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Published: June 26th 2017
f I said Pape'ete (pronounced Pap-ay-et-ay), most people would say 'where??'
If I said Tahiti, the penny drops immediately and many folk think of David Essex in Mutiny on the Bounty a
nd grass skirts. Ok, the women will think of David Essex whilst the men will consider thinking about the grass skirts!!
Tahiti is actually made up from 2 islands Tahiti nui (Big Tahiti) and Tahiti iti (Little Tahiti) and were joined together a couple of million years ago by some geological shenanigans!. Tahiti makes up more than 1 quarter of the surface area of French Polynesia and two-thirds of the population.
OK, enough of the geography lesson. Today it was another hot one hitting 90ºF at the hottest part of the day. Chris, (not from Chris and Roisin but another guest at the dinner table), had warned everybody that it will be a day of WALLS in Pape'ete. This, Chris and Roisin learned, stands for ‘Wandering Around Like Lost Souls'
What this meant was that Pape'ete is much more urban and industrialised than any other port Chris and Roisin have visited so far and to see the true Tahiti, one will need to get out of
Chris and Roisin headed for the information desk, portside on leaving the ship. On obtaining a map, they had decided to take a bus a few miles along the west shore to a beach and nearby waterfall and a marae, a Polynesian temple.
Roisin asked the correct questions. "What number bus do we need?
“Make sure it's a ‘west' bus heading for Paea."
In the Polynesian language every vowel is pronounced separately so this town is pronounced Pa-eh-ah. “Where do we get it from?
“Behind the Market Square”
“200 (Central Polynesian) francs”
And then came the dreaded piece of volunteered information “Make sure you find out what time the bus is coming back”
Hmm! That didn't sound promising.
With map in hand, Chris and Roisin meandered their way through the busy market street. Past a dog with the longest legs you have ever seen. The French are a nation of dog lovers and seem to be content with stray dogs roaming the street. As a French dependency, this penchant is mirrored in French Polynesia, second only to Korea although they prefer their dogs deep-fried!!!
On arriving at the bus
terminus, there were four buses parked up but none seemed to have Paea shown. After 5 minutes, Chris studied the map and checked the buses. He noticed that the buses have ‘Est' painted on the side. He pointed out to Roisin that the west terminus is a few streets away so they proceeded to their new position. Sure enough, these buses had ‘Ouest' on the side but still none had the destination they wished to travel to. Still with the information echoing in their heads, “Make sure you find out what time the bus is coming back”.
They decided to abort this idea and head back to the port in search of inspiration.
On arriving back, they headed over to a small crowd and were met by Judith and Martin, two of their dinner companions who had just booked themselves on an island tour in a small mini bus for $30. Their tour started at 12:30. It was 10:15.
There may have been a few spaces left, but not relishing being cooped up in a mini bus for 2 hours, Chris and Roisin moved on. They were shortly approached by an American couple that were looking to
share a taxi for a 2-hour tour for $45 each. Not relishing being cooped up etc. etc. you get the picture??!!
Other independent tours were being advertised but the transport seemed very basic. After discussion, Chris and Roisin decided to approach the first offer of the 2-hour tour in the mini bus. Unfortunately it was fully booked.
This was turning out to be a day of indecision. It was baking hot but in true English style had a Wander Around Like Lost Souls feel about it.
The cathedral was very quaint sitting engulfed in this modern city – very quaint and very wooden. It was nothing more than a glorified church. This is a catholic denomination and was situated to the east of the city. There is a protestant church. However, this is right at the other end of the city to the west.
Tahiti is said to be the 2nd most expensive country in the world after Japan. Chris and Roisin didn't hang around to test this theory. They bought some sweeties at “Le pic-et-mix” shop that cost about £4.50. What's wrong with that? It's only about the same you'd pay at a Cineworld Cinema!!!
A sculpture from fruit
I ws always told not to mess with my food
A couple of yachts tied up on an adjacent quay were receiving a lot of attention. One yacht was called the EOS.
This Chris and Roisin learned later belongs to the American entrepreneur Barry Diller and his fashion designer wife Diane von Füstenburg. The yacht is 302ft long and is reputed to be the biggest privately owned yacht in the world.
The 2nd yacht, equally as impressive, was called the Archimedes a
nd was a corporately owned vessel belonging to American conglomerates Knossos. This yacht ‘used' to be the 75th largest yacht in the world and valued at just over $100m. I wonder if Mr Diller looked down at the puny $100m Archimedes and thought ‘Mine's bigger than yours!!' Captain Nicholas Carlton stood on the bridge of the Sapphire Princess and probably thought ‘I win!!??'
A canon 1000D SLR camera has so far been used to document Chris and Roisin's amazing adventure. The canon 1000D is equiped with a safegaurd against using it without an SD memory card. However, Chris only discovered this on returning to the cabin realising that the SD card had not been replaced in the camera after uploading the previous days photos. The safegaurd
is now activated although this doesn't alter the fact that he had been happily 'clicking' away all day without realising it was all for nothing!
During dinner, Chris spotted a new fish on the menu that he hadn't tried. It is called “Wahoo”!!
Florin, the waiter said it is like a dolphin but not a dolphin. This fish that looked like dolphin but wasn't dolphin tasted like chicken but wasn't chicken!!!
During the past week, the entertainment crew had organised a contest among passengers along the lines of the TV reality game show Survivor. Now with most of the guests, just waking up each morning is a result!! However, for the younger passengers (55+!) the game was on. Chris and Roisin hadn't been to see any of the previous rounds but tonight during the sail away party, the final included their mate Donny (from Donny and Marie fame!!)
Donny at about 5 foot 7 is said to like a pie or two. His opponent from the US of A looked about 30 years his junior and was towering above him at 6 foot 2.
Their task was to defrost a knotted T-shirt from a solid block
of ice and the first one to wear the T-shirt would be declared the winner.
As soon as the klaxon sounded, Donny headed for the heated whirlpool and jumped in fully clothed, solid block of ice and all. At the same time, the American threw his solid block to the ground trying to smash it but didn't even chip it (he marked the deck, though!!). On seeing Donny's intuitive solution he quickly followed suit. The race was on!
It was a frantic 10 minutes with a lot of splashing and gnawing of T-shirts. Finally, and by a matter of a second, the American was declared the winner.
This kicked off proceedings for the sail away party. The Vintage people got the party going with, appropriately YMCA. Those who had been attending the line dancing lessons were showing everyone what a complete waste of time it was. It looked like a Geriatric version of the dancing debut of Boyzone on the Gay Byrne's Late Late Show!! When the caller shouted Step – heel - turn. Some did step, some did heel and the others turned!! Hilarious!!!
The buffet was a sight to behold. The ice carver had
been busy with his artistic skills creating a swan (well that's what it looks like!!) and the fruit sculptures had also gone to a lot of trouble in decorating the stand. “That music is awfully loud”, Chris said as the Vintage People were tearing through ‘Brown Eyed Girl” “They can crank it up as loud as they like. It's not as if the neighbours are going to complain!!” Roisin said as the boat sailed at a steady 12 knots toward their next destination, Bora Bora.
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