Out and about again

The last two days the weather has been gorgeous, a cool breeze and azure blue skies, so we took our dinghy up Faaroa river, the only navigable river in French Polynesia. We passed through lush vegetation, lots of gardens with bananas, bread fruit, papaya, manioc, soursop, etc. A man waved us to his garden and we bought a big stack of bananas, got some papayas for free and a plant we’d never seen before: Iliam – purple and green leaves that are cooked like spinach.
Yesterday we got our backpacks out to get our wobbly limbs moving again. Walking up the road towards a pass we were soon huffing and puffing and decided to hitch-hike up the mountain and to only walk back down. The locals in Raiatea are great and the first car stopped when we struck our thumbs out. Up on the pass we were a bit disappointed, the view wasn’t great, so why not walk down the other side, take a look at the southern coast and hitch back? We walked 5 km down to a lovely bay. There was still quite some traffic, so why not see a bit more of the coast? We got another ride to the next village on the southeast side and a bit beyond where not less than 21 water falls tumble down from the steep mountain (as our driver pointed out when he stopped for a photo session for us ;-) ). Now that we were already back on the east coast we thought it’d be easy to hitch back up on the coastal road, but alas, no hitch-hiking without cars. We walked for more than an hour (5 km) without anybody passing by, then a rental car with tourists, but these never stop (maybe thinking something like ‘pay for your own car you hobos’). Finally a local pickup stopped, but it only took us 1 km to the next little village. After walking another 4 km (there’s big signs announcing each km), we finally got lucky: another pick-up stopped and the young Polynesians were willing to take us all the way up to our bay. When we passed a large religious site, they stopped and urged us to visit the marae (ceremonial platform) in Opoa while they waited for us :-)
We saw about 45 km of the island and were quite exhausted, this excursion was a bit more than we had planned for our first day out after the dengue, but it was worth it ;-)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.