Showing posts with label Tahiti. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tahiti. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Pape’ete, Tahiti: A Morning at Le Marche

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we aren’t fans of cruise ship organized tours.  We’ve taken a few but prefer to ‘do our homework’ prior to a trip and set out to explore a port of call on our own. 

That is why our first stop in Pape'ete, Tahiti was its "Le Marche". We'd arrived on an early morning in October, the first of three stops in French Polynesia on board the Celebrity Solstice. 

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Shortly after docking, we set off on foot to find the town’s public market, Le Marche, as part of our own walking tour; one that filled our morning hours. The afternoon was spent on a bus tour – that we booked independently on shore – and we rounded out our day with a fabulous meal on shore before returning for our 9 p.m. departure. (the dinner I told you about a few weeks ago.)

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We wandered the market’s aisles first north and south, then east and west; upstairs and downstairs. There was no doubt, it was a 'real' market for locals – not one filled with tourist trinkets and souvenirs as evidenced by the products for sale.

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From vegetables. . .

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To fruit. . .

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And fish. . .the market was alive with color and smells.  It was just the first of many sensory overloads we were to experience in the South Pacific.

But the sight that made my heart skip a beat, was the overwhelming flower displays. . .those tropical stems that can cost $10 or more each back home in the States. . .

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The towering bouquets above could be had for 2,500 French Polynesian Francs, about $29US.

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Fragrant, colorful bursts. . .

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Flowers, flowers everywhere. . .including halos for the hair.  Again, this wasn’t just for tourists (although a few halos were later spotted on ladies from the ship).  One of the prettiest sights in these tropical islands were the flowers being worn in the hair of local ladies – young and old.

We have more Tahitian tales for you and those will come in future posts.  Remember that local tour I told you we booked on our own?  Well this was the vehicle in which we rode. . .but that story is also for another time. . .

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If You Go:
Le Marche is said to be the island's oldest surviving institution. It is located in the heart of the city, a few short blocks from the port.  It is open Monday to Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sundays until 9 a.m. (a busy time there when families stock up for their Sunday meals).

We are linking up today at Budget Travelers Sandbox for Travel Photo Thursday 
and with Travel Photo Discovery on Monday
and Sweet Shot Tuesday 
If you like our travels and want to see more photos, start following us on Instagram.
And please don't forget to come back here - soon!
Until then ~ Happy Travels ~ Joel and Jackie

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

That Unforgettable Taste of Tahiti

Our favorite cruises are those in which the ship arrives early into a port and leaves late. . .you can experience much in a 12-hour time period. We had such a stop in Pape’ete, Tahiti and it afforded us a real taste of the town:


Our evening at Place Vaiete Roulottes – in the shadow of our cruise ship -- may have been one of the best experiences we had while sailing across the Pacific Ocean en route to Sydney, Australia from Honolulu last fall.


Place Vaiete Roulottes, is the most amazing collection of mobile food trucks and food stalls we’ve ever experienced (yes, even better than Portland, Oregon for you Northwest foodie fans out there). Roulotte is French for caravan – and what a culinary caravan circled up to serve an array of dishes. 

A couple dozen chefs rolled in as the sun dipped below the horizon (about 6 p.m.) and the once empty lot, known as Vaiete Square, near the cruise ship dock came to life as colorful tables, chairs and plastic stools stretched in every direction.


It was an aromatherapy treatment for foodies as smells from grills mixed with the pungent smells of spicy stir fry and the sweet scents of crepes.


We circled the area several times before we could get focused on just what we would eat – think children in a candy store – because that was what we were as we strolled, our heads swiveling back and forth, competing with each other to find the next temptation.


Even after we had selected the place where we would dine I couldn’t sit still and  had to watch my dinner being hand made by this culinary artist.


While The Scout dined on Steak Frites, I ate those delightful stuffed morsels you see on the right side of the above photo.  We could have been tempted to eat more, to sample the many more flavors that were seducing us with their scents – but it would have been, sadly, shear gluttony.


Now there are probably some of you reading this thinking, “But was it safe to eat at those places?” and the answer is a resounding, ‘YES!’  They are all licensed and everything was as spotlessly clean as it appears in this photo. (Sadly, we watched many fellow cruisers who walked past this culinary haven as they returned to the ship to ‘eat on board’ because they weren’t up to the adventure or they wanted to get that meal that came with the price of the cruise ticket.)

The food was so good and inexpensive that we could have eaten there every night for a week (or longer) and never have tired of it. It is one reason, we agreed, to put a return to Tahiti on our ‘bucket list’.


Should you find yourself in Tahiti – don’t miss this experience.  Do remember to bring cash – they don’t take credit cards.


The Food Fest on shore was still going strong as we pulled away from the dock at 9 p.m.  And they say that often times music plays on weekend nights – we were so on sensor overload that I can’t recall whether we heard music or not. . .I’ll have to ask The Scout what he remembers beyond the food. . .

That is it for today.  We thank you for the time you’ve spent with us and hope you will be back soon to share in our tips and tales.

We are linking up with:
Nancie McKinnon’s Budget Travelers Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday
Marcia Mayne’s Inside Journey’s Foodie Tuesday
Kent Weakley’s Sweet Shot Tuesday

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Travel: It is not about ‘What you saw. . .’

January is that time of year when travel bloggers tend to write of their previous year’s journeys and start verbalizing their plans for upcoming adventures. 

It is a time for us to put into words the daydreams that will ultimately lead to new travel plans. Yet, moving to the next adventure can’t really be done without a backward glance or two. . . and a bit of introspection. 

This last year we were again reminded that travel isn’t so much about ‘what you saw’ but ‘how you’ve changed’ as a result of your experiences. 

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Musician in Pape'eti, Tahiti with traditional Maori body tattoos
Travel can rock your established, comfortable – albeit, routine – world, just by the smallest unforgettable glimpse of a new culture or land as did our brief series of stops in French Polynesia.

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A dining experience not to miss in Pape'ete, Tahiti

Once you’ve experienced the ‘different’ - smells, colors, people, food, music, religion, culture – you find that upon your return home you are different as well . . .

You’ve been reminded of  your insignificance as you sail across vast stretches of ocean. . .

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Setting Sail from Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
Your mind has been exercised.  Stretching just a bit further each time you travel keeps the brain questing for even more adventure and stimulation. . .

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A view of Chora Sfakia, Crete
Your soul has basked in the beauty of remoteness.  . .

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Tahiti, French Polynesia

You’ve experienced worlds that once you had only imagined. . .

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Auckland, New Zealand
And after you’ve been home a few days that unmistakable restlessness starts prickling your senses.  You no longer question whether you travel too much and you know it is time to start putting those daydreams into action. . .

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Tahiti's Black Sand Beaches 

Where will your adventures take you this year?  How has travel changed you?  We look forward to reading your thoughts and plans. Tell us by adding a comment below or send us an email! 

Our wishes for Happy Travels and Happy New Year!

We are linking up with:
Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday
The Tablescrapers’ Oh The Places I have Been

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Song of the South . . .Pacific, that is!

Our month-long journey that sliced through a mere section of the South Pacific has come to an end.  We sailed 18 days across the Pacific Ocean from Honolulu to reach Australia and flew home to Seattle in 17 hours. We sampled a tiny bit of a very vast region, overwhelmingly vast. . .

The Pacific Ocean covers 63.78 million square miles, 165.2 million square kilometers.

We knew it was big but didn’t comprehend its vastness until we found ourselves aboard the Celebrity Solstice sailing from Honolulu, Hawaii to Sydney, Australia.

The Pacific Ocean is home to some 25,000 islands; some 6,000 – 10,000 of which are inhabited.

We visited six in a month’s time.

When remembering those visits – aside from the sheer joy of seeing land each time we approached a new island – we remember the welcomes we received by the Pacific Islanders who shared their proud heritage and culture with us through song and dance. . .


This Hawaiian troupe from the Lahaina, Maui Senior Center showered us with sweet ‘aloha’ through their songs and dances.


Six days later when we reached the next island in our journey, this band of troubadours greeted us in Pape’ete, Tahiti. And just footsteps beyond, another group performed for us:


We had reached French Polynesia, almost a mid-way point in our journey. Before leaving Tahiti we were treated to a bit more entertainment as we returned to the ship for a mid-day break from the 90-degree temperatures, which didn’t stop these two from performing.

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Then it was on to Bora Bora and Mo’orea, where musicians again filled the air with lyrical welcome.

DSCF1168The old adage, ‘first impressions count’ couldn’t hold more true than for cruise passengers disembarking at new locations. Those first few steps off a ship can say a lot about a place. Here, it was warmth and welcome

When we think French Polynesia now, we think of the warmth of smiles and the Songs of the South.

Hope you’ll sign up to receive our reports about the South Pacific – you can do so on our home page,TravelnWrite. We’ve got a lot of places and people to tell you about in the coming weeks, and we'll take you behind the scenes on board the Solstice, and we've got some new tips for finding cruise deals! See you again soon.

That’s it for this week’s Travel Photo Thursday so head over to Budget Travelers Sandbox for more armchair travel.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Time Flies When You Travel

Just like that it is over.
A month.

It seemed, back in January, when we started putting this adventure together that our departure date would never arrive. Then as we set out on October 1st, the month-long trip sounded as though it would stretch endlessly into the South Pacific.

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Tomorrow on a springtime Monday evening we fly out of Sydney, Australia and some 20 hours later we will arrive home on a late Monday evening in the midst of autumn.

While the month has gone far too quickly, this trip is one that has definitely made our Pacific Northwest life seem long ago and far away.  We’ve heard very little from family and friends.  We’ve seen bits and pieces of headline news and sports from home; a good reminder that there’s a big ol’ world out there with lots going on beyond the United States.

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Our days at sea provided a pleasant mix of time for relaxing and introspection.  And thanks to Celebrity we had a variety of special on-board experiences like dining with the captain and visiting the bridge. . .all of which we will tell you about in  future posts.

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A warm welcome in Papeete, Tahiti

Our three days in French Polynesia was a wonderful taster plate of experiences that calls out for  a second helping of this amazing tropical paradise.

Many of you know that I was ambivalent about visiting New Zealand and Australia prior to the trip.  Not so, any longer.  We have seen stunningly beautiful parts of both countries and will long remember the warm welcomes that have greeted us ‘Down Under’. 

If the travel gods smile upon us, our next report will be written from back in Kirkland.  Hope you’ll come back later this week because our Tales of the South Pacific are just beginning!


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