Tuesday, August 21, 2007

August 20, 2007 - Maeva Beach, Tahiti

A Tale of Two Frenchies

It was the best of attitudes, it was the worst of attitudes . . .

Our day started with a trip to the doctor. Lately, I've pretty much looked like Michael Jackson with an acne problem. For the past few months I've had the creeping crud, as Jay so endearingly put it. Little white dots first appeared on my shoulders, chest and back in the Caribbean.

With advice from Sten's dad, I tried to hunt down a prescription treatment in Bequia, but the best I could find was Selsun soap. It seemed to work. Since then, the dots have shown up repeatedly, but the soap always took care of them. At least, it used to take care of them. Recently it has been ineffective, and the crud has crept up my neck and onto my face. It looks like I'm losing my pigmentation. Not so attractive. Today I learned that the technical term for the creeping crud is Pityriasis versicolor, for which the doctor prescribed Ketoderm. He said that it is very common in the tropics. I've seen it on other cruisers. Our sweaty skin is a perfect breeding ground for the fungus. He also diagnosed my other skin problem (crusty acne) as excema - no big surprise there, I've had it repeatedly. If these treatments work, there will once again be pictures of me in the blog. In the meantime, you'll just have to look at Sten. But the real point here is, the doc was genuinely interested in our trip and perfectly pleasant.

From his office we trekked several miles across town to the sailmakers. Along the way we stopped to get a new reef shirt for Sten and have a fight about whether sushi was too expensive for our budget. The sailmaker seemed completely uninterested in selling us a new top batten for our mainsail (Quantum Thurston cut our original too short and over time it shredded from moving around in the batten pocket). We brought along the broken batten to show him what we needed. "Oh no. I have nothing that will work for you." Really, what about this piece that is practically the same dimensions as our sample? "Hmm. Well, I would have to sell you the whole piece. I have no use for the remnant." Um, we don't need the rest, nor do we want to store it. "Mmmhhmph." He proceeded to cut off the size piece we need. "Do you have spare battens on board?" Ehh, no. "Really? Well, that is a very bad idea." Well, we've made it this far. I don't know whether we did something to tick this guy off (perhaps it was saying "hello," instead of "bon jour"), but from the moment we walked into his shop he was hostile and haughty - your stereotypical Frenchman. Later in the afternoon Sten asked me what I thought set him off. "Maybe his wife told him he couldn't have sushi for lunch," I responded.

From there we headed to the industrial section of town to look for some engine parts Sten thought he wanted, until he saw the prices. Then we made our way to a travel agent to book my dad's inter-island flights for his visit next month. By the time the le truck dropped us back at the Carrefour, where we dropped $100 on one bag of groceries, we were both overheated, thirsty, hungry and tired. It was one of those days that make me wonder why we ever bother to go ashore.

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