‘La ora na from Papeete, French Polynesia. The monkey is now moving at the speed of a flip flop. In other words; slowly. Kongo landed in Tahiti late last night and is rapidly getting used to doing nothing at all but deciding whether or not to sleep or see local sights. Maybe something to eat. Something to drink. He opted for all of it.
His two day stay in Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia, is a short prelude to boarding the Paul Gaugin cruise ship for an 11-day cruise around the Cook and Society Islands.
Kongo is at the Intercontinental Hotel & Resort in Papeete so first up, after catching some sleep after an 8-hour flight from LAX, was to explore the new digs.
So the hotel pretty much has everything a monkey could need. A beautiful view of the island of Moorea, bungalow rooms over the water, swim up bars, a great breakfast buffet, and internet. From his balcony he can hear the surf pounding along the offshore reef. Life is good.
The monkey is not actually staying in a room over the water (he has a lagoon view room) but thinks they look pretty cool.
These island wrasse fish in the lagoon at the hotel were fascinating to watch. The water is amazingly clear and open to the ocean so many different fish species check in and don’t have to pay the tourist rates that Kongo did.
After breakfast Kongo caught the hotel shuttle into downtown Papeete. There are about 135,000 people in Papeete but it seems like a lot more. There is a lot of traffic on narrow streets that follow a city planning guide that is loosely a maze. You never know quite where you are in Papeete. Street signs are an afterthought.
Pretty much everybody in Tahiti wears a flower in their hair and the intoxicating fragrance is everywhere. These flower crowns are made on the street and are popular accessories at destination weddings or for just hanging out. Both men and women wear these.
The Notre Dame cathedral was built in 1875 and is one of the oldest remaining structures from earlier colonial times. The French showed up here in the 1840s and decided the islands needed protection and thus started another chapter of European governance of these little islands that really needed no protection at all.
Another very interesting spot in town is the local market. Here you can get anything from fresh fish to flowers to ukeleles and a lot in between.
Fresh fish on ice always seem to the monkey to make good photos. The subjects don’t move much and the eyes are, well they’re eyes, but they seem to be staring at you. Somehow. Fish is on just about every menu you’re going to see in Papeete.
Bird of Paradise grow like weeds here and everybody seems to have a uke.
Of course, everything wasn’t flowers and fish. Mrs. Kongo was on a mission. It was called “In Search of the Black Pearl.” Of course Mrs. Kongo knows that black pearls come from this part of the world and she wasn’t about to leave without getting her fair share. She’s celebrating her birthday on this trip so that was an okay mission for her. Like the monkey had a choice in the matter anyway so when they got to the store the shuttle driver told her was best (hmmm) Kongo whispered to get whatever she wanted and took off for some more picture taking with an agreement to meet up an hour later.
Kongo found City Hall and the Waterfront.
After another nap, the monkey watched the sunset over Moorea. They really know how to do sunsets here.
Stay tuned for more adventures.
Travel safe. Have fun!