Category Archives: Tahiti

reading books by Vago Chris Damitio

How Not To Enjoy World Travel – Part 2

This is the second part in an ongoing series about how to have the worst time possible during your world travels. Here is the link to part 1.

http://www.vagobond.com/2010/09/how-not-to-enjoy-world-travel-part-1/

reading books by Vago Chris Damitio
Reading can show you the world. Is that one of my books she's reading?

4. Don’t Read
To me, reading is an essential part of travel. As far as I’m concerned, if you are one of those people who ‘doesn’t like to read’ than you are one of those people who should stay home and not travel.

Don’t read anything about the country of place you are going to. That way you won’t understand the culture, the traditions, the history, the climate, or anything else. You will be able to have a completely one dimensional experience. If you should read, for example, about how it is rude to point the bottoms of your feet at someone in Thailand, then you’ll miss out on the ass kicking that results when the kick-boxer tells you to stop pointing your feet at him and you continue to do it. You wouldn’t want to miss that.

Or if you read, you might feel compelled to go fifteen kilometers out of your way on the way between Seattle, Washingon and Vancouver, British Columbia and visit the remote and gorgeous Scenic Hot Springs. Wouldn’t that suck?

Don’t read on your trip. Don’t discover that Mark Twain stayed in the same hotel you are visiting in Honolulu (The Moana Surfrider) or that the lovely looking picnic spot in Cebu, Philippines is where Lapu Lapu ate a famous explorer. Who needs to know details like that?

Ferdinand killed by Lapu Lapu
A nice spot for lunch...unless you are Magellan

Don’t read when you are stuck at the airport. It’s much better to just sit and get angry at the workers or eat overpriced food. Don’t read at the beach because it’s much better to sit there wondering what to do now that you are done swimming.

Yes, if you don’t want to enjoy world travel, it is essential that you not read.

5) Don’t talk to anyone unless you have to

Hiking in the Sierra Nevada
Talking to people can lead to destroying your boredom

If you want to have horrible and meaningless travels, don’t talk to anyone unless you have to. Don’t talk to the man next to you on the airplane or bus, he might be a Chinese businessman who would invite you to visit his home and stay with his family.

Don’t talk to the guy who works at the hotel unless you need towels or directions. If he thinks “Hey, this is a nice person” he might actually tell you someplace that he doesn’t recommend to every other rude tourist. You might end up going to a tiny temple in Penang, Malaysia instead of going to the big one that has eighteen tourist buses outside it.

Don’t talk to people in the street. They might try to sell you something. They might want to practice English with you. They might want to share a bit of their culture or learn something about yours. Wow, wouldn’t it be a bummer if that Indonesian guy learned that the USA is not just like Bay Watch and Jerry Springer? Don’t talk to him.

batak guitar man in Medan, Indonesia
If I hadn't talked to him, I would have missed him singing Imagine

Just imagine if he saw your guitar and ended up teaching you a local favorite song.

If you want to NOT enjoy your travels, do not talk unless you need something.

6) Don’t learn any of the local language

sexy Japanese girls
By all means, don't speak Japanese to these girls

Finally, if you want to be absolutely certain that you don’t enjoy your world travel, pretend your a British Colonist and refuse to speak the local language.

Don’t say Tarima Kasih in Indonesia, don’t ask where to get the gonggongcheecha in China, don’t say Yvet in Turkey, don’t show the grocer in Barcelona you can understand the uno, dos, tres, don’t speak French in Paris (I found Parisians to be very gracious about my bad French), don’t say shukran in Morocco, kapcun kap in Thailand, daijobu in Japan, bollacks in England, dude in California, wienerschnitzel in Germany, or Mahalo in Hawaii.

Chief witch in Sikihor
Despite his shirt, the chief witch of Siquihor speaks no English

Speaking the language encourages people to learn about you, to teach about their culture, to make friends, to have relationships, to even fall in love. There is nothing miserable about any of that. So if you want to Not enjoy the world of travel…don’t speak the local language.

Got more tips about how to NOT enjoy world travel, why not leave a comment below or send your tips to me using the contact form.

the good life in Tahiti

Discovering Tahiti Part III

Here is the final installment of our trip to Tahiti….
Punatea Village

On our second to last day in Tahiti, we flew back to Papeete where we rented a car and drove south on Tahiti Nui. Tahiti is beautiful and surprisingly undeveloped, this is especially true when you compare it to the tourist infrastructure that exists on Oahu.

bounty tahitiWe visited Point Venus where Captain Bligh, Fletcher Christian, and The Bounty first visited this idyllic land. Driving further south we were surprised by the lack of signage for what in Hawai’i would have been major tourist stops.

Papeete TahitiAs a result, we missed the leper colony and decided we would rather continue driving than stop at the Nordhoff and Hall museum. We stopped and made sandwiches while watching local kids catch waves and then continued South to Teaheapoo, Tahiti’s most famous surf town. We thought we had lucked out when we found a small cottage for rent next to a scenic pier. We went to get groceries and when we returned found that the manager had made a mistake and already rented it to someone else before we had arrived. He arranged for us to stay at Punatea Village on the East shore of Tahiti Iti. The smaller islet connected to Tahiti Nui by a narrow isthmus of land. We arrived a Punatea shortly before sunset and enjoyed an ice cold Hinano on the porch of a modest bungalow room. For the first time since we had arrived, it rained. It had, we later found out, been raining in Hawai’i the entire time we had been gone.

the good life in Tahiti

After a restful nights sleep, we ate a decent breakfast and decided to continue our circuit of Tahiti. The rain of the night before had created incredible waterfalls that seemed to fall into the midst of simple villages. The rainbows that burst from the sides of steep pali seemed to clothe crumbling huts in vivid pastel colors. Needless to say, we were entranced. I think we both felt that we had never been anywhere quite so beautiful as Tahiti Iti after a night of pouring rain.

The rest of our circuit was a mad dash to see what little roadside attractions exist in Tahiti. The Gauguin Museum was difficult to find as graffiti had completely obfuscated the sign pointing to it. No one had bothered to repair it. The dismal Lagoonarium connected to Captain Bligh’s restaurant smelled of stale urine and was made of hopeful 1970′s plaster of paris ferro concrete and dirty sand. It was a bit like visiting one of those horrible zoos that you find in third world countries. Tahiti’s best value, or maybe not.

church in TahitiThe Museum of Tahiti and her Islands had also seemingly been constructed in a wave of tourist optimism combined with French nuclear guilt in the 1970′s and then abandoned. The strangest part of all these ‘tourist attractions’ was that we seemed to be the only tourists to visit them. They were more vacant than the eyes of a junkie. Keep in mind, while these were somewhat dismal attractions, they were the ONLY attractions, per se. So it was quite a surprise to find no one but us willing to visit them.

Along the road we stopped for Chaud Mace (boiled chestnuts), rambutans, and pickled mango (we think). We opted to not buy any of the tons of fish which vendors lazily hawked to passersby. Our trip ended with a lovely dinner at the International Resort and some surreptitious views of the Captain Bligh Musical Review that was being performed there. We were fortunate enough to be able to catch the accidental sinking of the canoes that came out to welcome The Bounty. I’m guessing the ancient Tahitians were better seamen.

fishponds in Tahiti

Discovering Tahiti part II

During our stay at Pension Vaihonu, we took a tour of Huahine Nui and Huahine Iti. It is worthwhile to note that Huahine means variously ‘pregnant woman’ and ‘penis woman’ from the Tahitian words Hua (penis) and (wa)hine (woman). You can see the reason for this in these pictures. First a pregnant woman lying down (head to the left) and then the hua that got her pregnant (head at the top)

On the tour we learned about one of Huahine’s major exports, Vanilla. I had no idea how complex the growing, propagation, and preperation of it was. On the flight back to Hawaii there was an excellent article about it in Hawaiian Airlines in flight magazine Hana Hou.
fishponds in Tahiti
Also on the tour we visited some still in use ancient fish traps, a stream filled with sacred blue eyed eels that the locals say purify the water so that it is fresh and clean. A local girl and her dogs volunteered to get in the water and played with the eels while we were there.

Huahine in beautiful and not really developed. We were staying close to the village of Fare and used bicycles to get back and forth from there to Chez Vaihonu. In Fare we used the internet one day and noticed that the locals like to hang out on the balconey and watch the peole go by. We joined them. There were several excellent food trucks in Fare and we enjoyed crepes and the favorite local dish Poisson Croux, a delicious marinated fish. One evening we met a couple of local guys and sat with them in the bar where they both broke into tears while telling us about their relative who had joined the US Marines and gone to Iraq.

Flowers in TahitiStrange to see grown men weeping. Mink gave one of them a kleenex and he wasn’t sure what to do with it for a while. The older of the two men lives on an unclaimed sandbar between Huahine Iti and Huahine Nui. They were friendly, if somewhat too exuberant and effusive. After three nights near Fare we woved to Huahine It is for our final night in Huahine at Pension Mauarii .

This was a wonderful little oasis filled with hibiscus flowers, gardens, a great restaurant (complete with huas on the bannister) and kayaks. We kayaked in the beautiful bay, had a delicious meal, and slept in a huge bed under a very nice mosquito net.
more to come…