With South America in our rearview mirror, the friendly, beautiful islands of French Polynesia were eagerly anticipated. Contrasts between the two could hardly be greater. The laid back, easy living lifestyle on Fakarava Island was a very welcome change.
Fakarava Island, French Polynesia
In contrast to the aggressive hucksters in South America, these locals simply sat back in their lawn chairs, waiting for the cruise boat tourists to approach them for their wares. Some were selling homemade cookies, others fragrant flowers.
This vendor is more interested in gazing out at the ocean than working sales with the tourists at her booth. Our cruise ship is visible in the distance.
Homes at Home on an Island
While the homes on Fakarava are simple and modest, they were clean and well-kept. If their front yard was dirt and sea shells, we could see recent garden rake marks from efforts to make it tidy. No trash, no graffiti and no barking dogs.
By no means did my wife claim these three photos to be blog worthy. She questioned them even as snapshots. However, they demonstrated such a simple way of life to me. Certainly none of these Fakarava dwellings would pass muster with any construction or building codes in the States.
Simply plywood nailed up to some other boards. All is okay with this casual style, until a cyclone strikes.
Years ago when selling a house in New Mexico, we learned there are rules for the maximum height the base of a bedroom window can be from the ground. Should there be a fire, this is to allow firemen to easily enter and people inside to escape. We were in violation and so is this homeowner.
Window slat designs like those below are only found in warm climates. I think they are designed for allowing the most open air space for the least amount of window knob turning. Also, they are never thermopanes, so they are only good in warm weather.
Walking Around Fakarava Island
After a 30 minute walk from the cruise port, we arrived at a resort for some island beverages. Here the islanders laid back attitude was on full display. It took at least 30 minutes to get our beer order at the uncrowded walk-up window. We finally combined orders with some people ahead of us to get served more quickly. They were certainly on island time, plus all the tables were full. But what a beautiful place to be stuck waiting.
I’m confident I took over 20 photos at this red coral beach, different exposures, different angles and lots of seawater splashes on my lens. After a few photos, I would have to duck under a nearby palm to cool off and wipe my camera dry. The sun was simply too brutal. It was also too bright to see through my camera viewer so I would just place my camera on some coral rocks, aim and hope for the best. How else am I to pass the day away on Fakarava?
Here is the obligatory photo of over-the-water bungalows. While we headed back to the ship, some lucky travelers got to stay behind in these bungalows. Much nicer ones are on the islands of Bora Bora and Tahiti. We stayed in none of them. While they are outrageously expensive, I would liked to have rented one just to find out how the plumbing works. Do pipes run under the water, or under the wood dock to land, or are they more like motorhomes? On the other hand, I see nobody snorkeling…