Huahine page 2


Our stay at the Sofitel Heiva was a very pleasant one, and one that we will remember fondly for years. Mainly because of the staff. They were very friendly and outgoing, always willing to help and provide for your every whim. I guess that's why Grumpy and her boyfriend got off the island so fast.

On Huahine we would be exposed to our first traditional bar-b-que and Polynesian show. Yes, they had shows and entertainment in Rangiroa and Moorea, but this was up close and personal. We watched for a few minutes as the staff prepared the bar-b-que pit for our feast later that night. Hot lava rocks are heated for hours in an open pit in preparation for the food.

Preparing the Polynesian barbeque The
Preparing the Polynesian barbeque
Soon the food arrived. There was quite a spread. Beef, chicken, pork, including the head (below), and lamb. There was also an assortment of local vegetables, the Polynesian variation for our sweet potato and potatoes. It looked more appetizing coming out of the ground!
Meats and vegetables to be cooked

After placing the food into the open pit just above the hot rocks, they covered it with palm leaves from a banana tree, and then placed wood boards across that to cover. On top of the wood boards they placed a canvas tarp and sealed the edges by shoveling sand over the ends.

After several hours of roasting in the pit it was time to remove the food and prepare it for our buffet. The removal proved to be quite a spectacle and attracted many of the hotel guests, Anne and I included.

I have to admit, the aroma of the roasted meats was wonderful as it filled the night air. I couldn't wait to get my hands on some of that meat. No, I wasn't in a hurry for the veggies, those didn't appeal to me.

Removing the cooked foods from the pit
The buffet layout at the Sofitel Heiva The buffet layout at the Sofitel Heiva
I must congratulate the Sofitel Heiva, Huahine, on their presentation of the food for the bar-b-que As you can see, it was laid out beautifully and looked very appetizing. Anne, of course, tried everything. I concentrated on the meats. In almost every hotel that served a buffet they included raw tuna and it was delicious. One night I made a meal out of it and was very satisfied.

I must also congratulate the Sofitel Heiva for their restaurant and bar staff. They were very friendly and tried very hard to please. There was one in particular who gave Anne and I the nickname of "mama and papa." Every time we entered the restaurant we were always greeted with a pleasant greeting and then "mama and papa." In the bar one night I ordered a frozen marguerita, asking first if the bartender knew how to make the drink. I was assured that she did, but when I observed her beginning to make the drink it was obvious that she didn't know how to make one. I jumped in and told her how to make the drink. She very pleasantly followed my direction and the drink was good. I have no idea how much money they made, whatever it was they deserve more. They were there morning, noon and night, and always with a smile and helpful hand.
Anne dancing with a native Without exception every hotel we stayed at offered some form of entertainment vis-a-vis a Polynesian show during their dinners. The biggest difference was the level of participation by the audience. On Rangiroa we were entertained by demonstration of how to tie the "parea," the local dress. The good thing, no audience participation. On Moorea we were entertained by a traditional island band and native dancers. As is the custom, at the end of the show the dancers came into the audience and "involuntarily" enlisted the diners to accompany them on stage where they would show their total inability to do the native dance. The good thing about Moorea is that there were way to many people for them to get everyone on stage. Unfortunately this was not the case on Huahine. Following their show they descended onto the audience to pick their victims.
I knew what lay ahead would not be to my liking. Anne and I were sitting at a table adjacent to the stage. There is no way they would bypass us, and it was considered impolite to refuse. I dreaded just the thought of it. Anne was one of the first picked and I had to laugh, probably out of fear, that they had gotten her and not me. I watched as they wandered about the audience and picked their prey leading them back to the stage. I was beginning to get that relieved feeling as it appeared to me that everyone had a partner. I didn't see this one young Tahitian dancer descend upon me from the back. She was one of the lead dancers who had performed solo earlier and, I guess, because of that, she got to pick last. And guess who she picked! Little old me!

She took me by the hand and led me to the stage. Not only did she lead me to the stage, she took me dead center and began dancing around me. While I was last picked I was the first to make a spectacle of myself on stage. She motioned to me to move my legs back and forth and I followed suit. I had no other choice as I was mortified to be there with everyone watching me. But there was a big payoff for my being first. At the very end of the show the dancers descended back into the audience and placed the flower leis they were wearing on the necks of those they danced with. since I had danced with the lead dancer I received the largest and most beautiful lei of all the dancers. Anne is wearing that flower lei in the picture at right. Oh, the price we husbands have to pay sometimes to keep the wives happy! I guess it was worth it. Anne and I enjoyed the flowers for several days.

Anne wearing the lei I received for dancing and making a fool out of myself


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