Pacific Paradise – Day 5/28

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13th April:
Papeete, Tahiti

Another day, another country – and another timezone! Having said goodbye to San Francisco this morning, we’re now on our way to Tahiti in French Polynesia and the capital town of Papeete. It’s an eight-hour (ish) flight, courtesy of United Airlines, UA115, and there’s another change to our watches. We were -8 hours in SF and we’ll be even further behind the UK once we land. Strangely, jet-lag hasn’t been an issue so far, we’re just waking up earlier. 👍

Paradise Found!

Well, this is the BIG one! Probably the most varied and lengthy holiday we’ve ever taken!

As you can guess from the title, this 28-day jaunt near and around the Pacific Ocean involves land, air and yes (a lot of) sea! We originally planned to do this one a few years back, but Covid got in the way! But on a positive note, at least we’ve had plenty of time to pack!

Our Pacific Paradise began by heading to Heathrow by taxi, then taking the Virgin flight to San Francisco where we spent three days exploring the city. Next, it’s now back on a plane to take us to Tahiti for two more days. We then pick up the Oceania Regatta for an 18-night cruise exploring French Polynesia (taking in the islands of Bora Bora, Rangiroa and Nuku Hiva) – or maybe NOT.. see below! It’s then north towards the Hawaiian Islands. After twenty-six days, we disembark in Los Angeles, where we round it all off with two days in Venice Beach, before flying home to Heathrow, again courtesy of Virgin. Phew! 😁

Oh joy!!! 😟. Just as we hit the pillow last night, we received an email from Oceania, our Cruise Company, announcing that there was a change to our forthcoming itinerary, departing this coming Monday. They’ve removed TWO of the planned island stops, and replaced it with A SINGLE alternative. We’ll get our head around the implications when we’re fully awake, but we’re not impressed, given the short notice! 🤬🤬

Bye-bye San Francisco – we’ll be back! ❣️❣️. Next stop? Tahiti!!!!

We landed on Thursday evening just after 7pm, local time (Friday, 6am, Kettering Mean Time). The United Airlines flight was ‘OK’, nothing special but absolutely packed! Screaming sprogs encouraged the liberal use of headphones. Add to that, ‘school-dinner’ quality food for that all-round ‘meh’ experience! Oh, and the seats weren’t that comfy! Then the TV system broke down for about three hours! 😮. Cue: Mr Grumpy!!!

It was dark when we docked and we were soon queuing with the masses to get through Immigration. It was a very slow affair with just four staff trying to handle about 300 passengers. The temperature outside in Papeete was a glorious 24℃ and inside the Terminal about 124℃! 🥵. C’mon peeps, why no AC????

Welcome to a very warm Tahiti

It took us around another hour to get through the bureaucracy and once we’d retrieved our bags, we joined another queue at the Taxi Rank! Once we’d bagged our wheels, we had an opportunity to practise our O-Level French to get us to our Apartment. It must have translated well, because inside 15 minutes we were at our new home for the next few days.

Our Apartment

…and what an apartment! 👍👍

I think we’re going to love it here! 😀👍

Some Facts About Tahiti

Tahiti is the economic, cultural and political centre of French Polynesia, and has been an overseas part of the French Republic since 1880. There are 121 islands across French Polynesia, covering some 1,200 square miles. The capital of French Polynesia, Papeete, is located on the northwest coast of Tahiti and we are spending a few days here. Tahiti was originally settled by Polynesians and today they represent about 70% of the island’s population, with the rest made up of Europeans, Chinese and those of mixed heritage. Everything here is very French and this is the main language spoken by all the 190,000 locals. Despite being attached to France, the local currency is not the Euro, but the French Pacific Franc (and it was a real challenge getting hold of the currency before we left the UK!).

Papeete, which means ‘basket of water’, is an ‘un cheval’ small town – but busy! Despite the pretty manic local traffic, you soon wander into side streets and boulevards full of tempting French patisseries, Parisian-style pavement cafés and local shops selling the famous Tahitian pearls.    

Just time to take a few pictures of the Apartment before we crash out – it’s been a long day!

See you tomorrow! 👍👍

Camera Roll (updated daily)
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