My precious Black Pearls
05 August 2012 | Cooks Bay, Moorea, Society Islands
I woke up on Saturday, very excited about my plans for going souvenir shopping, and more importantly, finding my precious black pearls! Tom was nursing an injury and decided to stay on the boat and take care of some small chores. He was my chauffeur for the day, and dropped me off at the dock and we said goodbye.
It was a beautiful sunny day so I decided just to walk to town (needed to do an ATM) rather than hitch hike. I passed by 3 black pearl stores along the way, stopped into each one and did some comparison shopping. One gentleman even offered to loan me his car so I could use it rather than walk to the bank. I declined that offer and continued on my way to town. Just a side note, ever since landing in Polynesia, most store, shop and restaurant only takes cash, never credit card. It must be an island thing.
Once I had cash in hand, I turned around and headed back to my one number black pearl shop. It's called The Black Pearl Shop, a small mom & pop place ran by a local family and they had many huge containers full of black pearls that you could just pick right through. I was just amazed at the amount of black pearls they had, thousands and thousands of them! After talking with the two sisters, I found out that they were both born on Moorea and that their family has been on the island for generations. Once they found out I was on a sailboat, they started throwing fruit at me, not literally, thank god. They gave me bananas and pamplamouse (grapefruit) and even offered a kitten to take back to the boat with me. Ok, back to my precious. The sisters helped me pick out several beautiful pearls of different sizes and shapes. Now for the negotiations. A small banter back and forth and we came to a deal. I happily waved goodbye to the very friendly sisters and walked back to the dock. I hailed my chauffeur (Tom), by saying, Tanga Tanga Tanga, this is Queen B. He picked me up 10 minutes later. Back on Tanga, I eagerly showed Tom my precious pearls! He saw how excited I was about my precious and asked me if I wanted more. A big YES was my answer! After enjoying a glass of wine (celebrating my precious), he took me back to the dock.
This time I opted to hitch hike into town. I was immediately picked up by 3 local guys, none of which spoke a lick of English. Before they dropped me off at the Black Pearl Shop, they asked if I wanted to have a beer with them, by saying "Beer" and holding up one finger. It was nice of them to offer, but I said no. Back at the pearl shop, the girls immediately smiled, said hello, and called me over to try a piece of fruit they called "cows heart". I have never seen anything like it before and it tasted semi dull with a hint of sweetness, white inside with black seeds. Again, I began sifting through the pearls, found many more I liked, negotiated a price, even threw a few boxes of cigarettes into the deal, and had many more precious in hand. Also, the sisters sent me away with more bananas, passion fruit and a cows heart. It was a just a wonderful shopping experience that I will never forget. I hitched a ride back to the dock with a French couple. I'm really enjoying hitch hiking, it's an easy way to meet the locals and get a small taste of island life. Back on Tanga, I spread all my precious out, looking at the different hues, colors and shapes of them. Oh my precious pearls!