My Craziest Hitchhiking Experience: X-Rated Revelations with a Stranger

Photo of The Three Waterfalls in Raiatea, French Polynesia

Buckle up because I’m about to take you on a wild ride in Raiatea. This is the tale of an unexpected passenger, a stranger, and an unscheduled screening of adult entertainment while cruising down the road — my craziest hitchhiking experience!

Picture this: You stand at the roadside, thumb outstretched, torn between trying to look appealing for a potential ride or embracing the fact that you resemble something out of a post-apocalyptic movie. Your skin glistens like it’s been marinated in a deep fryer, a concoction of sweat and sunscreen. Your shoes boast a stylish mud coat, and your clothes are still damp from hiking. Just as you’re on the verge of losing hope, a vehicle pulls over, beckoning you to hop in. Now, what happened next is so damn absurd, you couldn’t have conjured it even in your wildest dreams.

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On this fateful day, I had just conquered The Three Waterfalls Hike in Raiatea, yearning for a ride back to Uturoa where our boat was docked.

My main form of transportation during my months in French Polynesia has been hitchhiking. Here in the close-knit Polynesian community, hitchhiking feels instinctive and secure, weaving me seamlessly into the fabric of island life. And though the story you’re about to read might have made someone rather uncomfortable, I felt perfectly safe the whole time.

If you want to explore the world of hitchhiking yourself, please do so at your own risk.

My Craziest Hitchhiking Experience: X-Rated Revelations with a Stranger - A photo of a cat lying on a car in Raiatea, French Polynesia
My Craziest Hitchhiking Experience: X-Rated Revelations with a Stranger - A photo of a road in Raiatea at sunset in French Polynesia

Point of No Return

So, there I stood by the road, sweating like a pig, almost as muddy as one too, hoping for a lift back to Uturoa. It took a bit longer than usual for a kind soul to stop, but then it happened. A red car pulled up, and I eagerly approached while attempting to mop my sweaty brow. The man behind the wheel rolled down the window, and I thrust my gleaming, tomato-colored face inside. “I’m heading to town,” I announced, putting on my warmest, friendliest smile. “No problem,” said the man, gesturing for me to hop in. He, himself, wore a big smile, cocoa colored skin engraved with inky Polynesian symbols, polarized sunglasses, and the attire of a true islander — a well-worn t-shirt and shorts. Just like that, I was hitching a ride, but little did I know, this ride would be unlike any hitchhiking adventure I’d ever embarked upon.

My Craziest Hitchhiking Experience: X-Rated Revelations with a Stranger - A photo of a mountain peak at sunset in Raiatea, French Polynesia
My Craziest Hitchhiking Experience: X-Rated Revelations with a Stranger - A photo at sunset from Raiatea, French Polynesia

X-Rated Revelations

Despite trying to focus on my driver, my eyes kept veering towards his phone, which was placed horizontally in the middle of the car’s dashboard. A video was playing on the screen, “Oh, a rap music video,” I mused to myself as a young woman flaunting a thong and crop top tantalized the camera.

“Were you born here in Raiatea?” I asked my driver. “Yeah, man,” he grinned, revealing a set of smoke-stained teeth. “And what do you do?” I smiled, attempting to peer into his eyes behind the cool, blue-tinted shades. “I’m a fisherman,” he offered. Just as my eyes glanced toward the screen again, he added, “Mahi-mahi, tuna, the big fuckers,” but I almost didn’t hear him over the sound of my brain being blown. Because at this moment I realized, this was no music video playing. It was porn!

Imagine someone attempting to devour a massive, black burrito in one gulp on the backseat of a car — that’s essentially the opening scene for you. Now, how do you react in such a situation? Do you A. comment on the porn playing, or B. act like nothing? For me, my friends, I opted for option B. I simply couldn’t get myself to say, “That’s an interesting choice of entertainment,” and point at the porn. Besides, there was no audio on, so I was unsure of whether he was actually aware of the porn playing himself (though, surely, he must have been, right?)

For the rest of the ride, I sat in my passenger seat, chuckling inaudibly. “Why is it that I always find myself in these insane situations?” I wondered. But let me tell you this, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As the thong-wearing crop-top girl was done devouring the big, black burrito — with her mouth, that is — we rolled into Uturoa. “Mauruuru [thanks] for the ride!” I squawked as our fists met in a bump. He flashed me that radiant smile one last time, leaving me basking in its warm, toothy glow. I hopped out of the car, closed the door behind me, and waved as he drove off.

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