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January 1978

A perfect cloud hovers over Tahiti (35532 bytes)Papeete from the air (111960 bytes)The approach to Papeete was striking - as you can see by the photo to the left, a cloud hovered over the main island of Tahiti. We stayed on Tahiti for the first few days of our trip.

Tahiti & Moorea map (26358 bytes)Our tour arrangements included a stay at the Hotel Tepuna Bel Air, located just south of the main town of Papeete, and a short taxi ride from the airport. Modest accommodation, but clean and comfortable, located on a so-so beach. I met several people who were on the same unescorted tour as me, so we ended up becoming fast friends, sharing car rentals, meals, etc.

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Joe at the Hotel Bel Air

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Hotel Bel Air restaurant overhanging the fish pond
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Lagoon and beach - Hotel Bel Air
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Maeva Beach Resort - next to the Hotel Bel Air
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Buffet - Hotel Bel Air
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Evelyn Argue, Sylvia Chu, Ruby & Earl Johnson

The first thing we did was to explore Papeete.  Public markets are always fun, and this one was very colourful and interesting.  The shops in Papeete were expensive, and I don't expect that will have changed over the years.  France continues to keep French Polynesia as a colony, and this means many supplies are imported from France, rather than geographically closer suppliers.  Service can be surly in the shops and restaurants in Papeete, especially if the tourist doesn't speak any French.

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The main boulevard along the harbour

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Evelyn Argue & Joe Carr having lunch
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A city park in Papeete
7805005.jpg (101787 bytes)It doesn't matter where you go in the world, there is always something quirky to find - here is a huge Christmas tree in the post office lobby 

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A tropical downpour

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Rush hour, Papeete-style

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Public Market - fresh fish is a staple

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Tourists, vegetables and fruit
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Taro root - a staple starch in the Polynesian diet across the Pacific

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 Dancers & Singers

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 Having observed some of the various residents who have Polynesian roots across the Pacific, it struck me that the mixture of French blood into the French Polynesian line has produced some of the most strikingly beautiful women and handsome men you will find anywhere in the South Pacific. The women in French Polynesia tend to be tall and slender, whereas in the rest of the Pacific (and even in the more remote French Polynesian islands), the women are usually plump.  Same goes for the men - strikingly handsome and well built here, but elsewhere the men tend to be chunkier.

Another observation: do you notice than none of the Polynesians wear glasses, whereas the Chinese and European residents have the usual number of people needing sight correction?  Perhaps the mainly fish diet of the Polynesians has something to do with it, or perhaps it is genetics?

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Flowers & Scenics

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Giant Pink Hibiscus
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Deep red Hibiscus
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Bird of Paradise
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Tiare Tahiti - used to make flower tiaras
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Flamboyant tree
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Lily pond
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Harvested bamboo
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Lily pond
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Verdant garden
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Verdant garden
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Fish for sale beside the road
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Bat cave
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Bat cave - closeup
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Surf from open ocean, where the reef does not protect the island on the west side of Tahiti
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Blowhole at Arahoho
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Vegetation and view from the road

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Le Belvedere

Part of our arrangements included a dinner at Le Belvedere, located atop one of the hills behind Papeete.  The sunset and the view were spectacular...too bad the food wasn't the same.


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Le Belevedere

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The road up the mountain to Le Belvedere

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Sunset from the deck of Le Belvedere

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Papeete from atop Le Belvedere

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Point Venus

Point Venus is where Captain Cook landed in French Polynesia. On June 3rd, 1769, he observed the transit of Venus - thus the name.  Point Venus is the northern-most point on the island of Tahiti.

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Commemorative plaque
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Ironwood trees
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Land crabs dig lots of holes!
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View from Point Venus, black sand beach, looking back over Baie de Mataval toward the mountains of Tahiti
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Cannon off one of Cook's ships


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Paul Gauguin

There is a memorial to Paul Gauguin, who single-handedly must be the greatest ambassador for French Polynesia. This memorial is located on the south side of Tahiti, near the town of Papeari. He is buried 1,500 km north of Tahiti in the Marquesas.

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Collage depicting Paul Gauguin
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One of Paul Gauguin's paintings
(I assume this is a copy!)
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Paul Gauguin's memorial

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Our Last Day

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Tahiti reef surf line and lagoon
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Reef & resort area south of Papeete (Hotel Bel Air area)
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Kia Ora - our last lunch
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Kia Ora restaurant
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Last day - Joe on the beach






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