May 11

We are still here in Taiohae and we are probably going to stay till Wednesday when we leave for the Tuamotus. We were going to go to a bay in the north but we have so much to do here that we are feeling it would be wiser to stay and work on our to-do list as the Tuamotus will be very isolated.

Today we went on a tour of the island. We hired a driver and a bunch of people came with us to split the cost. Jonah loved it because William and Hannah came with us. We drove across the island. Since the interior is a huge mountain range with sharp peaks and the roads are all dirt - it was much more adventurous then it sounds. The interior is incredibly lush - fruit trees are everywhere. Bananas, Mangos, Papayas, Breadfruit and a huge host of fruit I have never seen. We stopped and visited many old sites where Marquesans towns used to be before they were all killed. The sites are huge and one can easily imagine thousands of people living there. The ruins are huge stone platforms which formed the floors of the important houses - the walls and roofs have all rotted since they were wood. At one site, several platforms had reconstructed walls and roofs which gave one a sense of what it was like. Otherwise the sites were somewhat wild. The mosquitoes rivaled the ones in New England and made life difficult occasionally. We saw huge waterfalls - the same waterfalls that Herman Melville climbed down when descending into Taipivai valley (see Melville's book Typee for more info). Our driver was a bit of lunk and really couldn't tell us anything about the history of the sites but Chris (from Pez Vela) provided us with a lot of information as she had gone a similar tour on another island but the gentlemen who took her was a Marquesan Historian!! We had a picnic lunch on the other side of the island and picked avocados from our driver's cousin's place.

We returned to town and I invited Hannah and William to come watch a movie. Jonah is in high social gear and I am encouraging it as it is rare there are so many kids around. Later we left him with Raoul, Claire and his little friend Victor as Jordan and I went and had dinner alone. We had pizza which was a bit odd but the beer was strong and it was nice to do something without Jonah. Jonah was an angel at his friends house and the kids are teaching each other enough words in their respective languages to have fun. Victor had a little play tea set which Jonah loved as he used to play the same game with his Gammy in NYC. I am exhausted.