Monday, July 22, 2013

The Kimballs Arrive in Papeete

On Monday, I was so excited that my family would be there that evening, that I decided that Martin and I should go and greet them at the airport.  We hadn't plan to see them until the next day (after they got settled), but I thought it was silly since the marina was so close to the airport and I was just dying to see my sister sooner rather than later.  So, I insisted that we go and surprise them the traditional Tahitian way… with leis and lots of hugs and kisses.
The entire gang all together ready for our next adventure.
Bella, their youngest, was too tired and decided to find a snooze on the closest flat surface.
The next day, we all took off and drove around the island to take in the sights and stop at a few beaches along the way.
Our first stop was at a Mara's grotto just outside of Papeete.  Colton, the oldest of my sister's brood, took Lily around in her backpack.
Lily was a little more than excited to be riding on her cousin's back.
Next, we went to the botanical gardens (Jardines Botaniques) and even got the chance to take home a few coconuts.

After a quick picnic at the ocean we took the kids to the Arahoho Blowhole and pretended that we didn't know that the "blow" would be so forceful when standing close to it.  Our first two victims were my nephews, Colton and Clay.
After a days full of activities, we headed to Louis' brother's home (Jeff) where we met up with him and his family. Jeff was so kind to take us up to the top of Mount Aorai. (Just an FYI, the pearl crop that we saw being harvested in Takaroa was just sold by Jeff.)  We were so excited to hear that news.  Amazing!

Jeff took us on a jeep ride that I don't think that we'll ever forget.  We got in the truck thinking it would be an hour or so, but instead, it turned into a four and a half hour adventure up into the canyon.  We saw ancient burial sights, climbed up to a natural waterfall and slide and drove around and saw all the other spectacular waterfalls.  It was a beautiful drive in spite of it being a bit bumpy…. okay, really bumpy.  Which simply added to the fun we were having.
Little did we know at the time, this jeep ride was going to be the highlight of the day.  The kids loved riding in the back of the jeep as we rode up the mountain.  Jeff's boys, who didn't know we were Mormon yet started singing Primary songs.  The boys were astonished that we were singing songs that they knew so well and quickly joined in singing the Primary songs in French.  It was great to see barriers quickly fall away as they joined in with us in song.
After a little hike and playing in a natural water slide for an hour, we took a little rest high in the mountain on Jeff's Land Rover.  We couldn't believe how beautiful it was up in the mountains of Tahiti.
The kids loved every minute of the adventure.
After about four hours of riding up in the mountains, we figured that the kids would be good and tired by the time we got to dinner.  We were right.  By the time we did get to the restaurant, jet lag and a full day of activities had done the kids in and they could barely hold their heads up to eat.
We leave for Moorea tomorrow where we plan to do more scuba diving and snorkeling.  I can't wait to just spend time with my sister, her husband and their kids.  We have two weeks chalk full of activities and we hope to keep the kids good and busy.  There is so much to do when you live on a boat, and we are hoping they get caught up in the island life like Martin and I have already done.  There really is no adventure close to this, especially for kids.  We want them to have this memory of visiting us in the South Pacific for the rest of their lives.  I think that we are doing a pretty good job!