Wednesday, 8 October 2014

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Saturday, 12 October 2013

Finally at home

I am pleased to be home. Now comes the time to reflect on and digest all I have seen and learnt. Despite a great sleep last night in my own bed, my head is still scrambled with too much yet to be sorted. It was great today, to walk around my house in the grey dawn - seeing all the apple and cherry blossoms, seeing the new first leaves of the persimmon, realising some of my mulching straw had been blown who knows where, and seeing the healthy sprouting of weeds everywhere. Two weeks and ... this is how nature works. And now already its two days since I left the Marquesas. Life moves on.

A successful venture

Nuku Hiva resident of 19 years, Philip Beardmore’s delivery on my request for an authentic and real experience was of a very high order. He went out of his way to make contact with people and to make connections which led to my immersion in families as they lived their daily normal lives. What I experienced and learnt from him and everyone I met was profoundly rich, sometimes personally challenging but always personally enriching. From time to time I was way out of my comfort zone, but I now know more about myself as a result, and that has to be a good thing. All my expectations and much more have been achieved and all souvenirs and gifts have been purchased. Now I am ready to come home.

After a while ‘le pain’ can be a pain.

Will be glad that French breadsticks will be a thing of the past when I get onto this flight to Auckland. All that bread is so unmanageable and barely digestible for my digestive system.

Arrival and departure times and floral necklaces

Sitting under a ceiling fan at Faaa, Tahiti’s airport, I will stay here for the next 2 hours until my check-in opens. My flight leaves at 20 after midnight. If we think Tassie is marginalised or held to ransom by airlines, Tahiti has drawn an even shorter straw. This is how it is here. Back when I arrived, I felt somewhat sad that no-one was meeting me with a floral necklace. But that sadness was lost when Joelle gave me the largest fattest most important (because of the main choice of flower used, the value of which I only learnt about later) floral garland when I arrived on the island of Tahuata. But back here in the Tahiti airport I discovered an undercover open building slightly across from the main entrance, where dozens of woman sat with mounds of garlands and seed and shell necklaces waiting to sell them. Strongly fragrant white coloured tiara and p???? (must find out how to spell that important flower) flower garlands were everywhere. So simply seeing this set up, was a pleasure. Felicity, I couldn’t help drawing a parallel between these woman and those sitting on the edge of the Ganges at Varanasi and Patna selling their rich yellow floral necklaces.

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.


Manioc was one on the foods on Yvonne’s restaurant mixed ‘Gastronomique’ plate on Wednesday. This is a yellowish root vegetable which has much the texture of softly almost mushily cooked potato. Excellent eating. My gut feeling is that this is the same as what we called Cassava when we grew it in Darwin John??? When I looked at it growing, the plant had the same spreading leaves. More research required.