When learning a new language, I usually learn “excuse me” and “I’m sorry” first so I can apologize for being a silly foreigner who can’t communicate well. 

There’s no words for “I’m sorry” or “excuse me” in Tahitian!! Can you imagine what sort of culture produces a language without a need for polite humility and blame?? Can you imagine? It reminds me f the English expression, “love means never having to say you’re sorry”

So far every local I’ve talked to longer than 2 minutes but less than 5 min has smoked me out and given me free weed. The only exception is Wanda who instead introduced me to her whole gigantic family and let me stay with her all weekend as she drove around the island. She also gave me clothes, shoes, my first pareo, and insisted on buying me a phone just so I can call her whenever I want.

This morning was no more or less strange than every other outing I’ve pursued. I put my thumb out. A man picked me up in his white dodge double cab pick up. I asked him simply to take me to a beach, any beach. I told him about my situation in general. He asked me if I wanted a job going to the Cook Islands in a little more than a week. I said that I already had a job, so, non,

 merci. He asked what my salary is. I spat out a number just so it sounded real. I said ten mil. Which is $100. He says, “ah dix mil, I pay you four times that.” But I had never said for a month, a week, a day…an hour? Not caring what he meant, I told him to write to me as I exited the car. He said yes of course.

The whole time his wife blowing up his phone every two seconds for which he tells me to shoosh. chyeah that’s gonna work out. Your private yacht. Your wife? Sure. Except maybe, after all my experiences with locals so far, I shouldn’t be so cynical. Case in point:

I asked if the beach was private, because it looked deserted and weird. No road, no parking, nothing. Trucks had been parked on grass. To be fair, I had told him “any beach.” He told me it was public. So I walked 100 meters to the shore. Not only is there no beach, but there is a big sign that says that swimming is prohibited. And the water is dirty….and, again, there’s no beach.

So I walked south knowing that if I walked far enough, finding a beach was inevitable.

I walked, and I found one. It was dirty, small and there was trash all over. There was also 5 raggedy clothed men sitting around at the far end on some logs drinking. I waved and walked over because I had the feeling I wasn’t welcome there and I was probably on their beach. So I chatted one of them who had a stark white, thick mohawk. He explained that I could swim, if I wanted to but, why here? The water was dirty. He was polite and I moved to leave when he asked me if I smoke. 

He gave me a coconut to sit on. I assumed they were bums not working and hanging out on the dirty beach drinking at 8:30 am. They offered me the juice container which I declined because I obviously didn’t know what it was so I flashed my own flask.

The Mohawk pointed me down the way….. to the traditional Polynesian canoe and explained they were going out and I was coming with. There were 6 spot and they were only 5 men. 

Oh ok so duh. So I must be racist or terribly imperceptive because they weren’t bums they were athletes. They were drinking juice getting hydrated for the boat paddling. They weren’t underfed, they were fit.

We got high as Mont Marau and shoved off the beach. But not before Thetere gave me a handful of weed wrapped in a grocery receipt for my own time later. 

They paddle in sync to the point of it being more of a musical act than a physical one. They are steady like a drum. It took me a while to get the hang of it. I wasn’t awesome at it and my wrist is still injured. I shouldn’t have even been trying, but I wasn’t about to give up the opportunity. I swam at the white sand bar. Took photos with them. 

Note: make sure copain means boyfriend because I have insisted yes to everyone who has asked thinking they mean companion, and now I’m not sure. 

If I had realized that they weren’t beach bums, I would have told them the truth of being single as fuck. Especially the naturally white haired older man who was fit as a man can be. The freakng punk rock, pot smokin George Clooney of Polynesia.