January 22 2013
So friends are telling me that this honeymoon story thing has gone long. That it started off funny but now it’s sort of babbly and whiny and stuff. The wife told me that the last couple posts were pretty good– they just weren’t all that funny. So now there’s all this pressure on me to make this post extra funny and stuff.
And I’m off to a bad start! This isn’t funny yet at all! (Unless you think the whole talking about being funny or not being funny is funny which it isn’t unless what you think isn’t funny is — but even if that’s you — you probably just want me to get to the story already. Fine. Get off my back!)
Here’s what happened…
So we were scheduled to catch a 7pm boat to head over to “Restaurant Chez Louise”. Both of us dressed in our fanciest vacation clothes. We climb in the boat and zip across the water in the dark during a storm. Was exciting! Bumpy and splashy!
For some reason, I imagined we’d be pulling up to the dock of the restaurant. Maybe a lanky guy in a sailor suit greeting us with a wave and tying us up. Not so much. We pulled up to a friggin fuel station on the water. Bunch of storage containers stacked up. And there were random kids swimming in the water… in the dark… by the fuel station. It was weird and unlit. Vaguely criminal.
The hotel arranged for a taxi to take us to the restaurant. He was there. It wasn’t really a taxi– it was just some dude with his SUV. We zoom through like island rainy roads for like ten minutes. I tried to communicate with our driver in my terrible french. Saying statements like, ‘J’mappel est Todd. Et vous?’ and ‘Mon chien nom est Roscoe!’ and ‘J’etude francaise a l’ecole cinq ans!’ He nodded along probably convinced I was recovering from a head injury or something.
We pull up to Restaurant Chez Louise and are greeted out front by a very friendly “Louise”. Louise was probably in her 60’s but she looked like one of those women who have lived ten lifetimes already. Well-worn and otherworldy. Type of woman born in 1921. Became a WWII war hero in 1943. Once saved the Pope when he was choking on a chicken bone in 1955. Married royalty in some weird small country in 1962. Weirdly got her law degree Yale ’71. Murdered someone who deserved it and got away with it in the 80’s. But somehow she’s a legit sixty-one years old. Type of woman who will be full of life every single day until she drops dead at 105 after doing her daily shot of Sambuca.
She welcomes us to her restaurant with open arms.
RCL wasn’t so fancy. Plastic tables and chairs. Plants both dead and alive everywhere. And we were (by far) the only people there. It was on a deck of sorts so everything was sort of dank. Louise babbled in French to me as if I was fluent. I tried desperately to get her to understand that I didn’t understand a word she was saying. She didn’t seem to mind and/or care. Apparently, palms up/frowny face isn’t the international symbol for, ‘I don’t know what you’re saying at friggin all…’
We sit down and Louise asked what kind of wine we’d like. Bourdeaux? Pinot Noir? We ask for a Bourdeaux. She quickly returns with an ice cold bottle of Merlot. I knew this because the bottle label was a photo of a sunset with the word, ‘Merlot’ printed on it.
Then Louise leaves us for 20 minutes only returning once to introduce us to her shy skinny brother, Maurice. The chef? He nods at us like a scared bunny then squirrels back to the kitchen. There would be no menus. No mention of what will be served. No specials. I took a video of us waiting for whatever was coming next…
Here’s the link to the video..that…
Anyway, we sat there listening to the rain and drinking wine until Maurice and Louise arrive with our dinner. Two long canoe shaped scoop plates are put down on the table all loaded with food. Maurice puts down rows of beer bottle caps to keep the canoes from falling over.
I found a photo on the interweb of a Chez Louise dish!
Looked good! Ish! Seared tuna. One split (very foreign looking) lobster. Shrimp stuff. Some creamy salady something or other. Louise asks if we’re allergic to anything very after the fact then leaves us to Bon Appetit it up.
(I realize now that this post isn’t really all that funny. Sorry bout that.)
Anyway, the food was actually pretty good! Definitely better than the food back at the resort. More interesting at least by far. Granted it came with a heaping side dish of food poison paranoia. Neither the Restaurant nor Chez nor the Louise appeared umm… up to code? But whatever.
We ate it all up. Drank all our Merlot. And as soon as we were done we were promptly handed two mini-pineapples and two mangoes for dessert. To go. The check? Approx $160 american dollars. Ow.
Our taxi driver was waiting outside and we were hustled away holding the fruits of our adventure like trophies. Into the speeding car. Through the muddy roads. Back to the boat which also waited for us. And soon back to our hut just in time for the winds to pick up.
The nightly monsoon winds returned like clockwork. And we got under the covers praying there would be no ‘inner-monsoon’ that would come from our dining experience at Chez Louise. We watched Lost awaiting the verdict.
In the morning we were pleased to find we were judged Not Guilty! Mercifully spared the ultimate unromantic experience of severe food poisoning… in a hut.
Of course, it was raining again. I dunno. I made the decision that we weren’t going to sit around and wait for sun. Or sleep the day away. Today I woke up refreshed and ready for action! I decided we would go adventuring! We were going to take the boat to the local big island “Raiatea”, rent a car, and drive around and see some sights dammit!
Some of the sights we saw simply can’t be unseen…