Jul 14, 2014

Tahiti - Third Time's a Real Charm

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things
Cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little
Corner of the earth all of one's lifetime.
Mark Twain

Dancers' feet waiting to start...
I guess I misspoke when I wrote that Rurutu was our last stop in French Polynesia.  I had forgotten our needed quick return to Tahiti for our flight back to North America via Hawaii. 

We timed our return very well for we were able to participate in the first day of the Annual Arts Festival that usually precedes the Heiva (cultural festival we mentioned in previous post).  We managed to attend the opening ceremony with the welcoming of President Gaston Flosse, music, drumming, food, flowers, and dancing. 

The wonderful mamie who made my hat - Check out her head piece!!!
Dancers are getting a little...
As usual (we are told) President Flosse is late
We meandered through each and every booth to find that the art we purchased in Fatu Hiva was still the best around – pure beginner’s luck that we bought there.  At the arts festival, we saw art from all archipelagoes of French Polynesia and nothing beats Fatu Hiva’s sculptures or tapas (cloth made of bark).  On the other hand, the best hats definitely come from the Austral Islands so we lucked out (again) to purchase one once there (patience, not our strong suit, paid off).

Some of the art is getting a needed facelift, using the same weaving techniques but giving them a more modern and chic twist (Fenua Pop!).  It’s the only way these methods will not be lost forever.  Same goes for tapa and some clothing.

Handmade bags can be chic and fun
Rurutu man was on plane with us
Dancers are big yet very agile
Drums, dancers, conch shell - ready!
Finally some action
Beautiful local tattooing
Dancers line up
Crowd is dressed up too
I love this old mamie (grandma) - Handmade hat, bag, necklace, dress
Not sure about this mamie
A little scary or just a strong matriarch?
Three generations of dancers (20's, 40's, and 60's+)
New generation completely engrossed and following with her own moves 
Small girl making it on stage - she also has the moves
She's a natural
Not sure what this little girl is looking at
From Rapa one of the Austral Islands - Leader of dance group
This dance group from Rapa who happens to be the funniest and most daring
These guys are BIG...
But nice - this one gave me a smile and thumbs up after
I took his picture...
Coming to an end - packing up
Sweeping with a palm leaf
We have our last dinner with our hosts who by now have become good friends.  Afterward we go for a drive to visit the local marina, killing time until our flight departs.  We are sad to leave this place but French Polynesia is unfortunately not in our budget long term.  It is without a doubt one of the most expensive places to live in the world – PARADISE comes at a high price.  I’m extremely thankful we got to stay as long as we did – it was worth every dull or shiny penny.

We made great connections while in French Polynesia.  When we come back we have a family to stay with in Nuku Hiva who can give us access to anchoring at an island no one else can access unless invited.  When we come back to Tahiti, we have a private mooring we can use as long as we please for free, and the list goes on.  We made amazing connections we will not soon forget.

Thank you people of French Polynesia for opening your hearts, taking care of us when we needed it, sharing your incredible stories, showing us your artworks, taking the time to share many meals with us; we feel truly blessed.

What is she doing there? Our last walk downtown Papeete
This photographer is unaware of her presence...

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