Bright greens whiz through my peripherals as I slice through the balmy air after pulling away from the corner store. My right hand grips the throttle while my left rests against the other handlegrip, simultaneously clutching a heart-shaped, chocolate-dipped ice cream on a stick. Its heart shape thrills me beyond reason, but I don’t fight the excessive joy. It’s Saturday and I’ve embarked on a motorscooter adventure. Who wouldn’t feel ridiculously merry eating a heart-shaped ice cream bar on a carefree ride around the backside of an island in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean?
Not only had Simon and Manuelle left me in charge of their lovely house and adoring cat, but they’d also entrusted me with the keys to the turquoise Vespa scooter that they used to tow their mobile ice cream vending cart. After a dismal week of trudging through boat projects, I was in desperate need of a scenery change. A glance at the whitewater on the reef that morning had suggested that entertain myself with something other than surfing, so I’d gathered my buck knife, a piece of rope (you never know!), my camera, a few other odd essentials, and hit the road.
The day rose to meet my spirits. Even the flowers seemed to agree; it was glorious. Tall and orange, delicate and white, round and purple, stacked and yellow–they all nodded enthusiastically as I passed. My favorite mountain range boldly cleaved the cloud-splotched indigo sky. I waved to the kids playing in the streets and the families picnicking here and there, stopping to chat with anyone who looked willing. I climbed up a mountainside and plopped down amongst tall grass to feast on papaya and peanuts while looking out over the grand Pacific. The lagoon shimmied in its tranquil, turquoise glory while the blue water outside frothed and churned westward.
I stopped to climb for a coconut when I was thirsty and found a cool river to jump in when I felt hot and dusty. Squatting below a mango tree, I swatted mosquitos and rolled the fallen, miniature ripe mangoes between my hands, then sucked out their divine nectar. I explored the ancient ruins of the Marae and fell into a deep nap in the shade of a pandanus tree to further absorb the Marae’s mysticism. Saluting the last rays of this unforgettable day with gratitude, I stretched my legs atop an abandoned cement foundation overlooking a sprawling, open valley.
Donning my sanding goggles to keep the swarms of evening bugs out of my eyes, I wound down through the valley and back towards town, making a last stop at the mobile pizza truck to finally make use of that ‘free pizza’ coupon that Katie and Brandon and Jaime had given me. Thanks guys, that warm pizza put the cherry on this Saturday ‘sundae’.