Saturday, August 18, 2012

Papeete Tower, Sun Princess requesting clearance...

The end of the runway at Papeete International Airport

That's the frequency to call the tower
We have had several people suggest that Tahiti isn’t the most beautiful place in the world or even very interesting. I hate to admit that I agree with them. We haven’t seen Moorea (an island just a short ferry-ride away) or Bora Bora yet and most of our friends who have been to this area seem to think they is much nicer than Tahiti. So we’ll have to give it another shot. Sometime. Maybe not soon, however!

We did have a nice day with Patrick in the wilds of Tahiti, however. I wasn’t quite sure what we were in for with him but Garry and Joanne (from the world cruise last year thought he was pretty good. Our weather didn’t cooperate completely but at least it didn’t rain. Patrick took us through the traffic of downtown Papeete (which was nothing compared to what it would be later! LA Friday traffic has nothing on Papeete on a Friday!), stopping for gas (petrol for my Aussie readers—of whom there are more than my American readers!) and then some sandwiches for lunch. I have never before seen pink ham! But that’s what you get in Tahiti if you want a ham and cheese sandwich. Yum. Not.

Finally we got off the main road and headed up to the mountains and the waterfalls. There were quite a few waterfalls but there hadn’t been as much rain so in many places we could only see where the waterfalls would be if they were waterfalling. Fine with me, I didn’t really want to slosh around in the rain.

Patrick has a penchant for asking questions: This is a _______? (Bear in mind that we Aussies and Americans had absolutely NO idea whatever plant he was holding up and asking us to identify!) We would all make wild guesses and laugh until one of us stumbled on the correct answer or Patrick took pity on us and gave us the answer while looking like we were the absolute worst students he had ever had the misfortune to question. We just laughed some more.

He did show us lots of plants including a really, really weird one. It’s a fern; you just brush the leaves of one and the leaves immediately close up. If you run your hand along a bunch of the leaves, the bunches just close up and wilt completely. He said they would bounce back in 15–20 minutes. Pretty cool. I tried to get photos but couldn’t. Bummer.

We drove and drove and finally got to a place where we would have lunch and perhaps go for a swim. Only Randy and I had brought bathing suits and the hike was quite strenuous even if short. Patrick jumped in, Randy jumped in, I clambered down and sort of oozed into the water. Cool, kind of refreshing, but we weren’t staying that long and none of the other six were going in, so we didn’t stay in that long. There was a waterfall that Patrick got under—sort of like a massage, he said—but we didn’t have time.

After a lunch standing around the vehicle, a rather bare-bones pickup with (luckily) padded seats, we headed back down the mountain. That pretty much was it for our $80 per person tour. We didn’t get to see the blowhole, we didn’t get to see much of anything except lots of plants. Although Patrick was entertaining and quite fun, I did expect more of a “tour” than we got. What we got was a drive out and back on the island. A tour around the island might have been better.

Comments about Tahiti being quite expensive are definitely correct. I needed some mousse for my hair; $27!!! With a combination of not much time (we got back at 1600) and expensive (beers are on the order of $10–$11 each) we didn’t even try to have a beer, just headed back to the ship for a much needed shower (open air truck, dirt roads, you do the math!).

Oh, yes, the title of this: “Papeete Tower, Sun Princess requesting clearance”? I have it on reliable authority (my husband, the retired airline pilot) that the ship has to let the airport know they are there because the end of the runway is so close to the ship corridor.
Coming into Papeete; note all the canoes on the beach

Nice little boat with a helicopter on board

Tahitian dancer
Patrick, our tour guide

Patrick, Neil, and Randy
Patrick bringing the large leaf of some introduced pest plant for us to indentify
The group admiring the scenery

Wild orchids

Patrick sliding into the pool

Not THERE!!!

He made it!

Flat Stanley admiring the scenery

Patrick and Flat Stanley
Janet with a natural "tattoo" on her forehead from one of the local ferns

That's our road out there in the distance


I wasn't sure Patrick's truck would fit!

That's the tunnel in the distance that we just went through
They believe in steep roads in Tahiti

Somebody actually has a hotel out here in the Tahitian wilderness.

Pam showing Randy where her G-spot is

Look closely, these guys are standing in the tanks of water from which they scoop out water to water the plants in the public byways.

Not much fauna in Tahiti, but there are bees

Some of the roads we were on all day.

1 comment:

  1. that was a shame you didn't get to the blowhole... he took around the island a little before we headed back after the waterfalls...