My next series is inspired by the island of Bora Bora in French Polynesia. Many new paintings are coming soon!
French Polynesia is currently closed to tourism, so I’m grateful that I was able to travel there back in August 2020. It’s difficult to talk about this trip since it was during the pandemic. I think that French Polynesia was the first country to come up with a solid tourism plan and the hotels are already built for social distancing. I was there a month after they opened and it couldn’t have gone more smoothly. It was just sad to see how hard each island was hit by the pandemic. On Moorea and Bora Bora, the boat captains slowly drove us through all of the hotels that were closed and boarded up. A storm also rolled in for a few days in Bora Bora, but it produced some epic rainbows.
Since I heavily struggled with the language barrier, I booked as many tours with the Tahitians as possible because they spoke English. My cab driver said that Tahitians learn English, French, and Tahitian in school, but she lamented how they are starting to lose their Tahitian language. She was my life saver in Bora Bora because I had no cell phone service and I couldn’t communicate with any of the French — Face masks presented a whole new level of misunderstandings because normally you can somewhat read lips when there’s a language barrier, but with no lips for the French to see, I found myself doing interpretive dances or Charades in my attempt to communicate with them. My cab driver found me wandering in the parking lot of a restaurant after one such game of Charades — I had a few strong Mai Tais because the various restaurant staff kept bringing me Mai Tais instead of calling me a cab to drop me off at my hotel, which coincidentally was named Mai Tai. And, despite my attempt-to-return-Mai-Tais-dance, I ended up drinking them to avoid offending the restaurant. Anyway, when my cab driver asked me if I needed a ride, I ecstatically yelled, “You speak English! Thank you, thank you. Please help me, I can’t drink another Mai Tai!”
I loved Bora Bora. I was pretty isolated (which, is perfect for a pandemic), but I had plenty of sharkies to play with…and, oh those glowing ocean blue colors…
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