From the Vault: Getting Lei’d

By Eilene Lyon

If my memory serves me correctly (and I won’t swear it does), this cowry shell lei landed around my neck when our flight landed in Papeete, Tahiti, at 3 a.m. on a December morning in 1998. Let’s just say I’ve had it so long I can’t imagine where else I would have gotten it.

We booked the week-long vacation on the island of Mo’orea through a travel agent. Remember those? That was really five days of vacation, plus two days to get there and back. A friend who’d been there recommended we take a cooler full of non-perishable snacks as food in Tahiti is quite pricey. Good advice.

Standing in front of our vacation hut not far from the beach on Mo’orea.

Our beachfront resort was the only one on the southeast side of the island and the coral reef offered up magnificent tropical sea life to snorkel amongst. We had a snafu with our meal vouchers, but got that straightened out, via fax machine. Remember those? Our grass-roofed hut was comfortable, though the shower floor gave us a peep show of the ground below. Fortunately, it never sent us crashing.

We slept most of the first day away. I had never been on such a long flight and had not dressed for sleep or comfort. It was misery. At least I was not one of the unlucky souls who had boarded the Air France flight in Paris! They spent 24 hours on that plane. Oh my gosh.

There were a number of memorable events during that vacation, but one stands out. We had eaten supper and went for a walk on the dark beach, no moonlight. As we sat listening to the swish of the waves lapping at the sand, The Putterer turned to me and said, “Will you marry me?”

My fiancé enjoying the bird-of-paradise blossoms on Mo’orea.

53 thoughts on “From the Vault: Getting Lei’d

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      1. I imagine that practice has probably stopped? It’s been many, many years since I’ve been. It was fun to get the flower lei, so the shell necklace was a surprise!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I did that one time. It got to 24 degrees below zero (F) and the condos I managed had pipes bursting everywhere. After I survived that nightmare, I went to a travel agent and said “Send me somewhere warm, cheap, NOW!” I wound up in San Diego, California. It was fun.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Some days it is and certainly not perfect. I am happy to call it home. We have a sunny Easter weekend which is a treat though having a head cold the first in many years is not so much.


  1. What a fun story (and headline) with an unexpected twist at the end. It sounds a little primitive seeing the floor, but part of the fun of traveling to faraway places is the excitement of new adventures. This was an adventure in many ways.

    Liked by 1 person

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