Pacific Paradise – Day 6/28

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14th April:
Papeete, Tahiti – Day 1

Good Morning loyal Readers coming to you live (ish) from our first full day here in Papeete in Tahiti. It’s only 5.25am, and it’s already in the mid-twenties! 🥵🥵

It’s going to be a hot one!

We arrived last night around 8pm and soon settled into our self-catering Apartment (our home for the new few days). Yes, compared to the coolish winds across the Bay in recently departed San Francisco, Papeete already feels like an oven!

Our Cool Apartment (Literally!)

Maybe not surprisingly, we didn’t sleep too well (jet-lag/unfamiliar surroundings/hot, hot hot! etc) And ‘oh joy!’ Our first exposure to the ‘locals’ was at a frighteningly early 4.28am this morning. Yes, really! The local rooster was in good voice, welcoming in the new day! Thanks for that Rocky! 😮. I’ve added shotgun and ammunition to Eggs, Milk, Bread & Beer already on our shopping list. 🥱💤

Paradise Found! (click here)

For a quick summary of our holiday plans, click on ‘Paradise Found’ above 👍

Regular readers will know that just before we left San Francisco, we were emailed about a forthcoming change to our Cruise (that begins on Monday). Having now got our heads around the change, we’ve lost two islands, gained a new one and added another day at sea (like we need MORE days at sea!) 😟

Instead of visiting Hilo on Tuesday and Kailua on Friday, this has been replaced with Lahaina and an extra day at sea. The reason? ‘A decommissioned berth’. Obviously, that came as a complete surprise to the Cruise Company because ‘decommissioning’ is something that ‘just happens’ and is not planned for! Needless to say, we’re NOT impressed, and we’ll take the opportunity to share our displeasure with any ship staff who are prepared to listen! (I suspect we won’t be the only ones as there are Americans on-board too …and in my experience, they’ve cornered the market in how to complain!) 🤬

Plans for Friday

The View at 6am

Today was about orientating ourselves. We’re without transport so everywhere we chose to go was on foot… and it was a hot day! We also needed to locate somewhere to purchase food and find somewhere for Breakfast. We’ve never been to Tahiti so we’re in ‘full explorer mode’ (at least for today!). 🧭. For lovers of unusual currency, Tahiti is an oddity. In spite of being French owned, it DOESN’T use the Euro. Instead, step forward the (particularly difficult to get hold of) ‘Pacific Franc’, where, at the time of writing, you’ll get around 130 to the £.

But before any activity, we need to address the pronunciation of the capital city Papeete. We’ve now got the official answer, and it’s not as we thought… Apparently, the locals say it like this: Parp-ai-ai-tay. Now you know! (check out this link for a real local in action). You’re welcome! 😀

We set off for the Ferry Terminal pretty early. With Ann’s immaculate sense of direction, we were soon on the right path. And talking of ‘paths’, I use the term very lightly (literally, a bit like their construction!) If you think the potholes are bad at home, try the side-roads in Papeete, big enough to swallow a small child (but there’s never one around when you need them, is there?). With breakfast in mind, we also kept an eye open for a supermarket-type shop. There were certainly plenty of ‘Magasins’… but none were open, and some looked liked we might be invited IN, but we’d never be seen again!!! 😮

Onwards and downwards towards the town. Again, be very cautious about craters in the road AND where the paths suddenly end and become the road. On a positive note, we did spot the ‘alarm’ chicken from early this morning (or his brother anyway!). I wasn’t fussed either way (it’s a family thing!) and the ‘hit’ went out! 😟.

Say goodnight Rocky!

Boy! It was getting even warmer, but we soldiered on, and after around twenty minutes, we arrived at the Ferry Terminal

There are some VERY large Ferries out here!

…and given the early-travel nature of the travellers here, we found a good place serving hot food right on the harbours’s edge – Te Va’a Tere. A coffee and an omelette each – £21.76

Ouefs, Fromage et Jambon

With food inside us and the cooling breeze from the water, we were now ready to take on our ‘mega-wander’ around the town.

The Market

First stop? The market. There’s been one here since ‘forever’ and it seems to be a daily thing. It currently offers fruit, vegetables, fish, oils, handicrafts and various souvenir items for sale. Vendors also sell local textiles and handcrafted items such as shell necklaces. Today, when we visited it was very busy (probably helped along by a Cruise Ship being in Port!)

It was certainly an assault on the eyeballs for the range of colours on display – and those flower arrangements were particularly impressive!

The Town

From the retailing perspective, in many respects, it’s a town of contrasts. Tattoo Parlours share the same street as more upmarket brands. It’s desperately trying to be posh, but its roots dictate that (ahem!) traditional trades still flourish!

Stepping back from the water’s edge and heading more inland reveals a different side to the town. There’s the Cathedral and in an effort to amplify its ‘Frenchness’, is called, yes, you guessed it: Notre Dame! It’s not very big inside (but it is colourful!). Today, when we visited, it seemed to be over-run with those down on their luck.

Ironically, it’s only the second one we’ve seen since we left the UK

But like so many cities around the world, for every Notre Dame there’s a McD’s – and Papeete is no exception! In spite of the temptation of free wi-fi, (cheap date!!!) we resisted, and instead crossed the road, settling down in Les Reves De Lucie (Dreams of Lucie).

Some quality elevenses followed 😀

Two Apple Slices and two coffees – £21.91

Yes, it was as tasty as it looked and no, we didn’t stay for seconds (honestly!). Time to head back to the Apartment as the skies were turning greyer. Fortunately, now that we were familiar with the route, it seemed to be somewhat quicker. Before leaving, we even found a supermarket to stock up on provisions for the rest of our stay.

Finally, a word to those ‘driving enthusiasts’ out there: from what we saw, you absolutely DO NOT want to drive anywhere in Papeete. The roads were pretty-much one continuous traffic jam all the time we were here, with the added ‘bonus’ of the usual French driving temperament and matching skill-sets. You’re safer on the footpaths (probably!) 👍. Having said that, they do seem to let pedestrians take priority on Zebras!.

Pleased with the distance covered today!

The storm never came, but the heat was on… and worse, so was the humidity! It was turning into one of those days where for these two Brits, being INSIDE, in an air-conditioned room, was the better choice. Oh, and we’ve just discovered that the Apartment owner has set up pretty much all the major streaming services on the TV – Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and others are all here, so you can guess how the afternoon played out! 👍😉

Well, that’s it for today! Just a final check before we retire… Blog posted ✅. All AC units OFF ✅. Phones on charge ✅. Check contract is still running for that rooster! ✅.

Sleep well! See you Saturday! 💤💤💤💤. Tomorrow we’re taking the Ferry westwards, across to the island of Mo’orea.

Camera Roll HERE
(Updated Daily)

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