The city was both a relief and a stress after a couple of months in the back of beyond. Papeete is a very unique place. We already made our point that the people are the most interesting thing in town but we did experience some uniquely Tahitian scenery and food.
It turns out we were only 2 degrees of separation from some very friendly staff at the Intercontinental. So we anchored in front of the infinity pool…
and sort of experienced what its like to hang around in a luxury hotel with a great view of Moorea.
We got some great help from our friends there and are convinced that the rainbow over the Intercontinental is just part of the service.
French Polynesia is widely condemned as unreasonably expensive due to vague influences of French socialism, European style entitlements, Polynesian socioeconomic customs, guilt money for nuclear test and a whole litany of bad influences for the fixed income traveler. We were more confused by the economy than horrified at the prices. Some things are nearly free, like bread and flour. Some things that should be free are quite expensive, like local fruit. New Zealand lamb neck chops are cheap and plentiful. Fuel is duty free for visiting boats and as cheap as anywhere we’ve been.
Prices for eating out were all over the chart. We tried a bit of the bistro lifestyle and left some Poly Francs in our wake.
Then we found these mobile truck restaurants. We call them Truckstaurants.
They set up tables in a vacant lot and have identical menus revolving around steak, stirfry and Russian potato salad (!?!) with beets. The heart of the operation is a butane fired wok, a cooler full of drinks and a grill for steak frites.
We had some great steak frites and the price was what you’d spend for a sweet, sweet brewpub cheeseburger in Seattle.
Tahitians are primarily defined by their beauty…
and the sea…
which sounds great until you win the Miss Tahiti competition and have to judge tuna cleaning competitions.
We spent long enough in Papeete but wished we were back as soon as we left.