What do you mean you haven’t been to Tahiti?

I grew up in the Soviet Union. Visiting places like Tahiti or the Bahamas, tropical wreckage pieces of European Empires, was a recurring theme in Soviet humour and satire. The heading of this post is an example of one such bitter joke. Back in the days, this question would be asked with infinite irony, for an obvious reason – the chances of the average Soviet citizen to visit Tahiti were about the same as your chances to go to the Moon. People have been there, it is theoretically feasible but the practical possibility of you ever getting there is zero.

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Needless to say, when I was booking a RTW ticket my first question was – will it get me to Tahiti? And the next question was – why was I going there? Well, I was going there to work. A few weeks before we went on our RTW trip I’ve accidentally stumbled across WWOOF – Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Never expecting to find anything, I’ve checked whether there are any opportunities for volunteering on an organic farm in French Polynesia (Tahiti is in French Polynesia, in case you wondered). To my great surprise there was a place called Kamoka. It was a pearl farm.

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In my life I’ve done dozens of jobs, being pretty much anything from a journalist to a geohydrologist to a gardener. But even in my wildest dreams I’ve never imagined I would one day be farming pearls. Our help was welcome at Kamoka, all we had to do was give Laurent, the farm manager, a call a couple of days before arrival and he would pick us up at the local airport. And so we did. When we arrived at Ahe atoll, the location of Kamoka farm, there was an airport, a farm manager and a farm, but none of all this looked as you’d normally expect it to be. But thinking of it, it all did look quite as an airport, a farm manager and a farm should look like on a tiny atoll in a remote corner of the Pacific Ocean.

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As promised, it was no Club Med. But I can think of no Club Med where for lunch you can eat parrot fish you’ve caught 3 minutes ago, where you take a boat ride to the middle of the atoll at midnight to go skinny dipping miles from shore, where you make coconut milk from coconuts you’ve gathered, where to get your dinner you dive among dozens of sharks, where the ocean is your dishwasher and laundromat, where you find out there are 17 ways to prepare chicken with just soy sauce and onions or where you have to use a pan as a shaving mirror. In short, I can think of no Club Med in the world where you can have so much fun.

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Filed under Round-the-world trip, Travel

3 responses to “What do you mean you haven’t been to Tahiti?

  1. Aba eben

    Nice, when was it?

  2. Pingback: Am I practicing what I preach? Hell yeah! | Small European Country

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