“Tahiti sounds nice”

Day 7: Land ahoy:

Way back in the 1970’s I loved a television advertisement for Imperial Leather soap, where a woman is lying in the bath tub and calls on the intercom to the pilot, “Simon, Tahiti sounds nice.” After five days at sea, here we were facing dry (ish) land. The sunset the previous evening inspired us with hope (red sky at night, shepherd’s delight). However, there were no sheep or shepherds to be delighted.

 

Imagining a tropical oasis, as the Radiance of the Seas pulled into the harbour the illusion was shattered. Of course, you have to arrive at the docks, but it was cloudy and a sprinkling of rain greeted us as we sat on our balcony watching the manoeuvres. The ship had come in through the heads, which I had missed because I was asleep, but once in, the ship pivoted around in situ and then the captain backed it in. Being on the starboard side travelling west, all the balconies on this side of the ship were so full of guests I’m surprised the ship didn’t tip over. As we reversed in, it meant that we would be disembarking on the other side. Our SeaPass card is linked to our passports so we only had to swipe it to get on and off the ship, and show some photo identification, such as driver’s licence or passport.

From the ship we could see the city with mountains directly behind it, and coming down from the right-hand side, a stream of cars going into town for work. How the other half live! We, and probably half the people on the ship, had opted for room-service breakfast, so it arrived much later than planned, but I love ordering room-service when it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. The princess strikes again. I love not making the bed each day, and I adore having fresh towels regularly without having to actually wash them! But I digress.

The main throng of people left the ship early, but with our Newcastle buddies we went ashore just before 10 am, with the idea of hiring a minibus or such to take us around the island, despite the rain. Utilising some of my French speaking abilities, we came up with nothing. At least I was able to communicate with those who did not speak English. I found a red tropical dress that was really inexpensive, but was the wrong size. I tried it on and determined that I would be able to alter it at home, so the French Pacific francs came in handy. Many places accept American dollars also.

Our walkie-talkies have been very handy on and off the trip, and in this case when we were all at the market-place, we could keep tabs on each other. We returned to the ship for lunch as we had been told a hamburger could cost you $27, a price we preferred not to pay!

A blast from the past:

I had seen a familiar face on the ship, but Dutchy thought I imagine I know everyone, but at the market I saw the face again, so I went up to her and asked what her name was. Sure enough, it was Robyn from Tasmania, a friend of my estranged brother. She’s travelling with her daughter Jacquie and we had a great old chat. Over subsequent days we ran into each other and had many lovely conversations, both glad of the opportunity provided by a happy coincidence.

Dismal Day in Paradise:

Thank you, Dutchy, for this title for my blog post. Sometimes fantasy is better than reality, as in this case Tahiti did not come up to my expectations. Admittedly, we did not see the sights, because the rain was depressing. We had gone back to the ship for lunch and the others came to tell us they had organised a couple of taxis to go to the waterfall, but we said it might be a tad insignificant after having just been to Niagara Falls. We ended up doing some cardio at the gym and having a spa, which was most satisfactory. Our room attendant, Ahmad, from time to time would fold our towels artistically, which was always amusing.

It may have been a dismal day in Paradise, but it was a fabulously festive fun-filled evening. After our delightful dinner, and the Tahitian show, the party ended up at Karaoke. Sandy, after her Bingo win, shouted everyone a cocktail, and I think because the day hadn’t been fantastic, more than a few compensatory drinks were had by many. Even Nerida and Chris had a go, belting out Delilah, with the crowd joining in whole-heartedly. Those sort of impromptu party nights are to be remembered, at least by the ones sober enough to do so!

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