Worldwide Wednesday: Finding Love in French Polynesia
Mary Allan has a series of posts on her adventures as a travel agent. Here is part of her trip to French Polynesia and the dark stranger who stole her heart!
As I travel I keep a day-to-day diary of where I go and what I see. My memories of French Polynesia returned when I found that diary. I had moved to a large home so that my teenage daughter and sonh would have rooms, and also to be able to have a housekeeper living in the house to look after them when I went on trips. I knew that my children would be looked after.
When a travel agent’s trip was offered, my boss gave me permission and my children shouted “GO!” I found myself at the Los Angeles airport boarding an Air New Zealand flight to Papeete. I would soon have a certificate stating that I had crossed “The Line of the Equator”. Seated next to me, and across the aisle, were the three original “Peck’s Bad Boys”. Every time I drifted off to sleep, they woke me with a roar of laughter. There was a white haired doctor from New Zealand, an accountant born in London and he had flown with the RAF. The last was a dark haired Londoner who seemed to be drinking everything within reach..
Gerry, the dark haired drunk, staggered into the first class compartment when we reached Tahiti and got off there. I escaped through the tourist class door in the hope I could get into the terminal and away before he saw me. I heard him tell the other men that he couldn’t remember the name of his hotel. We received the traditional flower lei as we went through Customs. I climbed on the minibus for the Tahiti Village Beach Hotel where I was staying… Gerry was right behind me. When we got to the hotel I handed the desk clerk my confirmation, and heard Gerry asking in French for a suite for two people. In French I told the clerk I wanted my room key for my single room and left.
I was aching from sitting so long, so I pulled on a bathing suit and robe, and headed down to the beach. The sand was so soft beneath my feet, and every star in the sky had come out to welcome me. I dove into the water and began to swim.
I felt someone swimming beside me – it was Gerry with a stupid look on his face. I hoped he was happy in his suite for two, and wished he’d found someone to share it with him.
He had sobered up, and we opened the bar about three o’clock and each had a screwdriver, met for breakfast at nine, and spent the rest of the day snorkeling and sightseeing. We were about six miles from town, and somehow we fell in love. We went to a Tahitian feast at the Tahiti Hotel surrounded by local dancers, laughter and music. He turned out to be a good dancer, and at the end of the evening we were the only couple left on the floor.
Gerry was going around the world on business for his company in London. He spoke six languages, which helped with his job. On Tuesday he left for Fiji, and proposed to me before he left. Six months later we were married at the home of my best friend in St. Louis. Our honeymoon? He joined me in an RV to open trout fishing season in Missouri. I worked part time on weekends for the Hunting and Fishing Weekly. A year later, with my young son, I moved to England living and working there for five years before we returned to the States. After 12 years and Gerry’s having stolen most of the inheritance my great aunt left me, I divorced him.
Through a mutual friend, I learned that he’d died drunk and bankrupt last year. And the world turns…