23 March 04
Kathy's journal notes, continued:
Bora Bora Peak was glorious above us
Kathy & Pam up before the sun again. Pam prepared pineapple au Jon -- slicing off the rind and then cutting the eyes out in a spiral fashion. I'd never noticed that the eyes made a spiral. I've used the technique once now, and like Pam the first time, lost rather more of the pineapple to the knife than Jon did. She also prepared a couple of grapefruit au 'Jon in the park'. Chris educated her later that this is not the way to fix it when you have the right tools at hand. We couldn't get the stove to stay lit so no coffee for breakfast.
We took the dinghy to Matira Point again, all 6 of us together, to rent bicycles and circle the island. We took our time picking out bikes with tires that had some tread, brakes that worked, etc. Then seat adjustment took a while since nobody's bike was initially right. Kathy worried that she hadn't ridden a bicycle with gears to shift in years -- and back in those days it was a one-handed operation with 10 gears. But various people re-educated her. Jon gave the most interesting and useful piece of advice -- that is, when you feel like you are working too hard, it is often better to shift into a higher gear so that your energy goes further, rather than a lower one where it is easier to push but it doesn't have as much impact. She found that to be true several times during the day. The order of the line started out Sue, Amanda, Kathy, Chris, Pam, & Jon. It stayed roughly that way though Chris changed position often -- moving up and down the line as impatience with the steady pace of the rest of us rose. We stopped often to look. There was only one big hill, where Jon announced "Right forward, left back", meaning change to a much lower gear. Having problems with right and left, Kathy did the opposite, which required a trip all the way to the bottom of the hill to try again. But she wasn't alone -- Sue also had to retry.
A break in the shade while cycling Bora Bora
At the top of the hill, we found the track up the mountain to a WW II gun emplacement. The woman in the bike shop asked us to take our bikes up with us. It was hard going to get up the first 20 feet (6m) -- steep and sliding -- like the shale Kathy learned to fear on hikes in Idaho in her youth. [Kathy had a momentary panic about how to get down.] After the shale, there was an easy trail through woods to a spot with a good view of the lagoon. We couldn't see the guns, but apparently if we'd gone further we'd have seen them. Chris took Kathy's bike down the shale for her. It was a good thing -- her panic was about to make a disgruntled llama out of her (sit and refuse to move).
One interesting little piece of joy we found tucked away was a small maritime museum. Nobody inside, just a collection bowl, and lots of beautifully intricate, hand-carved models of sailing ships, with descriptions in both French and English. It looked like a private collection. Humorously, they referred to Captain Bligh as Captain "Blight".
Wonderful French Polynesian dancers
The ride started getting very hot, at least when we were stopped without the breeze, and there were complaints of saddle sores. It was approaching shop closing time when we started looking for a place to buy lunch. We got to one without much time to spare. Lots of cold drinks, a roast chicken and long baguette, slices of pizza for the kids. We rode further looking for a place to picnic, Amanda carrying the baguette in one hand while she cycled. It got awkward when the baguette started bending. We found a place by the yacht club -- where the road ran very close to the shore. After lunch we were all hotter than ever. Pam had the bright idea of returning to the Boy Scout camp for showers. There were some grumbles because it was past the return point, but we did so anyway. The boy scout shower consisted of 3 shower heads on the outside of the building and they delivered cold water. We removed various articles of clothing and stepped under the water. What a delicious shower! In close competition with the ones Pam and Kathy had in the hotel in Tahiti.
Dinghy back to Ocelot, then moved Ocelot back to an anchorage off the bank of the big motu so that we'd be close to the Bora Bora Nui hotel for the dancing that night. Sue, Jon and Pam snorkeled, stag-horn coral, a brown nosed moray being the "catch of the day".
Men and women were both fun to watch
Amanda cooked delicious lamb curry. This was the evening when we watched the sunset thinking we might get a green flash, Chris explaining to his mother how to set the camera up to catch it. No such luck, but it was a very interesting sunset with lots of clouds and one thin gap at the horizon for the sun to sink through. After dinner and sunset, we dressed in relative finery to go to the Bora Bora Nui for the native dancing performance. The girls all had beautiful bodies, but there were several that didn't look Polynesian -- maybe some descendants of the French that settled there. They were able to twitch their rears at a speed similar to the native-looking girls, so perhaps it is early education that made the difference, not some facet of anatomy. During the audience participation time, when the dancers fetched partners from the audience, the men were especially suggestive particularly with a shy Asian woman in a blue dress. She was a good sport about being surrounded by 5 men in loincloths making thrusting motions, but it had an aura of gang bang about it.
Pam with her musician friends
After the dancing finished, Pam took Sue with her to talk to two of the older musicians about her song that she remembered from her first trip to Bora Bora. They recognized the song when she sang it and sang it with her. All three were very happy about the connection.
Pam bought us drinks to celebrate being together and her return to the place where she had her first piña colada (at least the same island, and similar hotel). Most had piña coladas -- virgin as appropriate -- Kathy sticking to white wine because of the sugar in the piña coladas.
We traveled back to the Ocelot in the dark with a flashlight to make sure others saw us. It was quite late and everyone turned in quickly. It was also airless and hot. Kathy found that sleeping on deck was much more comfortable.
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