This was a special trip. In the same week of the same year, I celebrated my birthday, my wedding anniversary, and I graduated with my Doctorate in Forensic Psychology. We had to do something amazing. Not that anyone needs a reason to go to Tahiti, but we wanted to celebrate big!
We took up residency on the main island of Tahiti at the Manava Resort. It was a lovely resort with nicely decorated rooms, breakfast on an outdoor patio each morning, and an infinity pool (swim-up bar included) that allowed us to gaze out to the island of Mo'orea across the way. There was not much around the resort so we ended up renting a car back at the airport and driving to other sites on the island. We drove to Teahupoo, the "end of the road" where the legendary Billabong surfing tournament is held annually. We explored hidden waterfalls, black sand beaches, and even a tiny Buddhist Temple over looking the ocean. Best of all, we ate many baguettes and drank many bottles of Hinano, the local beer.
Mo'orea is where we found the magic in Tahiti. Stepping off of the ferry, the surroundings were immediately different. The air was more still. It was quiet. It was perfection. If I had to do this trip over again, I would rent a house on Mo'orea in a heartbeat. We did the touristy-thing and participated in an excursion for the day. But I will tell you, it was unreal swimming with rays and sharks. This was out in the open sea; no tanks or boundaries. Just you and the wildlife in their backyard. The crew was so fun and they cooked us an authentic Tahitian lunch while we bathed in the sun on the shore of a tiny island overrun by wild chickens.
Every morning after breakfast, we would wander down to the resort's lagoon. A small octopus greeted us most mornings and I would watch him in wonder. I was fascinated by the way he would transform his shape and color before my eyes. I named him Roger. It was then and there, I knew what my Polynesian "souvenir" would be. What is the most unique souvenir you have ever brought home?