July 14th was, of course, Bastille Day here in the Francophone world. And Taiohae showed itself in the very best light on the big day.
The big event for the morning was a parade. And Taiohae, it must be said, does a parade very very well.
The parade was made up of people walking in small, distinct groups.
There was the Belles of the Pacific group, Past Masters division...
...and Current Title Holders division:
There was the youth group from Tahiti:
Each group stopped in front of the reviewing stand and performed a little number for the venerable and esteemed people who were doing the reviewing. This is the Current Title Holders group. Just look at the setting - when they started dancing, I felt all of my South Pacific dreams coming true.
After a few sports clubs and school groups, the main attraction came along - the Marquesan Cultural Awareness group. And they took it all to another level.
The Cultural Awareness folks didn't wait for the reviewing stand to begin their performing:
After the parade the Cultural Awareness mob embarked on a spate of competitive/showy horsemanship on the beach.
That's me taking pics. And I got some fun ones.
All the riding was bareback. Three people fell off.
After the dust had settled a bit Eric got in his first-ever horse ride.
This gal was a part of a string of seven or eight riders. She loaded up Elias and they took off - didn't see him for fifteen minutes or so. Figured that he'd come back with a face tattoo.
We've been here long enough to get to know some people - famously stand-offish Taiohae is starting to thaw for us. Alisa in particular has been starting to get down with the locals. Yesterday a yachtie who's been here for four years mentioned to Alisa that the gendarmes are very relaxed about giving out visa extensions. Why don't you stay until March and then leave? the yachtie asked.
It's been fun to see how that idea has taken Alisa.