Sunday, March 27, 2011

Stranded in Paradise....Part 1

    Paradise.  Do you have a destination that speaks of paradise?  My Love and I traveled to paradise and what a trip it was!

      T. had always wanted to visit the South Pacific and when the movie Hurricane
 came out in 1979 starring Mia Farrow we knew we had to go.  Granted the movie wasn't great but the scenery was amazing.  We talked and talked about how we could go, how we could make it happen.  With some clever maneuvers we figured out a way.

     We went to our travel agent who helped us with our honeymoon trip two years before, and came home with the knowledge that we would be setting off very soon to the exotic islands of Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea.  Such dreams we had of what it would be like.  I could only imagine how much T. would love this trip!  This destination that had talked to much about and longed to visit.

     Our trip began in Oakland, California flying to Los Angeles where we had a layover till our flight departed after midnight.  From Los Angeles we flew to Papeete, Tahiti where we planned to stay for three days.  Three days too long.  

     We landed in Papeete at 5:00 A.M. at the Faa's International Airport.   It was very small with one large waiting area that was filled once our airplane was emptied.  Walking outside with our suitcase we caught a Tahitian version of Le Truck to The Maeva Beach Hotel.  Le Truck had open air windows with bench seats on either side. There were many stops along the way letting people off and people on.  Everyone spoke French except the tourists. 

Le Truck ~ not my photo but what a Le Truck looks like

     When we arrived at the hotel our room was not ready since it was very early in the morning, so we walked around the grounds.  Did I mention how humid it was?  And fragrant!  Such lovely flowers that grow in the tropics.  Birds were making sounds that I had never heard before though I could not see any of them.  Morning sounds of wake up.  No one except the front desk staff were to be seen and it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.  

     Eventually we were able to get our room and to have some breakfast.  While we were doing that we were robbed.  Yes, housekeeping or someone had come to our room and gone through our bag.  We didn't even think this would happen to us and at least it was a small amount of cash.  A big lesson I learned to not leave any cash or traveler's checks in our room.  I should have remembered this from our honeymoon to Europe where we always wore a money belt.  The remainder of our trip we carried all of it on us always. 

View from our room ~ Papeete

     This hotel was part of our tour package and not the accommodations we looked forward to which was to come when we went to Bora Bora and Moorea.  Those would be thatch huts with a beach beckoning us outside our door.  Coconut trees swaying and a lagoon to snorkel in was what we had been dreaming of.  Yet here we were in a nice hotel with time to visit botanical gardens, catch a catered lunch with Tahitian dancing, and dine at Le Belvedere, a restaurant on the top of one of the high hills with a gorgeous view at sunset.  We went to the open air market one day which was a bit too aromatic for me and lazed by the large hotel pool.  Funny how what I enjoyed at age 21 is so different for me if I was to be there now!

    We arrived back to airport three days later to take a plane to the Island of Bora Bora.  I need to explain....the Tahitian's have no concept of time.  Plans happen whenever.  The airplane will leave...whenever.  We were on time to catch our plane and it did leave,  just not on time.  We quickly learned in the three days while in Papeete that you need to put the watch away, relax and enjoy the moment or better yet enjoy yourself for as long as you want.  All the locals are, how to politely say... slow.  Slo-mo.  Once you learn this new concept you can begin to have a good time and not be bothered by how life is in paradise. 

     The airport on Bora Bora sits on an atoll, which is a coral reef island that partially circles the island.  The landing strip outside our plane window showed us water on both sides of it, one side ocean and the other side a gorgeous lagoon.  A narrow strip of land that you pray the pilot can land on and not land in the water.  This island was used as a military supply base during World War II and the airstrip looked like it was that old.  

Yep me!  Bora Bora at the airport.

    The sheer beauty as we disembarked the plane was breathtaking.  The incredible shades of blue in the lagoon are because of the sandy bottom of  various depth.  The middle of the island rises up in a striking rugged display for us to wonder at what it looks like amongst the thick foliage.  It felt like we had landed on a deserted island.  One other couple got off the plane with us before it headed off to another island.  We wondered how we were getting off the atoll and onto the island when we escorted to a fishing boat, our bags placed on deck, we climbed on board with the other couple and off we went with fishing lines trailing behind us.


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