Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Day 5 – Look Ma, No Brain Cells!

Sunday started off with a very early rise from bed (at least for me) to head to the market down the way in search of baguettes and possibly some pastries as we had finished what was provided to us by Laurel on day 3, I believe. Considering I sacked out at about 9:00pm the night before (and 6 hours sleep usually recharges me fairly well), the 5:30am rise from bed was not any issue……at least for me anyway. Adam was out at just after 8:00pm and didn’t even realize I had left when I did go to the market, nothing new there.

Anyway, I meandered down the road (half-awake……I was still kind of groggy), and continued to get nervous watching all the bundles of bread pass me going the opposite direction on bikes, in cars, and on foot. The market opened at 5:30 and I wanted to get there early in hopes of getting pastries more than anything. Fortunately, upon my arrival, there were plenty left. And the owner (who speaks perfect English) was kind enough to take pity on me and help me select a few things. Most everything is labeled in French (and my French sucks on a good day), so I most certainly appreciated the assistance. Best of all they had a table full of little trays of locally made dishes available only on Sunday. So she walked me through the different dishes and let me know what each was………and I kind of wonder if she expected me to turn my nose up at most of it wondering how adventurous my American eating habits may or may not be. There was a Tahitian dish called Poisson Cru (pronounced Pwe-san Crew with the accent on the first syllable) which is basically like a fish curry (made with Marlin in this case), plus a tapioca dish, more chow mien, and several other dishes that just didn’t catch my eye in my half awake state. I stated that we were always ready to try the local dishes so, I settled on the Poisson Cru thinking it might be a really good dish for dinner that night, along with our two fresh (still warm!) baguettes and 4 pastries, and scuttled back to the bungalow.

Adam, of course said the night before that he would go to the store in the morning to get the bread, but knowing the time he crashed out (and knowing that he tends to get up considerably later than I when he has the chance to sleep in) I knew it would be up to me to get there early to get the goodies. Nonetheless, as I walked back in the door, he greeted me just as I thought he would. He lifted his head from the pillow and said, “Where did you go??” Typical. But he got up right away.

Oddly enough neither of us was incredibly hungry after the very tasty shrimp (with ginger and garlic) and steamed broccoli I had made the night before, so we simply settled on some hard boiled eggs and some bread, a pastry, and some fruit. We have been snagging papayas from the trees in the yard, so they are starting to pile up on the counter. I am quite glad to eat them, too!

We decided to get on the bikes and head up the road a couple of miles to a place where James’ family (Laurel’s husband) rents kayaks. From there we would be able to cross the water to the Motu just across the way, basically a small island, where it is reported we would see a plethora of rays and sharks. Unfortunately, upon our arrival, there was no one around except for on lone Tahitian man raking the area next to the little shack of a house on the property. Naturally he spoke NO English, but I managed to communicate enough with him in French to figure out that there would be someone around at 2:00pm. I was rather proud of myself, but only momentarily realizing that it was still quite early…….not even 10:00am. So we very disappointingly bailed on that plan for the day and continued on the bikes up the road just a bit before deciding to head back towards the bungalow for Plan B. We ended up at a beach about a mile south of the bungalow next to a restaurant called Pineapple Beach, which is owned by a very nice French gentleman (I spoke with him for a minute) and reportedly has great food (I think we will go later in the week). We parked the bikes and hit the water because by this time we were getting hot from riding.

Adam had read that the sand in this area was actually brought in, which we thought was a little odd but very nice! I had mentioned before that the sand in Tahiti is very course and rocky, so this very fine white sand allowed us a bit of a reprieve from the delicate footsteps we had become accustomed to taking on our normal spot.
We immediately got in the water to cool off a bit then laid in the sun to absorb some more heat. Time to snorkel!!!! I can’t seem to get enough of it. I spent a lot of time out among the reef, probably more than I really should, taking in the all the colors of coral and different fish. Again, I was still hoping to catch a glimpse of some sharks, or perhaps even an octopus, but no such luck today.

What is that I see, a rain cloud coming over the mountain? It must be lunch time. We packed up our gear and zipped back to the bungalow on our bikes. It only sprinkled a bit, but we were hungry by this time anyway and were glad to inhale our chow mien sandwiches we picked up the day before.

Let’s get back on the bikes and continue down the road a bit! We slathered on another coat of sunscreen and hit the road. Mind you, my butt was killing me from the damned bike seat (which is all torn up) on the bike I was riding. So I didn’t think I would last too long, but was glad to see more scenery.

Here is where all brain cells stopped functioning properly. I was smart enough to bring a t-shirt with me, just in case, but I did not bring my baseball cap. We also did not bring any water with us as we only planned on venturing down the road a bit. I am still not sure what the hell got into me, but let’s just say that we went WAY further than we should have without additional sunscreen, water, said baseball cap, perhaps even a parasol, and any common sense. I will take the blame however as I was in the lead. I won’t bother to tell you just how far we actually went in order to avoid the backlash of comments about this particularly stupid move, but suffice it to say that my ass is killing me from that bike! Fortunately I did not burn the crap out of myself. Adam got a bit on the cooked side, but again, he is quite fortunate to not have been burned to a crisp as he had no shirt with him. I at least had the opportunity to take the shirt that I had with me, dip in into the ocean, and wrap it around my head and cover my shoulders……..a sight that the locals thought was quite funny actually.

If there had been a day to pray for rain, this would have been the one. Wouldn’t you know it that not a single drop fell from the sky the whole time when it really would have helped us the most.

Beyond the stupidity, we got some incredible pictures and got to see most of the remaining portion of the island we had not yet seen. And, man, is it so incredibly beautiful. Plus, I have never seen anything like the water view we got to experience. Picture a crystal clear shoreline that extends about 100 or 200 feet, followed by a stretch of amazing vibrant turquoise blue water for another couple hundred feet, and then followed by the most incredible emerald green sparkling water beyond that. If I had not seen it for myself I would never have believed it existed. And we got some pictures too……hopefully they will do the view justice.
We also got lucky on the way back to the bungalow that (at 3:00pm) various markets opened along the way. Since it was Sunday most everything was closed everywhere after the very early morning and for the rest of the day. We stopped at the first one we saw that was open and grabbed a couple of bottled waters, which we immediately inhaled. It is a good thing, too.

The day ended with a (nice cool) shower to scrub off the several layers of sweat, salt water and copious amounts of sunscreen from the day, followed by a nice long chat with Laurel, and then finally dinner. The Poisson Cru was amazing! Laurel said that she doesn’t particularly care for the Poisson Cru from the market as it has a taste that doesn’t appeal to her. But we both absolutely loved it, so we are now dying to try the more proper dish in one of the local restaurants to make the comparison.

I am now going to take my very sore and tired butt to bed. We have a half-day island tour adventure planned for tomorrow, so stay tuned for more! Oh, and Adam‘s tattoo experience has been moved up to Tuesday……..and there is some VERY extra special news about that. But you will just have to come back to find out what it is!

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