November 21 – 30, 2013
We arrived in Papeete, Tahiti, one of the French Polynesian Islands, on the 21st. It is a city of 300,000 so it is easy to forget that this is some people’s vision of paradise. There are lots of cars, people, highways and shopping in Papeete, the capital. When we arrived at our hotel, we got a pleasant surprise. We got bumped up from our regular room to an overwater bungalow (“OWB”) with a view of Moorea, another French Polynesian Island we intend to visit later in the week. We didn’t have much time in Tahiti, two days, so we wasted no time renting a car and Rita drove 100 kilometers around the island. The highlight for us was to see the Memorial/Museum to Paul Gauguin, a famous French impressionist painter, who chucked it all, a successful job as a stockbroker, a wife and 8 children, at age 43 to pursue his passion, which was painting, in Tahiti. Of course, when we arrived at the Memorial/Museum, it was closed for repairs. But, the remainder of the trip was still interesting. We saw waterfalls, blowholes, a lighthouse and some great beaches. When we returned to the hotel, we went to see a Polynesian Dance Show. It was excellent with a lot of performers doing traditional hula style dancing. I hear that Indy is under a cold spell right now, 19 degrees. We are having 84 degree weather. Sorry about that; but not too sorry!
On the 23rd, we moved from Tahiti to Moorea. Moorea looks more like what I think a South Sea Island should look like. Of course, my vision of a South Sea Island is based upon seeing the movie South Pacific when I was 10 years old. In the movie, there was this island called Bali Hai which was lushest green in full techni-color, beautiful bays, craggy mountain peaks and beautiful beaches. Well, fast forward 55 years and you have Moorea with lush green craggy mountains and beautiful harbors like Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay. We rented a car and drove the entire island which is only half the size of Tahiti and which has a population of just 13,000. There is a great overlook on the island called Belvedere which allows you to see a full view of Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay at the same time separated by Mount Rotui. A spectacular place to visit for the view, but because the view is so expansive, photos from Belvedere do not do the view justice.
It was interesting to talk to Mooreans who profess to be self sufficient. Many of them have gardens year around because of the climate, and grow their own vegetables. When they are not working, they fish. Some told us they catch 90 pounds of fish, fillet it and freeze it and it sustains them for 3 months. It seemed like the soil and the sea really provide for these people who have relatively few wants, a lesson there for all of us. Conquer your wants, know your needs, live in the present and be happy, don’t worry!
On the 25th, we returned to Papeete and caught a short flight to Bora Bora, which has a population of 8000 full time residents. This is our last stop on our round the world adventure so we will be permanently signing off soon. We have no idea what it will mean to us to end our journey, but we will spend 5 days in Bora Bora contemplating our trip, what it has meant to us and our hopes for the future. We will post our photos of Bora Bora which will primarily be about motus, snorkeling, Mount Otemanu a/k/a “Bird Catcher”, the lagoon and the fact that everyone thinks this island is one of the most beautiful islands in the world, if not the most beautiful island in the world. We are staying in an OWB at the Four Seasons. This was our big splurge to wind up our trip. When we got here, they bumped us up to a Mount Otemanu view OWB, rather than a lagoon view. When we took our first walk to see the resort, we had not walked 50 feet and saw a stingray in the water swimming under the bridge to our OWB. It was really cool! The grounds are magnificently manicured. The Sunset bar serves great sushi and other things for Rita to eat. The cosmos were the best we have had on the trip. (I think we say that every time we have one!) They have a lot of activities at the resort. We are trying to narrow down our choices. Thinking about a wave runner ride around the island and a sunset cruise.
Tuesday evening we took our resort’s boat into Viatape, the main and only city on the island of Bora Bora. We ate at the Matira Point Restaurant. Had a pleasant meal of salmon and mahi mahi both of which were caught that day.
On Wednesday, we went snorkeling and laid on the beach in the afternoon. We saw a lot of fish while we snorkeled and fed them bread. But, they moved so quickly that they were hard to take photos of. In the evening, we took a sunset cruise with Rinaldo, a 33 year old Dutchman, from France who came to Bora Bora with his wife to follow their dream of scuba diving. Ah, to be so young again. The sunset was spectacular.
Thanksgiving day we had breakfast in our OWB. We sunned on our deck. Then, we had a Thanksgiving Buffet with all the trimmings. But, unfortunately all the trimmings did not include mashed potatoes, green bean casserole or pumpkin pie. But, the traditional cosmopolitans were fantastic, all four of them. We are truly thankful and know we are blessed and wish to share our blessings with others.
Friday, we can’t believe this is our last full day of vacation. It has gone so quickly and the reality of returning is starting to set in. Rita arranged a wave runner trip around the island. That was really fun. She is as fast on a wave runner as she is when she drives. 37 miles per hour on water seems a lot faster on a wave runner than it does in a boat. The water was crystal clear, Mount Otemanu was green against a blue sky with puffy white clouds, and the trip took about two hours. We had a great time. Tonight we had dinner at St. James in Viatape. We had tuna and beef tenderloin. Thus, ended not only our last dinner in Bora Bora, but also our last full day of vacationing.
When we return to Indianapolis on the 1st we will post our thoughts and feelings regarding our trip to share with you. Thanks for following along. See you soon. Love Norm & Rita.
Our last stop was Tahiti, Papeete, Moorea and Bora Bora. Here are the pictures from our last stop.
Our live entertainment!!
Moorea! We stopped along the way to our hotel to catch a view of this side of the island. Looks beautiful!
Ahh.. yes, then Bora Bora!
Took a sunset cruise.
Thanksgiving Day Rita woke up to this!
Here’s a few pictures of wedding island right before we ate our Thanksgiving Day Buffet!
We also had some fun on these!