The exotic traveler

Subject: bora bora

Wednesday Feb 7th


28 years ago I went on a sailing cruise in la Polenisie Francaise , an archipelo located in the South Pacific. Its main and largest island is Tahiti and the capital is Papeete. I visited many islands and also spent 4 days on the island of Tahiti. In that cruise I also spent one day in Bora Bora the most popular island and when there I had promised myself that I would come back to Bora Bora.

My friend Doug and I left Ottawa on January 31st and then on Feb 1st, after being tested, took a 5.5 hr flight to Los Angeles arriving there at about 11:00 a.m.. We were tested again and then rented a day room because our Air France flight coming in from Paris was due to leave LA for Papeete at 11:35 p.m. After an 8hr 40 min flight when we arrived in Tahiti on Feb 2nd we were tested, free of charge, and waited 3 hrs to board our turbo prop Air Tahiti one hour flight for Bora Bora. Once there people from Four Seasons greeted us by depositing around our neck a flower necklace and then we boarded their yacht for a 15 min ride to the resort. What a welcome! We are here for 9 nights.

At the Bora Bora airport all the other hotel companies had their boat(s) there to carry their guests to their hotels. All of those boats made of fiberglass were like a shipbus and paled in comparison to our Four Seasons boat which carried only a max of 14 persons and stunning in mahogany and teak floors, an understated elegance. Four Seasons has 4 of these french made boats. As I just turned 70 last month I ask myself: What have I done done to deserve all this? I am so grateful.

The accomodations are every thing one would need and expect and the food is excellent. Ever since our arrival I have eaten almost always fish like mahi mahi, tuna, shrimp, parrot fish etc. It is fun when one is easily satisfied like me. One night we went on a legend telling and stargazing cruise although the stars were few and far between….This morning we were set to go parasailing but it was cancelled because the wind was too strong and we may be able to go this afternoon but we also have a hobbycat tour this afternoon at 3:00.

To our surprise is the polenisian people who work exclusively in tourism and the island’s population is only 12,500 persons. I can safely say that 95% of both men and women are fat, some very fat and some grossly fat. They smile all the time, are friendly and happy. Happy and fat.

One day we went into town and had lunch at a french restaurant, The Saint James, where the food was very good, and the french owner was slim and very french.

Last night we went for dinner at the St Regis hotel located next door, a 15 min boat ride away. It was good and the resort is very nice and is set very differently from ours. But it is part of the Marriott family of hotels where their desire is almost excusively to get more money out of you and give out less. Four Seasons may perhaps charge more but they give out more.

I purchased some Tahiti art and it is being sent in a crate to Ottawa and my wonderful Australian neighbours have graciously agreed to accept delivery of the parcel. Little do they know that it may contain a cadaver!!!

That is all for now.

Given the time of year in the Northern Hemisphere (winter) and the age of most of my friends (old or very nearly so) it is not surprising that much of the current communication between us has to do with travel. Some like my ancient friend Pierre celebrated herein are intent upon rendering a travel-log style of account for the benefit of others who are perhaps less fortunate than he to visit such exotic places.  He has to my knowledge made it an ambition to visit as many such places throughout the globe. And always in comfort.  He is unquestionably an adherent to the proposition that there are but two ways to travel, First Class and with kids!

Pierre’s native agreeableness enhances his monologue almost to the point of comic. I am however not entirely persuaded by his munificence in this particular instance as I know from the report of certain of his other adventures that when things transpire in a manner of which he does not approve he is far less princely. I have heard it said by one whom I presume was a veteran traveler that one must always be prepared for both misadventure and adventure in matters of tourist exploration. Granted the credo is indisputably insightful but it doesn’t always satisfy the dreamy expectations of the casual explorer who by virtue of condensed time lines and other limited opportunities views the experience with greater – sometimes insistent – imperative and temperament.

Seemingly Pierre has a graciousness approaching a religious mantra regarding his personal fortuity – though the incredulity of a French made mahogany launch strikes me a short sell. Nonetheless his bowing disclaimer of merit and indebtedness to gratitude are conceivably remarkable from a man who so willingly and dismissively disparages the working population about him. It does indeed reinforce the possibility of a cadaver in the crate.

Bora Bora is a small South Pacific island northwest of Tahiti in French Polynesia. Surrounded by sand-fringed motus (islets) and a turquoise lagoon protected by a coral reef, it’s known for its scuba diving. It’s also a popular luxury resort destination where some guest bungalows are perched over the water on stilts. At the island’s center rises Mt. Otemanu, a 727m dormant volcano. ― Google