Jumping Ship in Tahiti

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Oceania » French Polynesia » Tahiti » Papeete
November 10th 2018
Published: November 13th 2018
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Dateline: November 10, 2018, Jumping Ship: Papeete, Tahiti and on to Moorea (Society Islands)

Jumping Ship

We are jumping ship today. We will get off, spend a half day in Papeete and then head for our ferry and Moorea by 12:45.

Since we are in French Polynesia, everyone of course, speaks French, We have a few words of French…oui, merci, un, deux, trois, thank you… we will do fine ?.

Our ship is docked right downtown so we wander into Papeete. Papeete is a bustling, busy city, on Saturday. It is the capitol of French Polynesia. The huge marketplace is wonderful with tons of fresh fish, vegetables, fruits, lots of clothing and pearl shops. When we got to the market Jean noticed a woman selling pearls that was just a table, not a shop, and she wanted to go back there to buy a pearl. The table was on the outside of the market. As usual, Jean struck up a conversation with the proprietor, Hiva and found out that Hiva’s parents have a pearl farm on an island 5 hours away by plane, near the Marquesas. Hiva sells the jewelry here at the market place. Jean got a wonderful black pearl for her necklace and after exchanging hugs, promised to give Hiva an excellent review on Trip Advisor and Facebook ;-). We love seeing the successes of these little businesses in this part of the world.

Our next stop is to find ice cream…we have been told by one of our cruise shipmates, there is a little shop in the marketplace that has the best ice cream ever. We search and finally find it…but alas it is closed. Cope is getting a little sugar low so buys some bananas and eats them while we are walking. What is going on…Ah… I think Jean is in love. There is a big, good looking Tahitian in native dress and tattoos everywhere, letting people take his picture (for a small fee of course) Jean is right in line for her turn. ?

After wandering the market for a couple of hours, we head down the street to have a Coke Zero and rest in the shade. We watch shoppers, both from the cruise ship as well as locals going to the market to do their shopping. This is a great city and we wish we had more time Papeete but…the time has come to head back to the ship and pick up our luggage. We have to be totally off by noon.

Back on to the ship for a last lunch, we load up our rolling backs and head to our next adventure…..the ferry to the island of Moorea. We roll our bags a couple of blocks along the waterfront to the large, modern ferry terminal. We present our tickets, that we purchased and printed out back home in the states, and are told to take the elevator to the 3rd level to wait at the gate; she tells us that we cannot take our rolling bags onboard but will need to go back downstairs behind the ticket booth and put them on a blue cart. Hummm ok. Down we go, back across the parking lot, back to the ticket booth, around a corner and there are 3 carts being pulled by a small tractor. We hand our luggage to an “old guy” ? who tosses them on top of the stacked luggage.

As the ferry approaches, we are astounded at its size. The Armenti ferry is a gigantic catamaran car/truck/passenger ferry that runs between the French Polynesian islands of Tahiti and Moorea. The ferry is ultra-modern with comfortable leather seats, WIFI, and a big food court. We enjoy a ginger ale and an ice cream as we head 45 minutes across to Moorea.

As we exit the ferry, the first car in line waiting for passengers, is a white van with a driver holding up a sign “Norcross”. This works. Our bags come off the ferry on the tractor and we scramble to get them. Our driver, Moses, tells us we have a short stop at the airport to pick up another fare. At the tiny airport, two young guys from the US jump in the van and ask to be taken to the nearest store where they can buy liquor. Moses, our friendly Polynesian driver, charges them 1000 francs ($10 US) each, drops them at a store and arranges for someone else to pick them up and take them back to the airport. They only had 40 minutes before their plane left yet they left their new brides (they were both on their honeymoons) to search out liquor to take to Bora Bora… LOL. One of the guys tells us that there is a grocery store just a 10-minute walk down the road from the InterContinental where we are staying. This will prove to be good advice.

As we drive around the island for our 45-minute trip to the InterContinental, we are so impressed with the cleanliness and quality of the life the natives live compared to Bora Bora. We saw little or no damage from storms and ask Moses when the last storm or tsunami hit, and he said the island is so protected they have never had any real storm damage. This is such a beautiful island. The mountains are so high and full of lush, green trees and bushes. As on the other islands we have visited, everyone lives along the coast and not in the interior. There are some homes and resorts up the sides of the mountains, but not many. The lush vegetation just takes our breath away.

Moorea is the only island we have visited that has opted to put all of its utilities underground…so the vistas are pristine. Moses tells us about life on the island. Many people commute on the ferry every day to Papeete to work as do two of his children. There are only 15,000 people on Moorea and Moses said they would like two more big resorts to be built as then there would be jobs for everyone and only a few would have to commute to Papeete.

We arrive at the InterContinental Moorea Resort and Spa, to a beautiful open-air lobby. We are greeted by Axelle with cold orange juice and then transported to our room by golf cart. The room is beautiful and looks out on the pool area. Nope, we are not in an overwater bungalow (not in the budget, LOL) but we will show you pictures of them in the next blog. Time for dinner by the pool.

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