Saturday, September 29, 2007

September 18, 2007 - Hurepiti Bay and Marina Iti, Tahaa

Two views of Mata'irea and a charter boat anchored in Hurepiti Bay.
This morning we joined up with the six guests of a crewed charter boat to take the Vanilla Tour. We learned how vanilla is pollinated (none of the insects in the islands will do it, so it must be done by hand), how it matures on the plant, and how it is then dried in the sun, a few hours each day, to develop the flavor.
A vanilla farmer and his little black dog, named Vanilla
Tahaa vanilla is supposed to be the best in the societies. But today we learned that a lot of the vanilla that is dried on Tahaa is actually grown in Raiatea and Huahine. It is sold for more than twice as much as the vanilla grown on the other islands. We bought some to compare to the vanilla that we bought on the side of road in Huahine. We couldn't detect any appreciable difference between the two.

Sten and the quintessential ugly American.
This guy had been around the world via airplane, but he never stayed anywhere very long and he had no respect for the people or places that he visited. He styled himself as a photographer. We particularly liked it when he grabbed a piece of tapa cloth that our guide was showing us and stuck a flower through it to set up a still life.

After the tour, we followed the charter boat down to Marina Iti. We arrived in time to do a bit of snorkeling, have a few cocktails aboard, and don our finest tropical duds, before heading ashore for the Polynesian buffet and dance night. The food at the buffet was fine (except for one dish that was so over salted it was inedible), but there wasn't much variety. However, the dancing more than made up for it. The dancers were clearly having a great time, and their enjoyment was infectious.

As the show began, we could hear our favorite ugly American call out "Bring on the dancing girls!" When the lights dimmed, dad asked the ugly American/ photographer how he was going to deal with the backlight. He replied "I paid $2,000 for this camera, it better take care of it for me."

Sten's career as a male model was kicked off by assisting with the pareo demonstration.
I took part in that ancient Polynesian tradition - dancing with the tourists.
After that bit of silliness, the firedancers came on stage. It was an exciting end to a very fun day.

No comments: