Thursday, July 23, 2009

back in Tahiti

I made it late Tuesday night into Papeete airport with Brian waiting in a rental car to pick me up and head the hour drive down to the boat, anchored near Teahopoo on the southwest end of the island. Brian and Eddie surfed the next morning and then Brian and I explored the small town on foot through trim non-symmetrical lawns, banana trees, and lazy small lavendar-lillied streams. The green on the hills here is so much more vibrant than the forested mountains of California and Oregon. I'd forgotten how lush and moist it is. I rejoined the local culture yesterday by eating a pre-made 8-inch baguette sandwich from the Chinese owned local grocery.
Baguettes are everywhere in Polynesia. They're as prevalent here as Burger Kings along the edges of American Highways. People take baguettes seriously, and for granted. One bakery on the island of Oa Pou, Marquesas was sold out and CLOSED by 6 am most mornings. The small island hopping airplanes deliver baguettes to the communities on the Tuomotu atolls that have no bakeries. These 3 foot long clubs of white bread aren't even all that fantastic. Granted, when fresh and hot and layered with the New Zealand butter they sell here in cans, it's a great treat. But no whole grains, just white easily compressed stuff is what you find inside their lightly crusty exteriors. Nevertheless, they are an island staple, subsidized by the French government for the dubious nourishment of its citizens. At 50 to 60 cents each they are much more affordable than the other breads available at the same artisan bread prices I see at home.

Today has been heavily overcast and drizzly off and on. It's downright cool (upper 60s or so) and the silvery water is very still. It was the perfect day to re-read a whole Madeleine L'Engle book (Ring of Endless Light) all alone while Brian takes Eddie to Papeete for his flight out tonight. Her books always make me feel contemplative and stirred up inside at the same time. She's not afraid of the evil in the world and when she writes about it, it's with sorrow and understanding mixed with hope. Her hope comes from a belief that not only in the end of time, but in the here and now, Light conquers Darkness. I hope to be like her when I grow up.

In that hope, Brian and I are looking forward to our time in Fiji. We should arrive there around the beginning of September and will be volunteering with a local YWAM organization that has children's groups for lower income kids and teenagers. To work with kids again sounds delightful to me! We also are bringing almost the last of the school supplies donated by the Burlingame High School volleyball team and many friends and family before we left California. The director of the Fiji program says that anything to help with the creativity of the kids will be great. I think the colored pencils, glue sticks, scissors, markers, and more will be just the thing! We plan to be there, on the island of Vitu Levu for over a month and I'm looking forward to getting to know a group of people and a city. In between now and then, we'll explore some more of the Society Islands (Huahine, Bora Bora, and Raeitae) before heading to Fiji via American Samoa which en route.

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