National Geographic : 1920 Oct
TAH\IlTI: T'I PLAYGROUND O1 NATURE MAP SHOWING T'HE'I POSITION OF TAHITI IN THEI MII)-PACIFIC The completion of the Panama Canal effected a saving of 1o,o0X) miles in the sailing distance between New York and Tahiti. color, ran a fringe of algaroba trees. Back of them were sequestered avenues of "flamboyant." tamarind, mango, and breadfruit. From these rose an occa sional red tile roof, church spires, white flagstaffs. and tall coconut palms. Sloping gradually from the town, ever green hills, scarred here and there by barren red and gray clay, extended miles inland, where they overlooked the Fautaua and Punaruu valleys. They were broken into almost innumerable canyons and gullies all over their surface. FI:M ININ CIARM IN TAI IT I As the steamer drew near the shore many small craft-the picturesque out rigger canoe, the broad-beamed fruit boat, and the noisy gasoline schooner lay at anchor or moved about the lake like harbor. At the copra-scented dock toward which we moved, hundreds of Tahitians and scattered pairs and groups of Americans and Europeans were on hand to meet us. It was a variegated throng. There were as many colors and shades of complexion as there were of dress, and some of the feminine possessors were beautifully pro portioned and moved with queenly grace. Their dark hair, crowned in some cases with a wreath of the tiare, the flower of love and friendship, hung low on their backs. Their brilliant dark eyes sparkled with good will and merry resolution. With orbs like these searching his own, no wonder Bougainville was moved to say of the daughters of Otaheite, "The boats were now crowded with women, whose beauty of face was equal to that of the ladies of Europe, and the symmetry of their forms much superior." The native men at the dock were not so picturesque, collectively, as their brothers whom I afterward saw in the country. The dress of the majority was exceel ingly prosaic. The average one among them believed himself to be sufficiently 30"