Heiva (part III)

Almost as soon as it had begun, it was over! Hard to believe that the heiva was officially closed last friday. All of the dance prizes went to Moerai this year (and there are a lot of them, so it's a bit surprising, it's resulted in a lot of grumbling about the whole thing being a fix, what with the mayoral elections coming up, and the Association running the heiva being steered by the mayor's wife!!!). The time has passed without my noticing or blogging, I guess it's because we've been busy with guests and have been more or less without internet this past month. I'm not sure what sort of internet demons we're dealing with here, but we only seem to have connection during the evenings and even then just fleetingly......as always internet/computer problems put me in a really bad mood, it feels like my only connection with the world and I feel like I might drift away into space without it!


Heiva (part II)

I just can't help feeling rather festive at the moment what with all the heiva excitement, the whales are here and the kids are on holiday...
....we went down to Moerai, to the festival ground by the harbor last week, to check out the taro-pounding competition, as well as the fecculent weighing. A good time was had by all!


Flowers from my Garden

This miniature rose thrives in our front beds, hidden amongst wild ferns, the bright pink flowers poke out through the tropical greenery, it looks strangely wild and beautiful (until our goats find them and eat the lot!). The flowers remind me of home, just like scones with jam and cream. Unfortunately, other larger roses don't thrive so well, between the two introduced, and extremely hungry, leaf-beetles (the Japanese and Chinese rose beetles) they generally end up looking like doilies!

Softly petals fall
whispered rain on mossy rock.
A summer's last breath


14th of July

On a fabulously sunny 14th of July Tuati became the new horse-race champion of Rurutu! He beat his uncle by a good two seconds and set a new course record in a thrill filled final, on the beach in Avera,
under an azure sky and the shadow of Manureva!
It's been quite a year for him, and he will be heading to Tahiti to continue his schooling in August, after getting his junior highschool Diploma here in Rurutu.......well done Tuati!


Heimana is Two

In amidst the heiva festivities we found some time to celebrate Heimana's birthday, with her sibs and cousins. The balloons and candles were a great hit!



It's officially started! The heiva, our annual cultural celebration has begun. It kicked off on friday with the raising of the flags and a parade headed by Miss Rurutu, complete with decorated floats and torch-bearers, followed by a much-anticipated fireworks display. I packed two warmly dressed and impossibly excited little girls off in the car with papa friday evening, as I stayed home to man the kitchen..... Heimana succumbed to sleep before the fireworks display began, but Matotea was enchanted!
Saturday it was the fruit-bearers race and the stone-lifting, and I got to go along too.
Tonight the tarava, traditional song competition......thursday the horse race, counting down!


Ten Reasons Why I like Living in Rurutu: #8

Vanilla, aaaah! I've recently received a shipment of vanilla from Raiatea, so I have nearly a kilo of the stuff on hand. It's not why I moved to French Polynesia, but it's definitely a big bonus; good vanilla, readily and inexpensively available, what luxury. Of course, I could grow my own, and I am planning to, after all Viriamu's grandfather used to have a plantation out back.

For those who are unfamiliar with vanilla beans, they are seed pods of an orchid species originating from Mexico. The Spanish conquistadors brought the beans back to Europe from the New World along with cocoa; it was used initially as a flavouring for chocolate and as an aphrodisiac. The orchid was introduced to Tahiti in the nineteenth century, and is now recognized as its own species Vanilla tahitensis. The flowers must be hand-pollinated (as there are no natural pollinators) and are ephemeral, lasting just 24h if unpollinated. Once the seed-pods have set they need to be cured and dried, a time-consuming and complicated process, but I reckon that the results are worth it!

I use vanilla in lots of things....you might even say that I'm a bit obsessed. It's an essential ingredient of my jams, cakes and homemade ice-cream, of course, but I also like to use it to add flavour to curries and my own version of vanilla fish, a classic tahitian dish. I've been making vanilla infused monoi for a while, as well as soap. I like it in coffee, in tea and in rum ;-) The girls love my vanilla yoghurt. In short we can't get enough of it!


Little red riding-hood

It's the end of the school year here, Matotea will be moving on to a new class next year and saying goodbye to Madame Bridgitte (above). Of course, there was the obligatory end of school concert. This year Matoea's class did little red riding-hood, so Matotea and the other girls were all little tahitian dancing red riding-hoods, while the boys were all ferocious wolves, what fun!