Tatoos and Island Tours
28 July 2008 | Bora Bora
Nobu and I got up early today to edit a little video together from the raw footage he shot underwater yesterday. It turned out nice with a soundtrack including a local Bora Bora tune and a Crystal Method track. We burned Nobu a DVD of all of the photos from our travels together as he packed.
Once we had things wrapped up aboard we headed to the main town on Bora Bora, Viatape. Nobu was set on getting a Marquesas style tattoo in French Polynesia before he left. He looked at a shop in Tahiti that he had a recommendation for but once you get a tattoo you have to stay out of the salt water. That is hard to do in French Polynesia. Best get the tattoo on the last day. The Tahiti guys recommended a fellow named Marama on Bora Bora. Marama had won the international tattoo competition the prior year and seemed a good choice.
So we tied up in the back corner of the main tourist boat dock and began asking around for Marama. He was down by Matira Point, a good 4 miles south of town as it turned out. A cruise ship was in the harbor and there were no buses, taxis, goats or other conveyances to be had. So we started hiking and hitching along the way. Just out of town a wonderful lady picked us up. As luck would have it she lived right next to Marama!
At Marama's shop Nobu looked over the art work samples and gave the thumbs up. Marama asked if he wanted a tattoo and Nobu said let's do it. Little did we know that this just doesn't happen. Marama it so popular that he is typically booked for days if not weeks. Every other person that came in after us (and there were many) was turned away with a quote of next week. There must have been a cancelation or something but luck and serendipity was not to end there.
Nobu would be busy for the next few hours so Hideko and I walked down the beach to the Hotel Maitai, a small but nice place on the water with a few obligatory overwater bungalows and a nice beach restaurant. Shortly after ordering some lunch Hideko exclaimed, "that is Patrick". Patrick was the Polynesian priest who had married us on Motu Tapu three years before! I couldn't believe it. I went over to say hi and he greeted us warmly. He was with his daughter who was visiting for the summer.
Patrick is the ambassador to Bora Bora as far as we are concerned. He knows the traditional cuisine, the history, the people, the tourist spots and the cultural ones and just about everything else you could imagine. He has 4x4 tour trucks and great outrigger boats. He arranged an awesome dance and music troop for our wedding as well as an Ahima'a feast.
I dared to ask if he was available to show us around the island so that Nobu would have one good tour of the place before his flight. Not only did he take us on an amazing tour, including some fantastic vistas from his family property but he wouldn't let me even pay for gas at the end of it! If this is Polynesian hospitality I wish the whole world was Polynesian.
We wrapped up the trip at the town dock. We said a fond farewell to Patrick and promised to catch up with him again before we left. Then we walked Nobu over to the free airport ferry at the town dock. Hideko and I were both very sad to see Nobu go. It was a tough goodbye and we will both miss his bright smile.