October 24, 2005. Bora Bora 4wd trek, French Polynesia.
The outing is structured by the 4wd tour company to combine sight-seeing with a low-tech thrill ride modeled on theme park attractions. So that the vehicles would shoot up great packed-earth ramps like ski jumps, then fly back down the other side, roller-coaster-like. Or, the driver would pretend to fail to climb one of these things, so that he'd roll backward to the starting point before trying again. Very silly. The crowd went wild. My favorite moment was watching another driver scare the bejeebers out of his passengers by backing up, backing up, backing up, so that the people in the rear were hanging right over the edge of a steep hill - while his rear wheels were snug and secure against a log embedded in concrete. The cynical look on his face killed me, while his passengers were screaming.
Of course, on all of these packaged outings they give you ample opportunity to spend money with local merchants. This particular one stopped at a crafts shop offering lovely hand-painted pareus; and stopped again at the local black pearl farm. I'm a terrible tourist: I never bought anything at any of these stops, anywhere in the islands.
Click a thumbnail for the big picture plus commentary. Preview via the slideshow below.