Reprovisioning the French Polynesian Way

4 Oct

The last time I did an honest-and-true proper grocery store run was the beginning of May.  Looked at another way, about 4500 nm ago.  And while I still have more tinned beans aboard than are strictly necessary, we supplement with fresh things when we can.  Some places have been easy (San Cristobal (Galapagos), which had a wonderful market), some have been hard (Raraka, which had a supply boat every two weeks).  Whatever the case, our diet was still healthy, if not especially varied.  In the Tuamotus, we lived on just-caught fish, just-baked bread, lentils and rice, and no one minded a bit.
But even the biggest fish-lover needs a change once in a while.  And so, when we arrived in Tahiti, we set off for the grocery store.
Part of the fun of shopping elsewhere comes from discovering regional items.  Here was our first clue that we were far from home:
Is it getting hot in here?
What are those people with their delightful 80s haircuts wearing? you ask.  If you look closely, it appears their stylish outfits are made from industrial-grade garbage bags.  And the label says, Unisex Sauna Suit.  Because apparently Tahiti isnt hot enough you need to wrap yourself in plastic to get a really good sweat on.
And before you think this is an isolated occurrence, ka-bam!
In four languages, so everyone can join in the fun!
Right.  The store brand sweatsuit.  And if we look a little closer…
…they have added a helpful diagram showing the sweat.
Over in the frozen food section, we saw some oddly-shaped packages.  Guesses?
“Mom, what’s in there?”
Right.  Veal.  Im pretty sure I cant fit an entire calf on our little barbeque; Erik might have to get out the Sawz-all again.
But the true excitement came in the fruits and vegetables section.  You would have thought wed dropped the girls in Disney World.
Mom! shrieked Stylish.  They have apples!  She picked up a Granny Smith and cuddled it to her cheek.
Mom!  Mo-om!  Indy was jumping up and down.  Oranges!  Mom, Ill get us fifteen oranges.  She raced off to get a bag.
Another kind of apple!  Mom, they have different kinds of apples here!
And that, good people, is how you get your kids excited about fresh fruits and vegetables.  Feed them enough lentils, and they will beg for anything that grew on a tree.
Of course, we bought other things, too.  We were giddy about cheese, dried meats, lemon juice; you would be surprised at what is in short supply out there.  And, of course, junk food.  We have more chocolate and Tim Tams than I know what to do with.
And here is where things went wrong.  Because we took all of this food home.  And ate it.
Now, there is maybe nothing biologically wrong with eating a diet of Roquefort, oranges, salami, Cheetos and baguette, but I wouldnt recommend it, and certainly not all at once.  The heady pleasure of sampling old favorites turned quickly to indigestion, and I think all of us miss those days of fish and rice.
Today I am making one last dash to the grocery store, and I can tell you, the fun is over.  There wont be any packaged foods in my cart this time.
Well, maybe one last bag of Cheetos.


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