Papeete (meaning “water from a basket”) is the capital of French Polynesia located on the island of Tahiti, in the administrative subdivision of the Windward Islands. It’s the primary center of Tahitian and French Polynesian public and private governmental, commercial, industrial and financial services. As I mentioned in my commentary last year (CLICK HERE) we were very disappointed with the level of deterioration since our first visit several years ago (primarily infrastructure) but the beauty of the island itself is still among the most gorgeous in the world.
As we approached the pier this morning we could see a group of native dancers and drummers as is customary to welcome all cruise ships. Beautiful, bright costumes, belly-dancing & thundering percussion caught everyone’s attention – you know in a hurry you’re not in Kansas anymore!
Last year all the car dealerships were on strike and there was a lot of financial tension throughout the city – the atmosphere seems much better this year. We didn’t go on a guided tour this visit so pictures here are minimal – we went off on our own for a few hours and just browsed. We started with a long, 2-mile walk down the boardwalk – an incredibly beautiful walk! The boardwalk itself was impeccably clean, the landscaping was lush & dotted plumeria trees with an aroma beyond description! Many shops were closed as today is Sunday, but we worked our way a few blocks into the downtown area and found an open-air market selling fresh fish, fruits, & vegetables. It was quite crowded and although only 10am, it was already 85-degrees with very high humidity. We were back on the ship by Noon, showered, lunch, then short nap.
At 4pm, natives were brought on board for a local Folkloric show in the main theater. There were a total of 14 dancers (7 male/7 female) with a small band of six. Standing room only - outstanding performance enjoyed by all! The balance of our evening was spent visiting in the Ocean’s Bar, the sail away party at 5:30, light dinner, and then bed by 9:00.
More pictures will be uploaded as our satellite reception improves - service has been extremely poor the past two days...