foods on the table included pot of peanut butter branded Skippy. This is typical, comfortable, talkative, and relaxed for everyone except Joelle who is trying to get eldest son (named east wind in Marquesan possibly aged about 8yrs) to eat his breakfast and get ready for school. Just like Mums all over the world. Eventually she and I take him to school. Back at the house another man has arrived to help Philip fix the outboard motor so we can get to the yacht in the dinghy. Joelle takes me up into the back of their lush property where we pick limes from the mother of all such bearing trees, smallish tree but loaded, and spiky. She has developed a drop pocket gadget at the end of a pole that you can insert into the vegetation and pull off each lime without being attacked by the tree. We filled a bag that turned out to be part of their farewell gift for us. Next we went up into another part of the garden where she was growing cucumbers, and endless bushes of a type of basil. Here she cut off the purple flowering heads. Down at the house I then had a demonstration and actually made my own parting floral necklace interspersing the basil flowers with long sections of complex creamy white/yellow flowers. Felt immensely privileged. She packed a box with avocados, grapefruit with a new pot of guava chutney. We packed many cars. Farewells were made to host Kiki and his 64 year old friend they wanted to marry me to (who is rich and has lots of pigs) - cant believe I almost went to write that here in my pigeon French rather than in English. Have had to speak so much French that sometimes I respond to English speakers in French. Of course my ability is dreadful, but I can be understood and can find ways to understand people who have no English. So parting from that wonderful and generous family was a bitter sweet moment. And I was the first tourist they had really met in this sort of way. I am immensely grateful for Philip talking his way into this. I know it has been a good and new experience for him as well. He hadn't known the people until the morning before he met me, so a great achievement all round.

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