When Renato could tear himself away for a vacation, we embarked on a trip that, initially, seemed to be mostly in the air. We flew from Rio de Janeiro to Santiago, Chile, which had recently undergone a revolution. Our experience of it involved shortages of consumer goods, mainly cigarettes. Renato gave our waiter a couple and the man rushed outside to smoke them.
We toured their museum with the guidance of a man who offered his services outside the door. He said “Yes,” with a slow, thoughtful cadence, and it turned out that was the sole, single English word he knew.
Next, we flew to Easter Island, where we met that lovelorn woman who asked me to mail a letter to her lover. I have mentioned her before. The flight had arrived late and so we had no time to look at the giant stone heads. Then, on to Tahiti, where we stayed at a hotel near the clear, transparent water. We rented a car and went about the country roads lined with coconut palms and mango trees. Fallen fruit lay on the roadsides. What riches! I gathered armfuls of mangos and lugged them back to our hotel but had to leave them when we flew on to Honolulu.
I recall a gentle, salubrious air in Tahiti and a quiet like no other, and the tuna at an outdoor barbecue. That fish was five feet long and three feet thick. The women looked just like Gauguin’s portraits of them. We were outside a church when service ended and people began to exit the church. Every woman wore a big white flowered hat. I saw a breadfruit tree and longed to pick one.