29 June 2017
I thought perhaps today being "today', I would relay a story that I shared with Chuck the other night. He encouraged me and if you enjoy it, please let me know, along with your news.
I miss you all and will share vignettes of our trip if I get notice that at least some of you are enjoying them.
The day in Oa Pau, was one like the others, periodically sunny, surprised by quick, sudden showers which could leave you drenched, but warm. I had been wandering through the village searching for the various 'magasins" that would give me the provisions i was hoping to find.
As I was crossing the soccer field to the next spot, I saw a 1/2 ton with the back full of bananas still on the branch in various shades of green. I approached and two young men jumped out of the truck. They soon made it clear they were willing to part with some of their huge stock of bananas. I recognized them as two of they very fit outrigger solo paddlers that made their way at various hours of the day past the Katie G.
When they paddled it was magic. Their tattooed muscular bodies rippled and gleamed as they stroked their way through the bay. Working at the Olympics in 1976 as a physio, I put these bodies on a par. Back to the bananas. They lived by the beach in the place where they stored their canoes and told me they would meet me there rather than me hauling the bananas around town with me on my provisioning search. I continued on my way.
Soon I was confronted by a woman who I had spoken with at the very first magasin I had stopped at close to the far end of the village. She had spoken to me in French and had given me a wonderful account of the friendliness of the Canadian people when she had visited both Montreal and Vancouver. She had relayed stories of their "gentillesse" and soon was insisting I hop in her truck with her. She, she informed me, was going to take me shopping. The route was soon one I was not familiar with.
As we started down some side roads, we talked - me in my rusty French and she, babbling away about how we would get to the stores eventually. Being a trusting soul, I enjoyed my new friend and as we turned down a winding road and she proclaimed it her home. I realized what she was up to.
She soon had the truck parked and we were greeted by several dogs. She said "reste ici." So, I stayed in the truck.
She literally scurried around picking fruit and various things unknown to me from the trees and the ground. She came back to the truck with a couple of bags of food , started it up and off we flew to the other two shops.
Of course one bag had about 20 bananas in it.
Yvonne deposited me with my provisions at my dinghy. She insisted that it was too much for me to carry which of course was true at this point. We unloaded it and deposited it in the dinghy and then she immediately left and went on her way. I was sitting by the dinghy trying to figure out how I was going to relay to the two young men how I was no longer going to be a purchaser of their wares. They saw me, waved me to come over and we began to talk.
I told them that I already had been given bananas. They looked at each other and both said "Qui?" I replied "Yvonne."
Then, in complete unison, rolled their eyes, tipped their heads back , looked heaven ward and declared, " ah, Yvonne!"
I was obviously not the first to reap the blessings of Yvonne's generosity and friendliness. They made me laugh. Soon they had cracked a coconut and I was drinking the delicious coconut water. Chuck showed up and we waved him over. We enjoyed the rest of the water, the delicious meat and the warm company of these two and their other companions.
They were preparing for the races and games that were to be held later in the summer. One was already a Marquesien champion and the other his close rival but best of friends. As we travel in these islands, I find, as always, it is the people I meet that give the most joy. The beauty of landscape can be seen on a screen, a photo, and described in books and travelogues.
Hoping this find all of you well and enjoying life to the fullest.
Hugs to all.
Sv Katie G