Yesterday I caught the bus into town and had lunch with Dino and Sasha at McDonalds - Sashas choice - And later we went and played Pool again and had a couple of beers, but after they went back to their boat I stayed in town , had an early dinner then went to watch dancing and singing and drumming at a temporary outdoor waterfront auditorium, its called Heiva, an annual cultural competiton. I went because I had been the previous night and it was so fantastic I decided to buy another ticket and go again. The performances are groups from round the Islands and are competing, from what I can tell in two categories. One is a sort of mass choir chanting - performed by maybe 40, mostly women dressed in that appalling Christian Missionary garb you see on Sundays throughout the 'evangelised" Pacific - a floral patterned cotton dress that goes from neck to wrists and down to the ground. They mostly sat on the ground in a big group nodding and swaying and singing a sort of chant without accompaniment. It was interesting shall we say, almost hypnotic! However in the other category, a cast of not thousands but certainly 100 or more performers were dressed in much more interesting traditional Tahitian costumes with colourful flowers, feathers fronds and leaves and amazing headware, showing lots of bare flesh - men and women - and accompanied by incredible traditional drumming, singing chanting and music making, and the spotlight on the narrator every so often while the cast changed costumes again and again. They enacted a story - that I could vaguely guess at but there were warriors and maidens and mortal combat and love interests. The drumming was breathtaking - those amazing polynesian rhythms-and the gorgeous women - and men it must be said - put on an action packed show that was unforgettably vibrant and sexy. Each groups performance lasted an hour and there were two of each category so it didnt finish till after 11pm by which time the Buses had stopped running. I set off to walk the 12km back, but was offered a lift the first night, and stuck my thumb out the second, and made it back to the boat within half an hour! I would have to say those two evenings were the Best Value for money in papeete by a long shot!
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