Published: January 19th 2007January 17th 2007
Gene and I decided that we would spend our final day on the Tahitian Islands learning about its history and culture, so we booked two tickets on the tour bus. Little did we know, we were hopping on the bandwagon of old fogies. On a better note, our tour guide turned out to be a very educated Tahitian woman with broken English, but a mad sense of humor. She went to school for accounting and spent time studying in Fiji. She claims that she is still in the process of mastering the English language, her 4th language. She originally worked in an office as an accountant for a period of time, but later determined to take a 50% pay cut to drive a tour bus and meet people from all the world. Her motto: “Just go with the flow.”
Facts I learned in Tahiti:
- Tahiti is the youngest of the Oceana Islands, the original name of the island chain before the French renamed it the Polynesian Islands;
- There are numerous religions on the island as a result of the immigrants that migrated from all over the world;
- 28% of Tahitians on the island are unemployed;
- There are numerous Protestant and Catholic schools and churches on the island;
- Every tree, flower, crop, livestock, etc. on the island came from other countries or the other islands;
- There are over 300 species of bananas on the island;
- There are over 600 species of hibiscus on the island;
- Coral can only grow in water less than 30 feet deep and creates white sand beaches;
- 98% of the beaches on the island of Tahiti are black sand beaches;
- Many locals bury their dead in cemeteries on Tahiti as opposed to the other islanders who bury their dead in their front yards;
- The colors of pearls depend on the amount of light that each pearl is exposed to.
For those of you who know me well, you will be familiar with my soft spot for animals, even those that are stuffed. My heart was repeatedly broken over the large number of stray and hungry dogs that roam the island. The bus made several pit stops and I encountered two pups in particular, starving for not only food, but affection. The first of my two encounters involved a little black mutt who had a halo of flees and ticks surrounding its body. I looked at it
with pity, wanting more than anything to pet it and show it the attention it yearned. However, the last thing I needed on top of my 15 mosquito bites was a case of fleas. The pup must have sensed my warmth because it quickly approached me over the others nearby. It broke my heart not to pay it any attention, so I quickly boarded the bus. The minutes ahead consumed me and I couldn’t focus on anything other than the starved and lonely dog.
At one of our next, I encountered another dog with an injured paw and visible ribs. Soon after we had exited the bus, the rain turned to a downpour and, after taking a few quick pictures, Gene and I quickly re-boarded the bus. Still feeling guilty about denying the first pup my attentions, I grabbed a banana that I took from the dessert buffet at lunch and got off the bus in the pouring rain to feed my new friend. Unfortunately, he had already strayed from the area and I was left jogging in the pouring rain to find him. I found him standing by the road, hesitant to cross with his broken paw. I
obtained his attention by yelling like a fool in what most humans consider to be doggy language. As I threw him the pieces of my banana, he tumbled onto his stomach in a frenzy to get it with his broken paw. Even though my heart sunk for the poor pups, I somehow felt redeemed as I stood in the pouring rain feeding the dog the last of my banana. As I threw the peel off to the side, I watched him scramble for the peel and devour it. Feeling again guilt-ridden, I headed back to the bus drenched from head to toe and again consumed by the thoughts of my helpless friend.
There are more photos below