My wife, Trish, and I spent a whole month on Moorea. You reach it by a forty-minute ferry ride from Papeete, the capital of Tahiti. No, we’re not rich and able to wine and dine for a month on a water-side bungalow. We lived in a lovely house and cooked for ourselves. All we had to do was to pet sit a wonderful dog, called Gypsy and a friendly cat named Felix. Moorea is an incredibly beautiful island – called the Mystery Island. It is a toss-up between Moorea and Bora Bora. The latter gets publicity because of the celebrities that visit. Both Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora are visited by cruise ships that anchor in their incredible ports and bays. While the title was to capture your attention, the French Polynesians is a paradise for everyone!
Paul Gauguin and Moorea
Paul Gauguin spent many years on Moorea painting top-less women and other subjects. Today, the topless women are covered as part of modern culture – more’s the pity as far as lesbians (and men) are concerned. Don’t get me wrong – I am not lusting after women now that I am in a state of married lesbian bliss. But, I would like to share some of Gauguin’s Polynesian pictures. Although the topless clothing is gone, everyone who visits can see the beauty of the Polynesian women – their smiles, their dark hair (often long) and their coal-black eyes. They are charming and most of them speak English. These islands are part of France – French flags fly and the French language is taught in schools with English as a second language. At home, the children are often taught their native tongue. Trish welcomed the opportunity to use her fluent French.
Want to Travel, but Money is Scarce?
House/pet sitting sites are on the internet. You may not get to Tahiti/Moorea/Bora Bora. We happened to have met the couple we housesat for in New Zealand. However, there are wonderful opportunities world-wide. Work on a cruise-line. Look at au pair opportunities to look after kids. If you speak another language that is always an asset. Young people work everywhere. There are eco-working opportunities where you work for 3-4 hours (farm work) and you receive your meals and accommodation free.
A Car Thrown-In
Sometimes, a car is thrown in when you house/pet sit. This was the case in Moorea. We were glad because although it is a small island of approximately 7,000 inhabitants, the bus service does not run often. Moorea is breath-taking as it is surrounded by dark volcanic mountains. They have irregular shapes which make them magical. Most of the people of Moorea live near the 2-lane road that circles the island. When work is over, families go down for a swim. We lived in the ocean has a combination of the hot weather (35c plus humidity made cool water cooling down a top priority. When at the house, Trish and I would have at least 3-4 cold showers each day. The temperature didn’t climb until about mid-day when the sweat rolled off us. We constantly drank fruit juices and water.
Driving the island was a constant trip to paradise. The view: the greenery (forests and pine trees) – dark mountains and two-colours of sea (pale aquamarine near the shore and a deeper blue further out to sea). The trees included avocado, pineapple, banyan, papaya, bananas and breadfruit. Neighbours dropped in and fried up some breadfruit into what looked like french-fries. It was delicious. Outside our door, passion fruit fell every day. We ate them morning, noon and night. They contains many vitamins, iron and other minerals.
My love is an enthusiastic photographer. There were so many tropical flowers to photograph and smell: hibiscus of every colour and gorgeous bougainvillea plants.
Moorea has only one large supermarket. Meat is imported from New Zealand. Wine is imported mainly from France.All other items come from either New Zealand or France. Fresh vegetables were in short supply: beans, mushrooms, lettuce, tomatoes. Otherwise, you could pick from Moorea’s vegetables and fruits. We liked to shop in small stores, that way, Trish could speak French and ask questions about the culture.
Tahiti and Moorea are famous for their black pearls. We bought a couple at a reasonable price – they can go very high in price. The world economy has had its effect on these islands. Less tourists, particularly from Japan, the USA and Europe are coming. We looked at a couple of Tour Books (Lonely Planet, Fodors, etc) and many of the hotels and restaurants are now closed. What is open is first rate, although overall, everything is expensive (due to importation).
If you have a chance go there – at least put it on your bucket list.