Saturday, November 28, 2015

Days 132 through 134 - Journey to Moorea

When I was kayaking for a last time, I already saw the Queen's boat coming. From then on we had two or three hours left for a last swim and to pack our stuff. Since we were the last guests on the motu until April 2016, the Queen, her husband and a caretaker had to clean up everything, to barricade the sheds, and to prepare the installations for the cyclone season. As a consequence of the climate change, storms tend to increase in number and strength so that the Queen and her husband don't want to cancel reservations on short notice due to adverse weather conditions, or even to put guests at risk of being stuck at the motu.


By the way: the colors look photoshopped, but represent the true colors of the lagoon. Believe it or not.
I felt so sorry for our hosts, because they had to lift our heavy baggage into the boat and out of it again. In that heat! You really saw them struggling.

Due to the flight and ferry schedules (once per week, only this day, only that hour, too late, too early blabla), we had to spend one more night in the Queen's Garden Lodge (where we also spemt our first two nights on Aitutaki). A last time admiring the flower splendor in the big garden: hibiscus, frangipani, flamboyant, other beautiful flowers and plants, and even some pineapple plants where we could see pineapples growing. I have to admit, I have never seen something funnier and embarrassingly simple stunning thing. Embarrassing, because I eat pineapple so often, but never really could imagine their way of growing. I knew from once visiting a "Dole" pineapple plantation on Hawai'i that you put the leaves in the earth, but I still didn't get it.

After a depressing movie we saw on the computer in the evening which let me sleep badly, I was quite happy to hear the chickens and roosters crowing in the morning. Almost on time we were picked up to take us to the airport. But the airport was empty! Alright, no worries. Despite the worsening wind during the last days which made us worrying whether Air Rarotonga would fly at all, the check-in was open, more and more people arrived (most locals with 'eis) and not much later we saw our plane arriving at the airport.

This plane, by the way, was the most important one on our entire trip: If this one flight would have been canceled, we would miss the Thursday-only flight to Tahiti, and of course then also the next Tuesday-only flight to the Easter Island, and our complete trip would be ruined. So my dad was quite nervous.

A few words about the airport: at first, there's no security checks. Also when we flew from Rarotonga to Aitutaki there was none, because the flight was domestic. No, neither terrorism nor crime, they just don't have time for this, neither the reason, nor the necessity. Secondary, there's one single gate. And everyone can enter there. The gate's seating is outside. The gate literally is a gate, a fence gate.

Aitutaki's beautiful lagoon

The reef that separates the lagoon from the open sea.
The waves break here very high, but the lagoon
behind is very calm - yet windy. Ideal for sailing!

Just like paradise: over the rainbow...

Arriving in Rarotonga we had plenty of time. The first thing we did was stocking up the blog, because we had no internet all the time, and checking e-mails. For this we could use 20MB at the airport and then had to buy another few MBs until we were finished. Unfortunately it began to rain heavily, so that we had to stay some extra time until we could go to have lunch. We met a nice Swedish young woman there who stayed on Rarotonga for three months, how great is that.

The plane to Tahiti was a little delayed (no wonder in this weather), so that we arrived in Papeete, Tahiti, when it was already dark. When we came around the corner after leaving the aircraft, we were greeted by two musicians and a dancer who delighted our arrival in a Tahitian way. We were picked up soon and brought to our hotel. At the reception I had to learn that I am totally out of practice with my French. Except for bonsoir and merci I couldn't find the vocabulary, even less build a proper sentence. "How to say that again? Uuuuummm..."

Anyway, most of the people speak English very well, but what a shame. The receptionist recommended to eat at the food trucks (where we met our fellow-travelers from Rarotonga airport, the plane and even the lunch place) and it was just delicious. We had fresh fish, what could be better on an island in the heart of the Pacific?

The next morning we saw Papeete in daylight. We had an awesome French breakfast at the ferry terminal (where we met fellow-travelers from Rarotonga again) and spent 45 minutes on the upper ferry deck towards Moorea. I noticed an insignificant topless guy, but didn't give him any more attention. I say this because after half an hour I randomly looked behind me and instantly I noticed frantic gestures - the topless guy. He tried to tell me something in sign language which I didn't get. He wanted to take a picture with me - alright... For some reason, he wanted my dad to take a picture of us with our camera, which was still strange. The highlight however was that he later gave a strange note to my father. I won't tell any details here, you can ask me for it, but we were a little concerned - in particular when we later searched the Internet for his name. Strange world!

A part of Papeete

Moorea ahead

I was really happy to finally leave this ferry. Unfortunately there was no bus where it should have been and when it should have come. We waited for about 45 minutes, bought some fruit in the meantime and decided then spontaneously to rent a car, which was no bad idea concerning the cab prices, and concerning the rain that we had later. The original idea had been to take the bus to our resort and rent a scooter there.

We went shopping groceries and I felt like when I was buying my lunch in the supermarket during my language stay in southern France: Carrefour! 95% of the stuff they sell is imported from France and is extremely expensive - because Tahiti, Mo'orea and all the islands around still belong to France, the ferry also waved the French flag. The only affordable stuff is local produce like Pineapple, Bananas and fish. So we ended up with the nicest baguette since Singapore, and some macarons.

Parce que nous sommes finalement arrivés dans notre "village de vacances" où on parle français au fait, je commence à écrire en français un petit peu. Pour réanimer cette région de mon cerveau ;-) et parce que mon père ne parle pas mieux que moi, et parce qu'il n'a pas installé un contrôle d'orthographe je serais heureuse de tout les remarques et soutien. Simplement écrivez des commentaires en bas. Je suis totalement hors de la pratique, désolé.

Dix petites maisons peuvent être loué qui sont vraiment adorable et tranquille. Le village est bien situé juste près de la jetée qui fini sur l'écueil. Même s'il était un peu froid (23 degrés seulement) nous voulions fait de la plongée. Et il y avait une mauvais surprise: quatre requins d'une taille enormement on fait son tour à travers de l'écueil. Ils avaient une longueur de probablement deux mètres! Mais nous étions courageux - les requins ont fuit de nous. Les photos en bas ne sont pas de bonne qualité, mais nos impressions s'en réfléchissent. Regardons comme cela sera avec lumière de soleil ;-)


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