I’m not fat, I’m just going to Tahiti.

October 22, 2008

Tahiti is calling out to me.

It’s saying, “Hey, handsome, debonair, older dude, come play with me. Come roll on my beaches. Swim in my lagoons. Get my sand in your orifices. Caress my coconuts. Laugh and play and dance like a white man in the moonlight, surrounded by lithe island maidens who will fall in love with you and want to have your babies. Or, at the very least, the contents of your wallet.”

Although, because they speak French in Tahiti, the message could actually be, “Hey, Fat Boy! Give me all your American greenbacks and stop bitching about the exchange rate, you cheap bastard. And, oh yeah, put your shirt back on. You’re scaring the turtles.”

I really should have paid more attention in French class.

Yup, I’m off to Tahiti on Monday. Bora Bora. For a week. Just me and an island filled with topless women.

At least that’s how I remember it from watching The Bounty. I think Mel Gibson was in that movie and, yeah, that scary guy from Silence of the Lambs. I’m almost certain the plot had something to do with a ship and — I’m just guessing here — a disagreement of some kind. AND AN ISLAND FILLED WITH TOPLESS WOMEN!! Now that part I do remember.

I’m sorry, but some things just leave an impression on me.

(“I’ll leave an impression on you,” says Viking Woman. “An impression of a frying pan on the back of your skull.”)

Wives, eh? No sense of humour. None whatsoever.

Actually, Tahiti is a work assignment. No, really. I can prove it: Here’s my TMAC card and my assignment sheet  from the Calgary Herald and my notebook and my tape recorder and my camera. And, um, my telephoto lens. You know, just in case . . .

I’d like to think Tahiti Tourisme is pampering me because I’m multi-talented, because my travel stories are punchy and informative and entertaining. That my blog is so well-read that thousands of my readers are even now booking their flights to Moorea.

Truth is, all I did was ask. Politely, of course. I am, after all, Canadian. Although it helped that I have experience as a travel writer/editor, and ties to the Canwest market, and a pair of New Zealand publications already lined up to print my deathless prose.

So, fresh home from Las Vegas, I’m packing again. Nestled amidst the Hawaiian shirts and walking shorts and bug spray and sunscreen are two boxes of granola bars. That’s because not all my meals are included in the package. And my research has revealed meals are not cheap, especially in those resorts located on isolated lagoons where food choices are limited to the restaurant menu or eating raw whatever you catch with your hands.

On certain days, I will be forced to munch on granola bars and count my American pennies. Which would explain why I’m gorging myself now. I’m simply planning ahead and eating with an eye on the future.

I should probably keep the other eye on the scale, but I can’t see my feet.

Can you believe the sacrifices a truly professional travel writer has to endure? Merde!

Hey, what do you know? I can speak French after all.

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