Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lunch in Tahiti

The bus ride from the Tahiti Yacht Club to downtown Papeete is pretty quick, even at 0830. Once downtown, I picked up a rented car and drove back to the yacht club, driving very carefully as not only has it been a while since I've driven but I'm also too cheap to buy the Complete Coverage Insurance (we have the wrong credit cards). Back on the boat, I removed the empty propane tank from it's locker and loaded it, Ruthie, Corie, Corie's surfboard and all the other shore-related paraphernalia into the dinghy. Inevitably, I forget something, sometimes creating so much frustration that I say bad words.

I drove, Ruthie navigated, Corie played the ukulele and the empty propane tank rolled around in the hatch back area of the tiny Peugeot. Our friends Chris and Jessica on Namaste had told us where to find propane, not butane as is mostly used in the South Pacific. We drove to the Propane Farm but were told at the gate that we needed security clearance from the Port Captain in order to get in. Armed with French driving directions, we found the building where the Port Captain lives but there's no directory. I started trying different doors and a woman asked me what I wanted (at least, I think that's what she asked me. For all I know, she might have been making rude comments about my sloppy clothes but her face did show kindness and concern that I was going to enter someplace I wasn't supposed to be). I said, "Propane." and just then a man appeared and quickly interpreted "Gaz," on my behalf and went on to say, in English, that he was going to the same office. Amazingly, we got the security clearance, got the propane and headed south out of Papeete. Our agent had told us of a store where we could find cookware and we replaced some of our non-stick frying pans, albeit at extraordinary prices.

Continuing south along the Tahitian coast, we passed through village after village that sit at the foot of the steep, jungle-covered terrain. As lunchtime had already come and gone, we were looking for a place to grab a bite to eat. It's not that we're picky but some of the places just didn't look very appealing while a surprising number of others were closed. As we rounded one of the hundreds of curves, we could see up ahead a restaurant that looked both appealing and open. Even though it wasn't a good choice for our budget, it did serve a delightful French lunch on a wide porch that was cantilevered over one of the bays.

Perhaps the best part of lunch was dessert. Called a perfiderol, imagine a gigantic cheeseburger except the bun is made out of a sweet puff pastry. And instead of a hamburger patty, imagine a smooth, creamy homemade vanilla ice cream filling. And instead of ketchup and mustard, imagine a thick, dark chocolate sauce poured over the top of the whole thing with whipped cream on top of that. Even though it was huge (our server giggled when she delivered it), it disappeared quickly. It kind of reminded me of my new favorite ice cream bar, called Magnum: With a very dark chocolate shell (I bet it's 60% dark chocolate), it has a wonderful chocolate ice cream center. The only problem with it, other than being a complete calorie and fat overload, is that it costs over $4.00US, again, out of our budget. On the plus side (perhaps I should say 'plus size'?), it does satisfy the meanest of chocolate cravings.

Groaning and waddling from eating too much, we got back into the car and continued our circumnavigation of Tahiti. We stopped at Teahupoo, one of the most famous surfing spots in the world ("Gnarly," Corie calls it) but even though the waves were huge, there was no one out as the form was poor. She did get to catch some waves on the northeast side of the island, just before sunset. Tomorrow, we're back in the car again, this time to provision for the next four months of our adventure.
At 6/8/2011 10:21 PM (utc) Rutea's position was 17°31.37'S 149°32.15'W

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