While we spent the last two weeks getting Shindig ready, the overall beauty of this tropical island, Raiatea, was not overlooked. Raiatea is the 2nd largest of the Society islands (Tahiti is the largest) in French Polynesia. The population is over 12,000 and primary economy is agricultural with exports of vanilla, pineapple and coconut. There are a mix of Polynesia descent people as well as French, and each day we greet each other with either an "Ia Orana" or "Bonjour" depending on what language emerges first. Our Spanish is complicating the mind a bit, so sometimes Nancy responds with "Si", instead of a"Merci". Generally everyone is very friendly and smiles a lot. Not a bad way of living.
Our rental car allowed us to enjoy the daily commute along the water to the boatyard. There are lots of little cars and trucks zipping by, but also slow moving locals on bicycles sharing the road. One day we took off 1/2 day and drove all around the island. The highlight was visiting the sacred Marae *(Temple) Taputapuatea, once considered the central temple and religious center of Polynesia. Priests and navigators from all over the Pacific would gather here to offer sacrifices to the gods and share knowledge. The site is over 1000 years old, and became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2017.
|Daily Commute |
|The Marae Taputapuatea |
|Western Polynesia's most significant political, ceremonial and burial site|
Paved Courtyard with large standing stone in center
|Time for Lunch|
|Simple French Lunch - Fish in Vanilla Sauce, Taro, Tropical Fruit & Rice |
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