Archive for September, 2008

24th September
written by bob

Tuesday, September 16
As with each morning on our honeymoon, we set no alarms and woke up when our biological clocks decided. Today is our last day here and sadly, we do not want to leave. French Polynesia is so incredibly beautiful, tropical, secluded, and the people so super-friendly. I can honestly say that we both laid around the pool thinking of ways to create a business and stay in the Polynesian islands. We have come up with a few ideas but I will hold off from sharing them at this point in time. ;) Who knows…maybe we’ll sell all our stuff for travels and life in Bora Bora?

Once we gathered, folded, and packed our clothes we headed for the pool bar for lunch. We kept an extra bag with a change of clothes for after lunch and a swim in the pool. After a great panini, we grabbed a couple lounge chairs by the pool and headed for a dip. For some reason the water just didn’t seem as refreshing today – I’m “sure” it’s not because today we have to head home? Fortunately we had a later flight and could enjoy most of the day in the sun. A guest house/room was provided for us to shower, change, and gather our bags prior to our flight.

And so the time has come where we have to say ‘good bye’ to this paradise in the South Pacific Ocean. While we are not thrilled about leaving, we did enjoy every day of our two week honeymoon! It will be something that we never forget…and that is the definition of a great vacation! Bye Bora Bora…we will be back.

23rd September
written by bob

Monday, September 15
Woke up today and decided for the first time at the resort to have breakfast in the restaurant. As the waiter led us to our table, the buffet spread that was laid out looked quite tasty. However, once we got coffee and went up to fill our plates we realized that the selection was very much lacking in comparison to the incredible breakfast buffets we got used to at the Pearl Resort in Moorea! A few of the choices were tuna & pineapple in a curry/coconut milk sauce (for breakfast?), powdered scrambled eggs that were obviously not mixed very well, and quite a selection of fresh fruits – except there were all kinds of fruit flies completely covering them. Disgusting! The only thing that I found appealing was the croissants with Nutella. Now that’s good! Suffice to say, neither Katherine nor I ate very much for breakfast today.

Originally we were going to rent a little boat taxi (personal use) and putter around in the bay by ourselves. However, it was very windy and another couple we met the day before wasn’t able get out on the lagoon for the same reason; the wind. So we bagged the self-guided boat rental and called Moana Adventure Tours to see what they had available. The company hooked us up with a local guide, Teva (Tay-va). Teva picked us up around 1:30pm and we were off. He took down to the south end of the lagoon near Matira Beach, where we enjoyed some incredible snorkeling in a designated no fishing area. Also onboard the boat was a pail of dead fish to lure and feed the fish. Katherine and I put on our snorkel gear and hit the water. Teva threw a couple of feed fish in and within seconds there were just tons of fish around us. We were literally surrounded; it was pretty amazing! There were so many different species and one noticeably large green-blue fish with huge lips and pretty big teeth. We come to find out it was a Trigger fish. Boy, it was ugly! Teva instructed me to hold 2 of the dead fish from the bucket in my hand to feed the fish swimming with us. I did and the fish were just coming up to my hand and eating the feed right from it. Once I saw the Trigger fish spot lunch in my hand and start heading my way, I let go of the feed and it was free-for-all. The Trigger fish swam right up close to us and took a large bite out of the feed (about half of the fish)!

We climbed back in the boat and Teva told us it was time to go swim with the Stingrays. Excuse me…the Stingrays? I told him no way and that “he” could swim with them while I watched. A short ride over to the reef and between the motu (island) we were in about 3 feet of water when we noticed a large dark area. As we approached, the dark area was dispersing and swimming around! “Found the stingrays!” Teva said. We anchor and he instructs us to climb into the water. Katherine and I look at each other and shake our heads “No way!” Teva gets in the water and shows us there is nothing to worry about but I’m still not doing it. Katherine decides to go in and stand next to Teva. The rays were huge – with a few that were at least a 3ft span across! These were natural stingrays in the open water – no fences, no aquarium pens, nothing; live marine life in their surroundings.

It was amazing! The only thing I can liken this too is when you go away for 3-4 days and return home to your pet dog. The dog is soooo happy to see you when you walk through that door. These stingrays just kept swimming up on our chests to our faces. I have never seen or done anything like this! It was pretty amazing. Next Teva took us outside the lagoon into the ocean. We traveled along the coral reefs for a bit and then jetted out to deeper waters (approximately 50-60 feet deep). Here, we swam with the numerous sharks; black-tipped reef sharks and lemon sharks. The two tips for swimming with sharks that Teva gave us? Black-tipped reef sharks are scavengers and eat dead matter and lemon sharks are bottom-feeders. Thus both are harmless to humans with the black-tipped reef sharks being somewhat curious beasts. Teva tossed out some more dead fish (food) to draw the sharks to the boat. I jumped in the water and held on to the boat ladder (just to be on the safe side) until I felt more comfortable among my new friends. I started to swim away from the boat and Katherine climbed in the crystal-clear, deep water. It took her a bit to get in the water since she does not like the fact that she cannot she the bottom floor in deep water. Ah-hah, but that was not the case here! As mentioned, the water was so clear that it literally looked like the coral covered ocean floor was only 4 feet deep.

After hanging with the sharks Teva fired up the boat and we headed back into the lagoon and to view the WWII cannons & bunker from the water. Let me tell you, these cannons are HUGE! There were four cannons placed strategically around the island just in case the Japanese decided to try another sneak attack on the US. Thus, the US government stationed GIs there during the war. I took a few pictures and we then anchored on a natural forming sandbar in the lagoon. Two times during the year the water current washes the fine white sand in a spot that creates a sandbar. Teva mentioned that a few of the resorts will set up tables for a sunset dinner on the sandbar at a hefty price of $850 FPC ($1000+ USD). Wowsers! At this point in the day, we still had about an hour left and Teva asked us if we had any special requests. Quite honestly, the day was great but there was one thing we did want to do…we had a beach wine table set. Therefore, we wanted to have Teva take us to a somewhat private beach where we could enjoy a bottle of red wine while watching the sunset. And, Teva didn’t disappoint us! He knew the perfect spot. We anchored the boat and setup our wine travel kit, de-corked the bottle, and enjoyed some great French wine! Teva shared stories with us about his life and life in Bora Bora and we shared our lives and travels with him. He was a very interesting man and would highly recommend him as a tour guide again! He truly made our day spectacular.

On our bike ride the other day we passed a small restaurant, Kaiva Hut that we actually stopped at to get a drink only to find out that they were not open until dinner time. It looked like a cool place to dine and we had seen good reviews on it, so after getting ready for dinner & riding the ferry to Vaitape we caught the restaurant shuttle. You really have to love the fact that Polynesians will come and pick up tourists and bring them to their restaurant for dinner (business in their eyes)!

Once at Kaiva Hut, we were seated at the 12-table, quaint, sand floor restaurant. I personally loved the sand floor and proceeded to kick off my flip flops! We started the evening as we had all previous dinners with a great bottle of red wine. We, along with the French, love our red wine! Kaiva Hut is the kind of place where tables do not turn over for new customers. Walk-in customers would be hard pressed to get a table in an evening. This place is always busy according to the reviews we read. We enjoyed meeting the owner and chatting with him along with our transvestite wait-person. I ordered the Ahi Tuna and neither of us remember what Katherine ordered, but both dishes were fabulous and thoroughly enjoyed. As one of the last tables to leave, we had to wait a bit for the restaurant “taxi” to return from dropping off other passengers.

Another incredible day and our last night here…ooohhhhhh, dang-it!

22nd September
written by bob

Sunday, September 14
Today we planned to rent a boat by ourselves and take it out on the lagoon to explore the island. However, it was too windy and the company wouldn’t rent any boats in these weather conditions. This probably ended up being a blessing in disguise since the boats we could rent only had 6-horsepower motors which wouldn’t get us too far in the wind. The company also had 15-hp motorboats BUT you had to hold a boat license in order to rent one! What? For a 15-hp motor, a license is required? Whatever.

Anyways, we decided to relax by the pool this morning to see whether the wind would die down in the afternoon. Not so much…now what? Well, remember Avis? They rent bikes and we caught the ferry over to Vaitape and choose to rent bikes for a ride to Matira Point Beach. Once at Avis we discovered they didn’t have any bicycles left to rent. Damn! As we contemplated renting a car, our friends, Tim & Alex rode up on 2 bikes that they were turning in for the day and told us we could have these. Sweet! After filling out the paperwork for the bikes and paying $14 FPC each ($28) we were on our way. Our bikes were cruiser-like bikes; comfortable but only one speed and had the old brakes where you push the pedals backwards and the brakes are applied. Remember those style brakes? I’m not sure I have seen those since my childhood especially since I ride mountain bikes now.

Our adventure took us south along the only road around the island. We saw lots of little restaurants during our tour and passed the world famous Bloody Mary’s again. We went to stop in for a drink but soon discovered that they are only open during the dinner hours; so, on we went. We made to Matira Point Beach and looked around for a little while but all that biking created an appetite that needed feeding. We passed a small restaurant located right on a beach and decided to head back there for a bite to eat. It was worth noting that the sandwich I ordered contained a French bread bagette, hachis (ground meat), french fries, and BBQ sauce. That’s right…I said french fries. I thought it was kind of odd BUT it was delicious!! Now all fueled up and ready to race back to Avis before closing time and catch the ferry back to the resort.

Our combination of sun, wind, and bike riding lead us to call room service for dinner tonight. We were exhausted and decided food in our room while watching a couple DVDs we brought with us was in store. Dinner was pretty good. We order a pizza dish and a pasta dish. It was “dinner and a movie”!

21st September
written by bob

Saturday, September 13
We slept in today and I’m pretty sure that Katherine had a bit of a hangover. So after a slow start to the day, we decided to do a little shopping in Vaitape, the tiny village across the lagoon from our resort. Vaitape was quite a small town and in no more than 20 mins we have walked from one end to the other. Food was a top priority so we stopped for lunch at a small stand that offered various baguettes. I honestly couldn’t get enough of these sandwiches while there. I love my French bread! There were quite a few craft shops and we browsed through most of them. Katherine bought some wraps for around the pool and at the beach and I bought some stingray stickers for my snowboard. Odd, yes, I know but that was the point. One thing we noticed in Vaitape was the constant smell of burning garbage. As the day wore on, this became increasingly annoying and very unpleasant. Ever seen an Avis Rental location that rented bicycles? Yep…here in Bora Bora they do! After being content with our site seeing in the village we decided to visit the local grocery store and pick up a few things for back in our hut.

Grocery shopping was a trip. Since we were in a foreign country we had to browse through the entire store and see what/how products differed from the US. We saw a lot of products that we considered ‘weird’; things like prawn flavored cracker strips, shrimp flavored cheese cubes, grape Powerade that was green in color, Kat Kat Tat pastry (hazelnut), Texas BBQ sauce flavored Pringles, and gigantic green pamplemousse (grapefruit). We purchased what we needed and headed back to the resort for an afternoon of pool side relaxation.

We caught the ferry boat back across the lagoon and detoured to find the on-site resort internet. We found the resort computers hidden away near the koi pond. There were actually 2 computers only 1 of which worked. And boy, was it SLOOOOOWWW! It seriously felt like it was on dial-up. We didn’t stay long and only checked email then left. On our way back to our hut, we ran into Tim and Alex whom we met in Moorea on the dolphin/whale watching tour. It looks like they booked pretty much the identical honeymoon package as we did. Then it was pool-side for some relaxation.

Later, we retired to our hut to get ready for dinner at Otemanu, the restaurant at the resort. Prior to our reservation, we decided to partake in the daily Happy Hour with our favorite bartender, Maria. As always, Maria kept our drinks full. Our reservation time approached and our table was ready. We were fortunate to be seated outside, down the stairs/walkway near the water. A table for 2 was set up in a great location for us two newlyweds. Along with excellent food was a good bottle of red wine. (No one sees the theme here, right?)

20th September
written by bob

Friday, September 12
On Bora Bora we didn’t have breakfast included in our stay but prior to leaving Dammon, our ATV guide, “borrowed” (as he put it) a few grapefruits and a pineapple for us to take with us. So, our breakfast for each morning here was grapefruit and pineapple. It was delicious! The only bummer about breakfast was that in our room we had access to coffee BUT it was instant! However in the end I was able to solve this issue too with the large bottle of Bailey’s we purchased in the Duty Free shop at LAX airport. No more instant coffee taste now! I like my Bailey’s and coffee.

We figured today we would just hang around the resort and check it out in its entirety. We decided to snorkel this morning since the water was crystal clear and very blue! It was incredible! The resort had anchored these little floating docks in the middle of the water by the reefs to rest on from snorkeling or sunbathe at…your choice. As we snorkeled in the shallow waters from our over-water bungalow, we got into a bit of trouble when we realized the water was only about 14 inches deep. Struggling to get our feet below us and avoid touching the sharp coral, Katherine was not so lucky. In a split second that it took her to gain her balance putting a hand down for help, the coral had sliced a small flap of skin on her ring finger. Fortunately it was, for the most part, superficial but still deep enough to bleed. We surveyed our landscape to determine a better way out to the deeper water and begin our marine exploration. We saw a lot of marine life that we had not seen on Moorea. There were all kinds of those squiggly shelled clams with bright red, green, blue, tan, brown, and purple lips (if that is what you call them). Off in the distance I noticed a local man in a canoe who tied his boat to one of the buoys near our hut. He dove into the water and had a bamboo rod drifting in the water behind him. As Katherine and I got closer to him, we realized that he was fishing with a spear gun. As he speared each fish from his gun, he pulled the spear back to himself and pushed the spear completely through the fish and on to the end of the attached rope that the bamboo kept floating. He must have had at least 30 fish when we encountered him!!

The rest of our afternoon was spent eating at the restaurant by the pool, sunbathing, and then partaking in happy hour at the Hiro bar. Lounging by the pool and both of us reading, I finally finished the book I have been on-and-off of, “The Heroin Diaries” by Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue. This book is literally a diary of Nikki on drugs for an entire year and how he got clean. While the book is very intriguing, I think the best part of it was the last 20 pages. He had led an incredible life and it’s amazing that he isn’t dead! You will have to read the story for yourself. At happy hour, Maria took very good care of us and made some really great cocktails! We tried various drinks of all types of concoctions; the Honeymoon, the Moana Iti, and the local beer called Tabu. All were very tasty!

We had made reservations earlier in the day for the infamous Bloody Mary’s. It’s a busy place and if we didn’t make reservations, there would be no chance of just walking in. Outside the restaurant is a photo board with the names of all celebrities that have ever been there. People like Tommy Lee, Denzel Washington, Johnny Depp, and Goldie Hawn have graced the sand floors of Bloody Mary’s. As we walked in, we noticed that the floors were entirely fine, white, beach sand. The bar was made from a huge oak tree with large stumps for bar stools. Prior to being seated, we were greeted by a gentleman that described the food specials and the fresh catches of the day. After opting for swordfish and Mahi Mahi we were seated toward the back of the restaurant. With dinner we enjoyed a few bottles of red wine. Yum!

14th September
written by bob

Thursday, September 11

Today we got up early (7am) despite the hotel not remembering to give our requested wake-up call. We have scheduled a morning whale & dolphin watching boat tour with Dr. Michael Poole. The boat picked us up at 8:30 and we headed for the openings in the reefs. Dolphins and whales use these as protection from predators like sharks and killer (orca) whales. At the first stop, we were fortunate enough to see a large group of spinner dolphins. The spinner dolphin gets it name from the acrobatics it performs when jumping out of the water; it spins in the air. I snapped several pictures of the little guys and their spinning performances. We moved on further once the spinners decided to head out to sea a bit. We went across the northern shore to the west end without any success in spotting any whales. However, there was this annoying elderly couple (mid-60’s) that ended up splitting seats on either side of the boat. Unfortunately for Katherine and I, we were seated in the row in front of chatty Kathy. We would come to realize we regretted our choice of seats later in the tour. Ever since the first minute we left he dock, this woman would not shut up. It was impossible not to overhear her conversation with everyone in her vicinity and I amazed that she was truly an “expert” in all facets of everything! Damn, she must be a millionaire! She actually engaged us in a brief (thank god) conversation about where we were from. Our savior, the woman seated behind chatty Kathy asked her a question and ultimately rescued us from any further ear vandalism. By the end of the tour I think the other woman’s 2 ears had fallen off from listening to Kathy for 4 hours! We must have over-heard the same story 3 times from this woman and to top it off she kept calling over to her husband on the other side of the boat – about what it is that he was seeing from his vantage point. Man, no wonder he volunteered to sit on the other side of the boat to balance it out; he probably just wanted to get away from her on the tour since he knew what he was going to be subjected to! Poor man! Seriously, I would pay a doctor to diagnose me as clinically deaf if I was married to her!! It would be worth every penny. Unfortunately for us on this tour we did not get to see any whales despite it being whale season here. Kathy kept moaning and groaning about not getting to see any whales either, that at one point I was about to tie her up like a pretzel and throw her overboard! I’m sure she would have looked like a whale flopping around trying to untie herself! Hahaha!! You know when you are on vacation and you always hear the loud obnoxious people, you can pretty much guess they are Americans! I can’t count how many times here we have run into that. Even my wife, who’s American, was the first to point it out every time! Do they ALWAYS have to be the loudest in every situation? No wonder Americans have a bad name when they travel! I won’t even start with the quartet of American tourists that we encountered at Le Sud Restaurant on Moorea. Let’s just say it’s a good thing the waitress cleared all our utensils from the table because by the end of dinner I was looking for 2 forks to gauge my eyes and ears out with!

We gathered our stuff and were shuttled to the Moorea Airport. I have been to some small airports before but this airport is SMALL! And, it seems, there are 3 resident cats that live and roam about. The ticket counter is one booth, the weigh scales are manual scales that you could stand on and watch the needle point out your weight, and the x-ray machine – is 2 Tahitian guys that would much rather play guitar as they load your bags onto the cart. The flight to Bora Bora was a short 45 minutes but just long enough that I was able to catch a quick nap prior to landing. Ok, so I thought the Moorea Airport was small, the Bora Bora (BOB) airport was even smaller, if you can believe that! Once we found our bags, Katherine and I boarded a large shuttle boat to take us to the Resort. Here, we were staying at the Bora Bora Lagoon Resort & Spa. I have to say, it is a very beautiful place! We have a great view of Mount Otemana as our resort is located on one of the outlying crater rims. Overall, French Polynesia (Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora) is a VERY beautiful place and I couldn’t think of a better place to spend time with my new wife, Katherine!! We are definitely enjoying ourselves.

We figured that we would just cruise over to the “city” and walk to someplace to eat. We knew that we had to take the hotel’s water ferry across but figured we could just walk to a small place for something simple. Thankfully I asked the reception desk about any suggestions for eating once we got across and he asked if we had anything booked as this was required…nope, didn’t know that! So he suggested the St. James and we went down to the dock to wait for the boat. Holy crap was it windy, I honestly thought I’d get blown into the water and here Bob is standing on the very edge to look at the myriad fishies hanging out in the spotlight under the dock. The ferry arrived actually a little early as I think it was carrying the Polynesian dancers and band to the hotel for that night’s performance. We got to the other side in the highly choppy and very fast little boat and were picked up for dinner.

When we got there I was a little surprised at the quaint and very romantic little restaurant. It is actually on the water but because of the wind we decided to eat inside. The staff spoke excellent English and the gent that seated us I assume is the owner and/or manager. He came over to the table shortly after we were seated and asked about my last name…turns out he is from LaRochelle in France! Such a small world…honestly it’s trips like this that make we want to hold onto my last name…everyone here is VERY comfortable with it and most everyone even knows the town and its history, location, etc. so it’s kind of fun for me. In the states everyone is a lot more comfortable with Bob’s name and mine usually ends up getting butchered.

The menu is so good that I really struggle with what I want to eat. Once Bob says that he is for sure heading for the fish I turn to the land selections. It’s a toss up between the beef filet with a mushroom cream sauce and potatoes au gratin or a roasted duck breast with blueberry sauce and vegetables. I make a game-time decision and go for the beef…obviously not really local, but I figure it is probably pretty good. Bob gets the Parrot fish stuffed with crab and sautéed vegetables (on my list for the fish side). We opt to skip the appetizer as we have not been left hungry anywhere on this trip, quite the opposite and we want to try a dessert if we have room. We choose a bottle of wine…they are out of nearly all the regular sized bottles of anything for less than $80 so we go to one of our last choices a Loire valley choice that turns out to be great…just like all the French wines we have had here so far (honestly, what a treat to be able to walk into the supermarket that has barely any food or drink that we are used to and the selection is akin to what we would get at the 7-11 yet be able to pick from between 50-100 different French wines at quite a reasonable price.)

OMG the rolls…seriously…I thought I had died and gone to bread heaven. I didn’t think that Bob liked the doughy, “almost not done” bread, but it turns out that he actually does. So…these things kicked some serious butt from both our perspectives…I was good and only ate half of mine, Bob ate the other half, of course. Main courses arrive, wow, wonderful. I don’t like mushrooms and this filet was covered in a morel mushroom sauce, but I actually don’t mind mushroom cream sauces…I just removed the actual mushroom from the top of the steak and dug in. Perfect…really, really good. The au gratin potatoes were damn good as well. Bob got to share quite a bit of these along with a good chunk of steak. I tried his parrot fish and was pleasantly surprised at its buttery texture and non-fish taste. We ate everything…even the decorative vegetables around the plate.

We received from our very perceptive waitress the menu again for the desert choice and selected a crème brule with local vanilla. It came with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and seriously, this was the BEST crème brule I have ever had and I consider myself somewhat of a connoisseur of this particular desert. Wow…Bob doesn’t even really like this very much usually (in the context of Bob not caring for anything sweet…) but I was fighting him for the last of it!
We took a walk around the rest of the restaurant at the point and saw the very lovely over-water seating areas…quite a nice place. I made a point to go over to the gent who had seated us and the chef happened to be there with him. I raved about our food and paid them our compliments. I will include the restaurant’s URL in this blog as well…truly a very nice place and I thank the young fella at reception for suggesting it, wonderful.

14th September
written by bob

Wednesday, September 10
Our ATV tour with Dammon. Short tour of 2.5 hours ended up being a 4 hr tour since we were his only customers for the day. Details to follow.

Dinner at Chez Luciano (Italian and pizza) – Katherine
The walk here was kind of interesting considering that we had never gone the direction from the hotel until today. The airport was this direction so we took the initial trip to the hotel this way, but obviously didn’t really pay that much attention cuz we had no idea where we were going, etc. earlier on the ATV tour we had come past here (twice…obviously on our way to the public beach and back to our hotel) and I had pointed out the restaurant to Bob both times and he had nodded. When we got back to the hotel and got cleaned up and ready to go he tells me that he doesn’t remember seeing it. Once we actually arrive here I understand what he was actually acknowledging on the ATV…the gigantic blue marlin on the top of one of the trucks parked in the mutual parking lot that I had completely overlooked because I was obviously looking at the restaurant. Anyway…Bob has developed a minor obsession with the crabs in the holes all along the road. There is a deep cement gutter that runs about 2-3 feet away from the road and all of these crabs (some of them are freaking huge) live in these holes all along there. It was drizzling and we had a big umbrella with us. It was a bit further than the trips into town had been and it was dark…the rain and the dark both bring out the crabs…Bob was on a hunt! To say that it was an amusing walk there and back would be an understatement. When we got to the actual place where the restaurant was across the street and we needed to cross there was a small stone bridge and two HUGE crabbies out of their hole. There was also the longest string of traffic on Mo’orea that I think ever occurs…there were literally 50-60 cars and trucks that we had to wait for in order to cross or even continue (the road was too narrow over the bridge to safely continue). The crabs didn’t see Bob’s shadow or hear him because of all the traffic and he took this moment to finally strike! At last he got to whack one of the little guys out in the open! We crossed the road and went in.
Honestly the first time that we spoke 100% French in a restaurant (well…I did…Bob tried to speak English but the staff didn’t really understand him). We were a bit confused as to how to get seated, so we opted to just stand up front where people were obviously ordering and picking up to go orders. We wandered to the back toward the kitchen area where the gent who was obviously the chef and I assume the owner was back cooking. He greeted us with his “signature cat being stepped on” screech which thankfully we had read about in Frommer’s and weren’t terrified of (although I think that Bob and I both looked around for a second to see if there would be a kitty running through the restaurant scared to death!) .We moved our way up to the counter and browed the menu (great selection) and decided on the ham, cheese and…of course, pineapple(!) pizza in a medium. The young gent comes up to us and my wonderful husband points and tells him what he wants in English…I give him a little more French and he gets it. I ask for beers and he asks if we want to stay here or to go and we ask to stay.
We move to a seat in the tiny little seating area and the owner comes back and is obviously speaking to us when he tells us that there is only one Tabu (we ordered two of these Tahitian beers). I feel pretty proud of myself for understanding him and answering him that we will have one tabu and one hinano. We hear a few more kitty squeals coming from the kitchen which are pretty amusing. As Bob and I are patiently waiting for our food and chatting I hear the chef come back again and turn to him as he says something I don’t quite get, and then he gives me a shake of his head. I notice something in his hand that he is tossing around (i think it is a dough ball)…I then get that he is trying to get Bob’s attention and shut my trap. Bob looks up and the chef throws him the “thing” in his hand and my wonderful and talented husband catches it in his “soft hands” like a champ…garnering applause from the chef. Come to find out it was a fake egg…the chef comes back to retrieve it and give Bob a little congrats…and a kitty screech;)
Our beers arrive and a bit later the pizza…it looks freaking huge and I’m thinking there is no way even with as hungry as we are that we’re going to finish this thing. We finish it without a problem…it was damn good, excellent crust (go figure…the one thing you can count on here, just like France, is that if you think that you’ve had the most awesome bread/pastry/croissant in your life…it will get topped) and of course the pineapple is always kick ass (excuse my French!)

14th September
written by bob

Tuesday, September 9

Today was the first real day that we decided to do some activities associated with the resort. Breakfast as usual and then we went up to the activities desk to book some things. First on our list was a whale and dolphin excursion with Dr. Michael Poole. He was a student at UC-Berkley that was doing graduate work on whales and dolphins and liked it so much on Moorea that he eventually stayed. Now he has 6 month internships for student at the school to do the same. How cool would that be? We also booked and ATV tour with Dammon. It was a 2.5 hr tour with stops at a lot of popular spots along the way.

Now back out to the pool where we decided to take a 2-man kayak out. We figured we’d venture out from the resort to the outlying, natural coral reefs that were protecting the lagoon from the waves crashing upon them. Some of the coral heads were so big that as we paddled overtop of them and you could feel the bottom of the boat scraping across. At one point, we almost got stuck on one but there were just enough waves to keep us moving. We paddled around more enjoying the different colors and sizes of the coral along with the fish we could see from in the kayak. Before getting too tired, we headed back to the resort for some more snorkeling around our hut and the coral reef there.

Tonight was dinner and a dance show at the Tiki Village Theatre. Here is where they show you how the ancient Tahitian people lived, worked, and functioned as village. It was pretty interesting to see how every person played a part in the village. The Tahitian people lived entirely off the land and sea not wasting anything; from giant leaves used as plates to the underside of bark used to make cotton-like blankets and clothes. Nothing was thrown away. After an incredible dinner, the Tahitian people put on an amazing dance show complete with vaibrant costumes and fire tossing! I was quite impressive! The show was amazing and MUCH better than the one at the hotel the other night!

Time to go and we wanted to hit the gift shop prior to leaving and picked up 2 hand-crafted photo albums that were made right there in the village. After some confusion about how the restaurant was going to get all the patrons home (since transportation was included), they eventually piled Katherine and I in a cab with 4 other people from a neighboring resort and we were on our way. There was a return bus that had left approximately 10 minutes before we left and en-route to our hotel we passed that bus! I don’t believe our cab driver was adhering to the 60km speed limit! I’m not kidding when I say this but…I was scared! I mean really SCARED! It was raining, our driver was probably doing 80km, we just passed the bus on a road that barely fits 2 vehicles, and we barely missed taking out a dog that had strayed onto the road.
Prior to realizing a female Mario Andretti was behind the wheel, I asked Katherine to put on a seatbelt. I, too, strapped myself in for what I figured was going to my last trip ANYWHERE on this earth, gave a prayer to the big man upstairs, and just hoped we made it back to the Pearl Resort. All I could think of was our van being wrapped around a coconut tree on the winding curves in the road due to the drizzly rain. I don’t think I actually sighed any bit of relief until Ms. Andretti came racing up the resort drive doing Mach 1 and leaving an 80ft skid mark!! Even the other passengers in the cab were sighing relief when we stopped but they too didn’t sigh until after the driver got out. So…it was only me that was scared for my life. When I got out, I asked Katherine if I should drop to my knees and kiss the ground in front of everyone else! Enough excitement that driver has scared me to bed!

14th September
written by bob

Monday, September 8

Today was another day of relaxation. We started with our usual breakfast and then decided to go the Supermarche for a few more supplies. Later I decided to snorkel most of the afternoon while Katherine suntanned and read her book. I saw plenty of cool looking fish and sea urchins; a lot of which I didn’t see on my last snorkeling outing. A couple huts over where I was snorkeling around I saw 3 seahorses. Very cool!

Dinner tonight was at a place just down the road at a hotel called “Hotel Kaveka”. The Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant was highly recommended by our shuttle driver Raymond (of Albert Tours). The place was decorated very appropriately for Tahiti with a grass roof inside and the pillars wrapped with the branch of a large tree and the leaves tied behind. It was really neat. The restaurant was built out, over the water and had a large pier extending from it into Cook’s Bay, named after explorer James Cook. Dinner was excellent too. Katherine had seafood spaghetti in a marinara sauce with shrimp, calamari, and mussels/oysters. I had a Shrimp in Devil’s sauce on rice – basically it was prawns in a “spicey hot” sauce. I think the term hot sauce to Tahitians means just a bit spicier than regular sauce. It was by no means hot, at least to my standards. But all-in-all, dinner was fabulous and you really couldn’t beat the ambiance!

14th September
written by bob

Sunday, September 7
Today we awoke and had our usual breakfast that was included in our stay. It had everything from a cereal stand to an made-to-order omelette station. The only problem with breakfast was the annoying birds that were hovering like vultures for scraps. And, when you weren’t looking, the birds would be helping themselves to the peanut butter bowl! Once I saw this, no more peanut butter for me! We fiished breakfast and headed over to the bar for the free wireless internet to check some email and publish a few of our blogs. Not long after, the hotel staff came looking for us as we requested an upgrade to a sunset bungalow for the remaining 4 nights we were here. It was worth it too; a little more private and when you snorkeled from your deck the coral reef dropped off right there! The water was so blue and the fish and coral were incredible!

Dinner at Le Sud (French cuisine).