Letters from the South Pacific — August 2, 3, 4

Let­ters from the South Pacif­ic — August 2, 3, 4


You can tell when we have trav­el days because it’s prac­ti­cal­ly impos­si­ble to keep up with all that’s going on! We left Moorea, hav­ing spent a love­ly week on that island, and head­ed into our next adven­ture, which came with an extend­ed lay-over. By that I mean that we had a one night stay at the Inter­con­ti­nen­tal Air­port Hotel on Tahi­ti, before tak­ing a plane to Bora Bora the next day. Hon­est­ly, we were not par­tic­u­lar­ly excit­ed about it because we expect­ed a stan­dard air­port tow­er hotel with a nice room. Boy were we mis­tak­en!

First of all, the Inter­con­ti­nen­tal Air­port Hotel is a lush (and enor­mous) resort hotel that is a des­ti­na­tion in and of itself for peo­ple choos­ing to use Tahi­ti and Papeete as a base for their vis­it to the South Pacif­ic. It was absolute­ly love­ly (and the bell­men wore sarongs!). Sec­ond, our trav­el agent had upgrad­ed us to a larg­er room because of hav­ing to have us make the inter­im stop.

What we did not know was that he had also asked his boss to give us a sec­ond upgrade, or that all this activ­i­ty bumped up Stephen’s loy­al­ty card so that we got yet anoth­er upgrade.

We end­ed up in an over­wa­ter bun­ga­low over­look­ing the ocean, and it was AMAZING!!! We actu­al­ly wished we had a few nights there after see­ing the resort and the room!

Papeete is the largest city on the largest island of Tahi­ti. Like Hawaii, one of the Islands is also named for the gen­er­al area that is French Poly­ne­sia (118 islands, 67 of which are inhab­it­ed).

Papeete is also the largest city in French Poly­ne­sia, with just over 280,000 peo­ple. It is the stop­ping point and dis­tri­b­u­tion cen­ter for all the inter­na­tion­al ship­ping of mate­ri­als, food and com­merce. If com­merce came to a halt on Papeete, all the islands would suf­fer. There is also inter-island com­merce, but any­thing that is not native to the islands has to come through Papeete.

I digress to share this, because many peo­ple who come to Tahi­ti stay on Tahi­ti and in or around Papeete for both busi­ness and plea­sure. Over­all, though, the expe­ri­ence on the island of Tahi­ti and in Papeete is very dif­fer­ent from life on any of the oth­er islands. In Moorea, for exam­ple, the largest town has less than 5,000 peo­ple, and the pop­u­la­tion of the entire island is just over 16,000! And that’s one of the most pop­u­lat­ed islands after Tahi­ti itself. So again, very dif­fer­ent expe­ri­ences!

After our overnight treat in Papeete, we had a leisure­ly break­fast, then head­ed to the air­port for a quick trip to Bora Bora…we thought. In fact, due to mechan­i­cal prob­lems with not one but two of their air­crafts, Air Tahi­ti left us sit­ting at the air­port for almost four hours. Crowd­ed, hot, masked, and gen­er­al­ly unhap­py, most­ly because we were quick­ly los­ing an entire day on Bora Bora!

Final­ly, we board­ed the plane and made our way to Bora Bora. Now you have to under­stand, the air­port in Bora Bora is the ONLY thing on that par­tic­u­lar island! To get any­where else requires a boat. In our case, it was a speed­boat, and it was a quick-ish twen­ty minute ride to the Inter­con­ti­nen­tal Resort and Spa, which will be our home until we leave to head back home.

Now I have to say that hav­ing a process can be a good thing. But there are times that exten­u­at­ing cir­cum­stances make the process a bit if a pain.… This was one of those times. All three of the cou­ples on our boat were ready to get to our rooms — like now — but the resort had oth­er ideas. First, we got a tour one one of their carts. It’s a big resort so it WAS help­ful to get an overview. Then they deposit­ed us in a lounge area to “enjoy a com­pli­men­ta­ry bev­er­age” while they got our check-in paper­work ready. Final­ly they called us up to the front desk, did our check in, and invit­ed us to sit in anoth­er lounge area while we wait­ed for some­one to dri­ve us to our bun­ga­low. You can see where this is going.

When we got to our bun­ga­low, I was com­plete­ly blown away — by the loca­tion, the view, and the bun­ga­low itself. Although our accom­mo­da­tions at both resorts pri­or to this were won­der­ful, this one is over the top. We have an unob­struct­ed view of the moun­tain and the lagoon, where the water is between 3.5 and four feet deep. Great for snorkling. Not so much coral where we are but lots of fish.

The bun­ga­low itself is real­ly won­der­ful, and sur­pris­ing­ly large. We seri­ous­ly don’t need all this space…but I’ll take it! Stephen did an incred­i­ble job research­ing this, along with every­thing else. He is a mas­ter when it comes to fig­ur­ing out all the details as well as the big deci­sions! We’ve wait­ed years to take this par­tic­u­lar vaca­tion, and it was worth the wait. Now we get to relax and enjoy our last week in the
Sun on Bora Bora!

For Bora Bora pho­tos, see the next blog post!