Paradise and the poverty of imagination
Jan 20, 2010
May 20, 2010
Idyllic thatched huts over water. Check. Green blue tropic bay. Check. White sailboat. Check. Distant island with green mountain top in the clouds. Check. Sweet thick air filled with lush aromas of fruit and spice. Yep. Dang. Apparently the plane crashed and I'm dead. The scene is so clique I feel like I've been a bit lax in my imagining of paradise. But Tahiti was that. At least if you don't dig too deep into thngs. Had a great talk with the pool manager and one of his employees. They were hanging out, distributing an occasional towel to an occasional guest, playing songs on guitar and a great looking locally made ukelele. That's when you hear about 20% occupancy rates, $40 breakfasts, corrupt government officials taking over $800 million from the public coffers, and suddenly paradise doesn't seem a blissful land of contentment. But there is still the green water, the thick air, the island eager for its next close up. What a beautiful place to spend a few hours to recoop composure after an all-night flight and before another all-night flight. A quick nap in the room they let us occupy at 8 am, then off to swim in the pool, sea kayak in the lagoon, and then a bus ride into downtown to eat from the catering vans parked in the local park. Then back on the plane at 2 am. Ugh.The two flights were a study in contrasts. Tahiti Nui used a 747, while Air New Zealand went with a 767. Tahiti won on cuisine, seat size (significantly wider than Air NZ and it reclined further back), atmosphere, service, and promptness. Air NZ excelled at enumerating passenger instructions and, well, number of choices of movies. Not much of a contest. Tahiti gave everyone a little goodie bag with eye mask, hand wipes, drool guard, ear plugs, and those cool sock/slippers. NZ gave you a blanket that you really, really needed about two hours into the flight.And as quick as we got there, we were outta there. On to other adventures.