My In-Laws just returned from a trip to Tahiti. I would LOVE to go there someday – all that lush rainforest and incredibly blue water. I looked it up online today and apparently it’s reputation as a living paradise is pretty much spot on.
Tahiti is part of French Polynesia and Tahitians are French citizens with full civil and political rights. Both the Tahitian and the French language are official but some English is also spoken. They still use the franc as their currency. French painter Paul Gauguin lived and painted on Tahiti in the 1890s (which I knew thanks to my art education) and a small Gauguin museum can be found in Papeari.
During their trip the In-Laws thoughtfully sent us a postcard with an interesting stamp and postmark (see above – turns out even Tahitians get their postcards printed in Hong Kong). They also brought us back a small amber bottle of Tahitian vanilla extract (with a French label, mais oui) and a lovely shell necklace. I think it’s made of black lip oyster shell, which is what produces cultured black Tahitian pearls. There is an abstract etched/embossed pattern on the bottom right corner, and what’s really neat is that there is still sand embedded in the back layers. Cool.