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7

Noblesse oblige

When you travel to the most luxurious holiday resort in the world, you travel in style. By private heli-

copter for instance. To my surprise, the pilot on duty is a Dutch woman, and furthermore a Dutch

woman married to a Belgian from Charleroi. A coincidence that leads us to make the usual remarks

about “a small world”. Esther and Matthieu take care of the transfers of passengers between the

various islands. Island-hopping in paradise; not a bad job to have. The low-altitude flight above the

crystal-clear water is an experience in itself. After twenty minutes, we see the contours of Tetiaroa

appear. The situation is nothing if not spectacular. Right in the middle of the deep-blue ocean, a

magnificent coral reef surrounds a turquoise lagoon in which thirteen small sandy islands, known

as the Motu, are strung together like beads on an expensive necklace. A picture postcard image.

Tetiaroa means ‘he who keeps his distance’ in Tahitian. A more than suitable name for this distant

location, because Tetiaroa is in many aspects literally a bit of an outsider.