Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Life on Tahiti

According to local gossip Bill's little boat

On the black beach

Papeete Market

Radisson pool

We awoke in a real paradise. The Radisson is a wonderful resort nestled into its own lagoon about 6 miles northeast of Papeete. All of the rooms above the first floor overlook the huge infinity pool, or the lagoon. This is a volcanic island, which causes most of the beaches to have black sand. There are a few white and pink beaches around the island, depending on whether there is a coral reef. We started our day with a leisurely walk on the beach followed by a casual breakfast in the open air restaurant overlooking the beach.

We must be in a bit of the off season as there are not a lot of guests around. While lounging and swimming at the pool there did not seem to more than five or six groups at the pool at any one time. On the beach there were always a lot of local kids practicing their surfing. Unlike the Mexican beaches there were no vendors bothering you to purchase jewelry, t-shirts, or blankets. If you like to just lie around the pool or beach, read a book, and gaze at beautiful scenery, this is the place for you.

By the afternoon we had enough sun and water, so arranged to take the hotel excursion into Papeete for three hours. They pay for a taxi to drive you in at 2 p.m. and then pick you up at 5 p.m. We did not find Papeete to be a very big town and we were able to walk the 7 or 8 blocks lengthwise and 5 blocks of depth where most of the commerce (meaning shops) was conducted in about 20 minutes. They have a fruit, vegetable, and fish market which we visited although I think most of the action must have been in the morning. For the tourist downtown offers a huge supply of Tahiti black pearls and gorgeous cotton cloth.

We had a late lunch/early dinner on the waterfront harbor street. There was a lot of shipping and a few private yachts in the harbor, including a magnificent large yacht (with a helicopter on the back deck) which we were advised belonged to Bill & Melinda Gates. I don't know, doesn't look big enough to me. I guess they haven’t given away all of their money.

Quirky Living Note: A van driver told me that they do not have a lot of crime on the island, only about two murders a year. However, the French government wants to increase the number of gendarmes. That will obviously increase crime, as there will be more of them looking for it! They do, however, have a serious graffiti problem which is seriously spoiling the built up areas of the island.

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