Jun 14

Tahitian Kindness

Tag: UncategorizedJonathon Haradon @ 10:14 am

This must start with Jerome, who while not Tahitian, still must top the list of kindness that I have encountered here.  Jerome is a couch-surfer.  Or more to the point he has couch-surfed before and now, being in the land of Paradise, hosts other couch-surfers.  I found him on couchsurfing.org, which I signed up on two days before my flight to Tahiti.  He, and another couple both replied nearly immediately that I was more than welcome to stay at their place for a few days.

What an incredible resource!  For all those travelers out there who say that want a more intimate experience, more contact and connection with locals, more exchange of culture, more of an insider’s view into some new place,  I can’t think of a better way than by staying with someone who actually lives there.  The experience seems so much different than staying in a hostel with other travelers.  And while that also provide its own benefits, mainly an excited sense of immediacy to do as many things as possible now, I feel like you just can’t beat a local’s perspective and knowledge of the area.

He has taken me to the beach, which interestingly enough, there are not that many of in Tahiti.  The postcard beaches are mainly reserved for other islands.  He provided me with snorkeling gear to use there, and my first time snorkeling in over a decade was fantastic.  He didn’t join in because it was overcast and 80 degrees, instead of the usual sunny and 85 degrees.  I told him he was spoiled and jaded.

Jerome owns his own jet-ski and so despite another day of overcast weather, I think he sensed my excitement to go and so three of us went ripping out over the lagoon and into the ocean.  It was in the ocean where it was truly fun, as Jerome piloted us over waves, jumping into the air and crashing down, more than once nearly knocking me off.  And then on our return to his place he topped 80 km/hour, skimming the flat lagoon and plowing into the light drizzle that had started.  Yes, even in paradise it rains.  In fact it has rained every day I’ve been here.

So thank you Jerome, for a great start to my trip.

At the market yesterday, I wanted to buy some breakfast and eyed some bananas.  I asked how much for two of them.  Apparently however, you are supposed to buy them in bunches of 6 or 7 and I wasn’t up for that much banana.  I smiled sheepishly as I tried to communicate, a poor attempt I’m sure as I know about two dozen words in French and no Tahitian.  The young, pretty, Tahitian smiled back, and she waved that I could simply have them.  Free breakfast!  Thank you Tahiti.

At a pier-side cafe, watching World Cup Soccer, a few Tahitians struck up a conversation with me.  Luckily they spoke English and we chatted about soccer, the weather (we had all escaped from the downpour that was deluging us) and Tahitian life.  They asked many questions about my trip and I tried my best to make myself understood.  It would be very nice to know how to speak French.  

They also told me, much to my chagrin, that the cargo ship I am taking today may or may not be leaving.  Apparently there is a strike going on with the fireman and some dockworkers.  I knew this, actually, as when my plane was above Tahiti they came on the intercom and said they were trying to negotiate a landing for us.  Negotiate a landing for us!?!? Not exactly what one wants to hear when circling your destination.

A short time later, my bill for my coffee disappeared, and in it’s place was another one, again with no bill.  Timmy and Joe had picked up my coffees and were now offering me donut-like rolls, insisting I take not just one but three or four.  I had to accept.  A couple of minutes later, I asked them how to eat some strange small fruit I had bought a couple dozen of from the market.  They laughed when I motioned in question as to whether or not I could bite into it.  No, no, you must tear it open and the fruit was inside.  They kindly turned me down when I offered them some, happy to simply give and not receive.  Tahitian kindness. Thank you Tahiti!

2 Responses to “Tahitian Kindness”

  1. Vicki (MOM) says:

    Wow! Jonathan, you made it to Tahiti!! Loved your posts. Great to hear of the Tahitian kindness shown to you. That speaks volumes for the people there! Looking forward to seeing you in about 6 weeks. Sandy & I plan to leave on 7/23 & meet the 3 of you on the 24th or 25th. Don’t know how that will work yet. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. Please give hugs to my wonderful daughter & Matt. He’s wonderful, too! I miss them both! Vicki

  2. Brett says:

    Sent you a couple of beers as congratulations for re-joining the adventure!

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