Wingin' it around the Society Islands
18.01.2007 30 °C
It's fair to say that French Polynesia had a hard act to follow after the awesome Cook Islands but we ventured off with an open mind and a hearty dose of optimism - this is how our 3 week stint panned out;
Pape'ete - where the frick are we?
Our first stop was Tahiti's capital Pape'ete where we were greeted in arrivals by what's commonly referred to as a culture shock - everyone is so bloody rude and unhelpful. We paid an absolute fortune for a taxi to our accommodation and paid a further fortune for two skanky bunks in a very skanky hostel in the middle of the red light district (got to count your blessing I suppose). The first impressions were not good.
The following morning we set off on an exploration exercise. I was expecting a lush tropical island but what we got was an over expensive, dirty port town. We had originally planned to stay in Pape'ete until New Year but decided to make a move the following day after we had sampled the night life - everyone is either horrifically drunk or proper crazy or both.
Mo'orea - the one we really liked.
We hopped on a ferry across to Mo'orea after 2 nights in hell - now this is more like it. We got ourselves settled with some nice accommodation (by French Polynesia standards) right on the lagoon. We spent alot of time chilling on the beach and saw some awesome sunsets, each evening just after the sun had gone in the reef sharks would come into feed which was a pretty thrilling sight. We met a really good crowd of people and enjoyed seeing in the New Year with our new friends. We ended up staying for just over a week, the sun was shining, we were having a good laugh and quite frankly we were abit scared to move on incase this was as good as it got!
New Years Eve with Jasper & Maria
On shark duty
One evening we treated ourselves to a night out at Tiki Village which is a replication on what a traditional Polynesian village would have looked liked. In addition to the food and dancing they take you on a tour of the village and explain all aspects of Polynesian heritage so it was pretty interesting. The show after the meal (which coincidently was cooked in a ground oven) was more of a theatrical performance and really rather good.
Earth Oven - Dinner is served
Tiki Village perfomance
Huahine - the unspoilt one.
One by one all our mates left Mo'orea so we decided to make a move to Huahine. Huahine isn't a major player on the tourist trail so it is pretty unspoiled. We checked into our accommodation to discover we would be sharing a dorm with Imke and Claudia two Dutch birds we had been hanging around with in Mo'orea (I think they hid thier disappointment well)
The weather wasn't great so we decided to hire a car the following day to explore the island. We visited a pearl farm, fed some wild eels, looked at ancient burial grounds and did some snorkeling. The evenings were spent drinking happy hour Hinano's with drunk fisherman trying to deifier what the hell they were rattling on about. We did incidentally learn some funky new handshakes as noone in French Polynesia does a conventional shake.
Bora Bora - the hideously expensive one.
A strict diet of 2 minute noodles and baguettes with Jambon & Fromage had been adopted from the outset of French Polynesia - we were too poor to eat anything else. When the girls suggested a trip to the Millionaires playground which is Bora Bora we didn't want to look like Pikey's so we tagged along.
Arriving in Bora Bora
The weather had taken a turn for the worse and it rained pretty much solidly for the 2 days we were in Bora Bora putting quite literally abit of a dampener on the proceedings. It's a nice place, the lagoon is beautiful (the Cook Islands were better) but it just isn't set up for the budget traveller unless you have an industrial strength credit card. It's full of load American tourists on cruise ship tours who dress horrifically.
We made a good friend in the guy who ran the place we were staying who doubled as our personal chauffeur. We went to go and watch some more dancing (there is pretty much nothingelse to do of an evening) and got chased by wild dogs alot.
Ra'iatea - the boring one.
Imke & Claudia headed back to Pape'ette from Bora Bora to catch a flight to LA so myself and Mark headed over to Ra'iatea. We stayed on a guys ranch in a converted barn which in principle was a pretty good idea apart from the weather was awful so we spent 48 hours playing cards and wishing the weather would give us a frickin' break! So we didn't really see much of Ra'iatea and we did brave the weather and chanced a stroll we got chased by wild dog again (is it my cologne..?)
Back in Pae'ette waiting for our flights to escape. Had abit of a tip off the Dutch girls as to where to stay which was much better. Also, and I am not at all proud of this as I am an honest law abiding citizen most of the time but we did sneak into the Intercontinental Resort and spent the day chilling at their pool and wondering why the hell American people always have to talk so loud and dress like they are stuck in the 80's.
So we survived but only just, luckily I had been having french lessons off Adeline on the sly back in the Seymour days which came in handy although I never did learn the french for "Get your fucking crazy, rabid dog off my chuffin' leg will ya mate" - you can't win 'em all.
My advice if your looking for tropical paradise, give Polynesia a miss and stick to The Cooks.
Next stop - Malaysian Borneo.