Tuesday, December 20, 2011

On the Way Back

On our last day in the Marquesas, the ship woke up late.

We'd been docked back at Taiohae, Nuku Hiva since last night, and after Polynesian Night's festivities, I'd sat on the starboard side of the ship in the still night, grabbing the pay-ManaSpot hotspot signal that is strong on this quay, singing along quietly with the karaoke I could hear going on late upstairs on the pool deck.

By late, I mean we dragged ourselves out of bed between 7 and 8. My idea of late had changed—the sun is up early here and the day begins between 5 and 6.

Some people walked into town and some caught the bus. I got some work done in the lounge, but lots of others had the same idea and I ended up joking and chatting and did very little in the way of work.

"I'll go to the post office in Ua Pou this afternoon and use their signal," I told someone who asked if they were distracting me. The ship was sailing from Nuku Hiva to Ua Pou over lunch. That's the town where we had seen the bocce game. Kids play on the anchor rope in Ua Pou. It's a friendly place.

At Ua Pou, I headed off the ship, but in Reception, found the carver from the festival waiting for me. He had brought me a herminette, as well as brought his deliveries for the other two passengers who had bought things from him on the afternoon of the first day of the Festival of the Marquesas.

He was a master carver, with truly unique pieces. Unfortunately, the one he'd chosen for me, while nice, wasn't quite the same level of uniqueness of the one I'd coveted at the festival.

I turned the herminette around in my hand. It was interesting, all points and squares, but I loved the curved rosewood one with the horse top and the horn bottom. A man from Iowa was taking that one home.

"Is the paddle already sold?" I pointed to another intricately carved piece he'd brought on board.

"Oui." A French woman was receiving that delivery.

The man from Iowa was eyeballing the herminette earmarked for me. I had the other herminette back in the dorm, the one I'd purchased yesterday for $60. It didn't have the same meaning—I didn't know who'd carved it and it wasn't as nice as the horse one. But it was more detailed than the pointy one.

"Is this one also $250?"


"I'm going to pass."

"You definitely don't want it?" The man from Iowa's wife was interested now.

"No, I don't."


She handed over 25,000 francs.

And we were all happy.

At least, until I found out that the internet in Ua Pou was broken and I wouldn't get another chance to email in my Wanderlust blog due Friday in the UK. We'd arrive in Papeete after the end of the day in the UK, because of the time difference.

"Maybe I'll get a chance in Rangiroa on Thursday," I thought.

Fingers in a crescent, as we say in Kuwait.

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