Friday, July 24, 2009

Running Off to Tahiti

How often have you heard that?

"I'm done with this crap, I'm running off to Tahiti."

Well, I was done with this crap, so I ran off to Tahiti - and Moorea and Bora Bora. It turns out that all the things we've heard about exotic, faraway French Polynesia were all true. All of it. Exotic. Really far away. And stunningly, heartstoppingly beautiful.

I mean REALLY. It even sounds exotic, doesn't it? Moorea (pronounced Mo-orea, you gotta get that little stutter-step in there). Bora Bora - sounds like there might be cannibals, right
? Oh, no, quite civilized, actually.

My wife, Deb and I left from Philadelphia. Once we discovered there were no non-stop or direct flights from Philadelphia to Tahiti (Geez!) we decided to break the long trip up a little by stopping off in Los Angeles for a night before continuing on. That really made a lot of difference because we weren't all grouchy and poopy when we arrived. We remembered how tired we were the first couple of days in China and 'tired' is no fun.

Take a look on the map, French Polynesia is between South America and Australia, but it isn't really NEAR anything. It's in the South Pacific. As in South Pacific! As in Bali Hai. As in Mitzi Gaynor and Rossano Brazzi who may have been related to Luca Brasi famous for telling the Godfather "And may their first child be a masculine child." And when you see Mount Otemanu on Bora Bora, that Bali Hai song keeps popping into your head.

We didn't spend much time on Tahiti itself, it's become a little TOO popular. Modern, a lot of traffic, certainly still gorgeous, but we wanted to get off to the other islands. I mean, look at this photograph, how long could you stay in this squalor?

That's Moorea, off on the horizon, by the way, described by some as the most beautiful place EVER. I don't know if it's the MOST beautiful, but it's sure up there in the rankings. It only takes a few minutes to fly to Moorea from Tahiti, there are ferrys as well, but once you're in Polynesia, all the security crap is suspended, you just get on the plane. What a relief, it was just like the old days before those imbecilic morons made us go through a bunch of useless security checks. Someone should add up all the wasted time and energy and charge them for it. "Hey, doofus, about those oil reserves. . ."

Doofus - definition:
Someone without a clue, living in total ignorance of the world, fashion, personal hygiene and social skills. From German doof meaning a stupid, jugheaded fool.

But I digress.

As you can see from the map to the right, this batch of islands are part of the Society Islands. Betcha didn't know that! Perhaps they should have named them the Eyewateringly Beautiful Islands, that would have made more sense.

In Moorea, we stayed at the Sofitel, which was very nice, but the highlight of this island was one of those happy accidents. We had intended to take a bus tour of the island and see all the highpoints and OOO and AHH, but there were so few people there even though this was high season, that they canceled the bus for lack of riders.

So, we rented a car and drove ourselves. THAT was great, we could stop whenever and wherever we wanted to, stay as long as we wanted. . . we should have thought of that ourselves.

Here's the Sofitel, which we found out later was the hotel Mel Gibson stayed in when they were filming
The Bounty there. Marlon Brando also filmed his Mutiny on the Bounty at Moorea, but I don't know where he stayed. He didn't tell me.

Here's Cook's Bay, presumably where Captain Cook landed (not Captain Hook, that's a different guy).

This is just across from the fields that Warren Beatty and Annette Benning ran across near the end of Love Affair. That was where he met her by the way.

Here's Deb on the top of the mountain, with Cook's Bay behind her. Notice she has a flower in her hair. She had a flower in her hair pretty much the whole time we were there. I stuck one into my ear, but it kept falling out.

All of this was merely a prelude, however, because we were going on - on to Bora Bora.