Our driver is a life-long island resident, the descent of Swiss grandparents who decided to pursue life in a tropical paradise. (My grandparents came to Minnesota, hers went to the South Pacific. That seems so wrong somehow.) She clearly knows her home island and is proud of it, telling us about life here as we drive along.
Our first stop along Opunohu Bay gives us a good view over the water back to the ship for another one of those obligatory “this is our ship in a beautiful exotic place” shots.
Then we head around lovely Cook’s Bay, repeating our tour of the morning, but now looking out to the water from the land.
Everything in Moorea seems perfect and beautiful – a dreamy tropical paradise of swaying palms, colorful flowers and gorgeous scenery where even the villages are picture perfect.
This effect isn’t accidental or entirely natural. The flowers along the roadside were planted and are carefully tended, litter is quickly removed, buildings are carefully maintained – even the power lines are buried –in order to lull and hold tourists in this tropical fantasy land.
It’s a good strategy, as we have already repeatedly been told by other passengers (many of whom are regular visitors to these islands) that Moorea is their favorite, the most beautiful, clean, lovely, wealthy, and western. They have told us it is perfect; better by far than Bora Bora with its poverty.
If there is poverty here (and our guide indicates there really isn’t much), it is well-hidden. It is hard to imagine a more beautiful place, but it doesn’t feel real.
Just the way the stunning view from Toatea Overlook (with Tahiti in the distance) doesn’t seem quite real.
How can any place be so lovely?
Lane promises I will like Bora Bora even better and we turn back to meet the ship.