"Aren't you (Tahiti Lagoons) one of the seven wonders of the paradise of painters?"

  Henri Matisse

Bonjour mes amis,

We just returned from Tahiti and I have attached some pictures of this splendid part of the world.  Not much English is spoken and it gave Gerry a nice opportunity to brush up on her French before our trip to France and Italy in May.

Everything was quite expensive but worth every franc, we enjoyed every minute, every moment.  The people were incredibly warm and friendly. The landscape and culture were off the charts. The "Mutiny on the Bounty" makes perfect sense to me for men to rebel in order to stay in such an idyllic paradise, with such beautiful women. In 1891, Gauguin the French artist sailed to French Polynesia to escape European civilization and "everything that is artificial and conventional" 

The highlight of our stay was a day trip to the island of Moorea where Gerry snorkeled with the stingrays and sharks.  ELG stayed on the boat and snapped photos and used his smart phone to purchase a life insurance policy for the intrepid Gerry.

This trip was a bit of an impulsive decision to go to a distant tropical location to get out of this brutal Scottsdale winter weather. We encountered very few Americans, mostly French and New Zealand tourists.  Unlike Hawaii, tourism is not large in French Polynesia. We had talked about another trip to Hawaii because it has been a while since we have been there.  We travelled to Hawaii frequently when we lived in Reno and twice since we moved to Phoenix and love those islands. Sadly, Molokai is the only remaining unspoiled Hawaiian Island and my personal favorite. 
French Polynesia seemed to offer more intrigue and adventure and we were not disappointed.

French Polynesia embraces a vast ocean area strewn with faraway outer islands. Locals told us that each island has a mystique of its own. The 118 islands and atolls are scattered over an expanse of water 18 times the size of California, though in dry land terms the territory is only slightly bigger than Rhode Island. 

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