We are house/pet sitting on M’oorea, an island in French Polynesia near the equator.
Trish and I are not used to having a breakfast that is largely picked from the garden.
On the table are pineapple slices, mango, coconut, grapefruit, passion fruit, and papaya – to mention a few items. There is a fruit called Apple Cinnamon (Pomme Cannelle), but it is not connected to the cinnamon plant.
Our Hosts – Now Family
The people who own this home are French citizens living on M’oorea, the sister island of Tahiti.; France governs both islands. The previous owner was a botanist who worked for a botanical garden and he planted native Polynesian fruits, trees and shrubs. The colors, smells and shapes make us feel that we are in the original “Garden of Eden.” We can hear the ocean and a waterfall of a stream that runs by the house. My mind goes back in history to the early explorers who arrived and saw for the first time, a world so different from their own.
Two Beautiful Islands
M’oorea is reached from Papeete (capital of Tahiti) by two ways – plane (less than ten minutes) and by a fast ferry which does the journey in twenty-minutes. Nothing prepares a person for seeing the mountains and lush vegetation of M’oorea come into sight. It is majestic! Tahiti is busier, at least in the town, but M’oorea is more laid-back.
Our home is located another twenty minutes by car. The road winds along lagoons, beaches and the ocean. We stopped at a certain part of the journey to view the over-water thatched/bamboo bungalows that have glass floors. Those with extra money in the bank can watch the fish as they sit on couches or walk on the glass floor.
Meeting our Hosts in New Zealand
Our wonderful hosts (now family) are M & R. I do not wish to use their names or photos on a website. We met them by chance last year in a Starbuck’s cafe in Nelson, New Zealand. Mr. R was having difficulty with the coffee cup sizes and I used a little French to help him. His wife came over and so did Trish. My wife, Trish, who speaks fluent French soon discovered that they were not from France or from Quebec, Canada but from M’oorea. They invited us to house-sit and look after one dog and one cat. They took us to the capital of Tahiti and showed us around the markets.
We were treated us to coffee and French pastries; we treated them to lunch by the ocean. We have met their two charming sons. The younger son picked a coconut from the garden and showed us how to prepare it.
French Polynesia is famous for its black pearls. They vary in quality and can be purchased for a few dollars or up to thousands of dollars. You can purchase them from small stalls, larger stores or exclusive specialty stores. One exclusive store showed me ‘quality’ black pearls. The lustre and colours make them unique and expensive. If you have the time and the money to spare, these specialty establishments can set the stones in necklaces, rings, bracelets or whatever design you wish.
We have a month here in M’oorea, so I will write a few more articles.
paula (in paradise).