Continued from Stranded in Paradise Part 1
The fishing boat whisked us off from the airport across the blue lagoon. We were on Bora Bora, considered the most beautiful island in the world, a place so far removed from California, so exotic (we hope!) that we just are slacked jawed.
An even smaller Le Truck than on Papeete picked us up at the boat dock and drove us on a narrow one lane road to The Hotel Bora Bora which was on the opposite end of the island. We had only seen small photos from a brochure that our travel agent gave to us that don't do justice to what we were seeing with our eyes. Driving along this road there were shacks with laundry on lines blowing in the light breeze. Those shacks were someones humble home, quite different from any home I had seen. They were small and raised up off the ground, but I didn't see any people around. In fact it was very quiet here. Where was everyone?
We drove up to the entrance of the hotel which is in the Hale style of using coconut palm thatch on the roof and other native wood material on the outside. Swaying coconut trees are everywhere. My eyes looked up to the incredibly clear blue sky and out to the water to see shades of blue I had never seen before. Could there ever be a more beautiful sight? Inside it was open air with high lofty ceilings that you see the coco palm thatch from the underside as well as the structural beams with lacquered finish. No glass windows anywhere.
"Ia Orana" which is hello in Tahitian, was warmly said with soft clear voices as we entered the lobby. The Tahitians are such happy looking people with smiles freely given. They have no airs (or at least they didn't) which allows you to feel quite comfortable when you know you stand out like a tourist.
As much as we wished and wanted to be in the over the water bungalows we simply didn't have the money to afford one. Those rooms were away from the shore by taking a boardwalk out over the lagoon. Each room has a clear glass floor area inside where spotlights can be turned on to see the many colorful fish at night. Our bungalow is right off the beach. The room was not fancy and was dark inside. Still what a view...we quickly got out of our traveling clothes and into our swimsuits. It was time to explore!
My Love was anxious to go snorkeling and he grabbed his fins and snorkel that he had brought from home. He started off from in front of our bungalow but we discovered our beach was quite windy. So with that we went to the front desk and asked if there was a bungalow in a less windy spot. We moved later that day to the other side of the hotel and had a better bungalow in the end. Much less wind and the room seemed nicer. A hammock to swing in in the shade for me and a calm beach to snorkel from for my Love.
I remember both of us dragging our lounges out into the water to the level that while laying down the water would keep our backsides cool. With the humidity, that sensation was oh so lovely. I laugh now, but I know I looked down after having my eyes closed for a cat nap and saw all these little fish around my lounge. I was such a baby when it came to fish and the ocean! I was freaked out. Of course you are thinking how could you go to this tropical paradise and be afraid of the fish and the water? I just couldn't get my head around it. I loved knowing that my Love was having the time of his life. I loved him coming back to me and telling me about all the colorful fish he saw. How he saw a huge eel that kept coming in and out by the over the water bungalows in the coral. He would try to encourage me but I just couldn't release my inner fear.
What to do in paradise....we rode bikes around part of the island one day. Most of the time we felt like we were the only ones there. We went by beaches where not a soul was. Our hotel was isolated from the area where the hotels were which was closer to the airport. Those places seemed huddled together even though there were just a few of them at that time. Back when we were visiting, there were no car rentals, just bikes. Here in this paradise we simply did nothing and you use your imagination.
You have no idea how hard it is to do nothing. We had to give into "Tropo-time" as it was called. Our only way of knowing the time was if we felt hungry. We had all our meals at the hotel since there were no restaurants near us, which would explain why our meals were part of package. The food was excellent. We would be lolling on the beach and look at each other..."is it near lunch?". Were our stomachs growling? Was the sun getting lower?
The place was not full and we all seemed to eat at the same time. We would casually stroll in (I don't know how we knew when it was meal time) and sat down. I don't think we chose what to eat, the food just came. On the first morning of our stay, I asked for a glass of milk. The lovely young Tahitian smiled at me radiantly. They all seemed to have such beautiful straight white teeth. She repeated back to me "milk". Yes, that was what I would like. The milk didn't come. I asked again. She did the same thing by saying "milk" and smiling. I was getting annoyed until we were politely told there was no milk on Bora Bora. There were no cows and it was too expensive to bring over. With that we learned that the staff spoke very little English let alone understood it.
In the lobby area we saw photos taken from when the movie Hurricane was filmed. We found out that many of the employees of the hotel were extras for the film. Well how about that!
On our fourth day in paradise we were told we all were going to have to leave the hotel. The employees had decided to go on strike. Strike? Apparently since the movie was filmed and released the employees were unhappy with how much money they were being paid. They want more. My Love and I are justifiably upset. Where will be be moved to? We don't want to leave this shangri-la! We were told we would all be taken to the Hotel Marara which was built by Dino De Laurentiis when he could not find a hotel for all the actors and others working on the film. If that information was to make us feel better it didn't. We left our little bungalow and were driven to our new accommodations for the remainder of our time on Bora Bora. We were even less than happy since this resort was so new the vegetation hadn't had a chance to grown in. Each bungalow was on a barren slope and there were many of them. The Hotel Marara was a much larger resort with less Tahitian charm and it was busy. They tried to please us but there was nothing they could do (except have offered us over the water bungalows, which they didn't). We made the most of the awkward transition and fell back into our Tropo place.