Marie Jo, the taxi lady, met us at the landing.
Wrapped in purple sarong, a huge white hibiscus tucked behind one ear, she greeted us with a warm hug.
The Marquseans are an incredibly handsome people.
Tall and strong boned, big open faces, wide white smiles and the brownest ,smoothest skin you can imagine.
We liked Marie Jo, instantly.
It was also immediately clear that the ladies here on Hiva Oa run the show; Marie Jo had the kind of take charge, I'm a gonna tell you exactly what you need to do and how it needs to be done and Im gonna mama-hen, boss-lady, charm you into doing exactly, what I say.
We were happy to be helplessly under her spell.
We climbed into her truck and joked and chatted with her in our limited French and tried to pick up some words in Polynesian.
The Marquesans speak a general Polynesian dialect , as well as Maquesan, a local HIva Oa tongue, French, Tahitian, and some English.
Of course, Jon managed to learn how to flirt in Polynesian in about ten seconds ( which went over REALLY well with Marie Jo) so, between that and the kids being absolutely adorable we had ol' Marie Jo wrapped around our pale white pinkies pretty quickly, too.
She dropped us off at the inn and we agreed to meet her the next morning to go to town for the local organic market and she also arranged to pick up our eight tons of laundry and take care of it for us. Other cruisers had told us this would be staggeringly expensive ( as compared to having it done in Mexico) but one of the perks of cruising is I CANNOT do laundry after a big crossing, because there is simply too much and we don't have the fresh water for it. Too many wet towels and sheets and bedding and so it MUST be washed and dried and folded by someone else. YIPPEE!
We wandered into the inn and it was empty except for our waiter/ress, a gorgeously, camp, Poly-Drag Queen. She was a thing to behold, for sure. Polynesian men are extremely well built and muscular, with huge strong faces and great big, dramatic eyes and they don't look in the least effeminate but that didn't stop our beauty from wearing a little sequin leotard number under a demure waiter uniform of black stretch pants and a blue golf shirt.
She also had plenty of blue eye shadow and a big white hibiscus behind one ear.
Well, the Hollywood in me felt right at home- I do love me some drag queen- and we spent dinner laughing and giggling in my limited French, over the fact that there was no pizza ( "no cheese, coming on the boat tomorrow") or steak or fish, or anything else on the menu, so she suggested a bottle of white wine for Jon and I and Kai wolfed down a local dish of goat in curry sauce-which was totally fabulous. They were out of everything else, so we just sat and drank and our waitress kept the kids happy with ice creams while Jon and I had a moment to ourselves to sit and toast this new adventure. When it was time to go, our waitress decided we shouldn't walk back on the road with plenty of wine in our bellies but no food, so she got the owner to give us a ride back to our boat. I would have gone out dancing with her after dinner ( i could have matched her sequin for sequin, too, if Jon would only have let me go back to the boat and change) but in the end, I had to admit, I was just too totally bushed.
The next day was a wonderful market and we bought baguettes and and real French brie and all kinds of exotic local organic fruits. The port captain was busy with the big ship coming in to resupply the town, so we had to delay check in for one more day.
Oh well, I think I can happily handle one more day of Hiva Oa.
We returned to the boat that afternoon after a quick rinse of in an outdoor shower by the pier that comes directly from the river above us. Fresh, warm, tropical rain water, so soft you didn;t have to use conditioner and your hair looked like a shampooo comercial when you were ifnished. No wonder the people here are so good looking!
We climbed aboard, fresh and clean, with piles of goodies. I am in my element with the addition of tropical fruits and veg and when combined with French specialties like, excellent Pate and Foie gras...I am downright inspired to cook again. This is a big relief to my skinny, skinny crew who had to make do with not much more than Ramen and crackers on the passage.
For dinner, we have coconut rice and Thai barbecue chicken and spicy ginger garlic beans from the freshly picked asian green beans I found at the market today. I pack away all our new fresh food with loving tenderness, passion fruit and starfruit, and something very big and spiky that I can't explain, only that it looks like what is called "ugly fruit" in Thailand but has wonderful, sweet syrupy honey, melon, citrus pulp inside. There are lovely tomatoes and romaine lettuce and real French mustard and I found black olives and potatoes. Tomorrow for lunch, there will be Salad Nicoise and vischysoise, because I found leeks, today, also... and those perfect long baguettes and freshly made Brioche-perfect with a cans of sweet butter and our own homemade strawberry jam...
People tell us this is the least beautiful of these islands.
I cannot believe this for one second. Who ever said this must have been crazy-or perhaps they were just trying to keep a very good thing, secret.
Anyplace this gorgeous, with warm open smiles, tropical fruits and Drag queens... is my kinda place.