I felt strangely abandoned as I watched Betsy and Jane walk away to get their flight to Los Angeles and I remained on the sidewalk, waiting for my ride to the Airbnb I had reserved in Papeete. After spending so much time with them and the other women aboard the Moorings 48, it was strange to be on my own.
Gino, my ride to Fare Rea Rea was right on time and picked me up in a cool little Renault that is not available in the U.S. I'm glad he was available as the Airbnb was more like a hostel than a home, with various rooms and lots of people around. So he showed me the ropes - communal kitchen area around the pool, my space in the fridge, etc. My en suite room was small but comfortable and after meeting several of the international guests, retired (collapsed) and had a good night's sleep in the air-conditioned room.
With our limited internet connectivity on the boat, I had heard that there were issues at Auckland airport and as my flight to Brisbane connected there, I was concerned that there might be delays, so I was planning to go to the Air New Zealand office first thing in the morning to check on my flight.
The Airbnb is a 15 minute walk into the middle of Papeete and by 7 am I was making my way there. The city was already bustling, with scooters and cars clogging the narrow streets. With no sidewalks to speak of, it was quite a hazardous trip! It was already very hot and humid and with the noise and activity, it reminded me of Durban in the middle of summer - same sticky heat.
I was able to confirm that, at that point, my flight was ok. A relief as the thought of juggling places to stay, if I was delayed, was daunting. So with that off my mind, I spent a pleasant hour in an outdoor cafe, watching the world go by.
Sights and Sounds
The Municipal Market was close by and I wandered around, taking pictures of the unusual veggies and fruit and the people working the stalls. It's a vast indoor space, filled with vendors selling everything from fresh fish to hand-carved, mother-of-pearl buttons (which I bought). The colors and scents and sounds surrounded me as I wandered. Although it was barely 9 am, some of the vendors had already closed up for the day!
When I was first in Papeete way back in the late 60s on Vadura, we were Med-moored at the waterfront dock. As I walked along the quay, it was difficult to picture us there, as so much has changed. I have the vision of the boat in my head but it doesn't fit with what is there now! So I will hold that vision, as it is a lot more appealing than the modern waterfront, which by current standards, is really lovely. One place, two memories.
When I began my walk back to the Airbnb, I heard music above the traffic din, and discovered a group of musicians playing and singing! What a treat. Seven guys, playing different instruments and having so much fun. A crowd had gathered around and I was able to get some lovely shots. The Tahitians have such lovely features.
It seemed like a much longer walk home than it had walking into town. But it was that much hotter and I pretty tired when I got back. But I walked over to a small grocery store nearby and bought some beers and snacks for dinner (no cooking for me!)
As the sun went down, the other guests gathered around the tables by the pool and we got talking about where we were from, etc etc. Talk about 6 degrees of separation. I think maybe two?
One of the young men was from Los Angeles and of course, I asked him where and what does he do there?
In the TV industry.
Oh really, so is my son, Ryan.
What's his last name?
NO WAY! I worked with Ryan for the first two seasons of the Tyler Henry show!
So Jaden and I sent Ryan a picture with no caption and he came back with
My flight out the next morning was early and Gino picked me up at 6:30.
The whole trip was memorable and created so many memories that I will cherish. I love French Polynesia and if it were at all possible, that is where I would make my home, particularly on Huahine. But I don't see how that is possible so will hold all the sights and sounds in my heart (and on my screensaver) and draw on them when I get down.
On to the next adventure.