Dave & Sonja's
Tahiti Trip

Monday July 2nd
Page 1-2

Albert 4x4 photo safari 8am pick up

Folks on our tour
My unscientific analysis of the tourist population would be 40% French, 30% American, 20% Italian, 10% Japanese
And of the Americans I would say 70% were from California.

Funny enough putting this package together from L.A. would have been a fair bit cheaper than from Hawaii, and given us a lot more flexibility than the one flight a week we had to choose from. However it just seemed wrong to fly five hours east, to turn around and fly back to the same longitude you started out in...So I guess nothing is perfect.

Cook's Bay

We made a grocery store stop, which was cool because most of didn't have rental cars and it was good to have alcohol without having to pay the hotel prices. I've never liked beer, but this Tahitian one Hinano was actually tasty and refreshing, so a nice vacation discovery.

We also stopped at a pearl store, cool because Sonja loves pearls, but otherwise I would have been pretty annoyed.

It surprised us that the pearls did seem to be cheaper here, as Sonja had heard they were more expensive here even though they were sourced here. I think they were about the only things less expensive (and you aren't expected to tip, but I think Americans are slowly ruining that). So what does $1 buy in French Polynesia?
About 88 Polynesian Francs, 1/15th of a cocktail, 1/25th of a cheeseburger, about 1/120th of a nice meal, and 1/1500th of a wedding... You could often hear tourists in Hawaii complaining about how expensive it was there- true, but everything in life is relative. We would joke that once we got back to Hawaii, we'd say, "Oh, everything is so cheap here..." with a smile on our face.

Opanahu Bay and Cook's Bay from the Belvedere look out point

It may not be obvious, but there was a huge slope going from left to right here... : )

Vanilla plants
I believe French Polynesia is the world's leading producer of vanilla, probably hence French vanilla ice cream

Our guide, a Frenchman named Tom

Archeological temples ("marae")- I think they said cannabalistic ceremonies happened here

Not exactly sure how these pigs are significant to Moorea, but here they are.
So see big ones like these in Vietnam as well, but usually strapped to the back of a speeding scooter.

That's our hotel in the background
From the Toatea Lookout

At the store Sonja discovered when of her favorite chocolate snacks from back in Germany

We'd have lunch at the hotel again, take some pictures, and laze by the pool
I would also go snorkeling towards the end of the day and saw some really great stuff right there off our beach. On my way back to the room I'd run into Brian and Sheryl and go back in for some more.
Our first day in Bora Bora I would put down the underwater digital camera on the beach and forget it there, an uncharacteristically extremely dumb move. I can think of three of my favorite pics from that camera that were lost: in the water shot of the three of us snorkling, Sonja wearing her fins and snorkel gear walking into the water Tuesday morning, and when I go back to the room this evening taking a pic into the room- the dusk lighting was fantastic, and Sonja was sideways on the bed having showered and was sleeping peacefully.

Dinner at
Le Mahoganey
French, Tahitian & Chinese cuisine

I thought our waitress looked exactly like how I would picture a Polynesian vahine

Service throughout the islands was "so French" as Sonja would describe it. Here we had the French onion soup which was outstanding and some terrific spring rolls. Almost after the fact my mahi mahi arrived, and it was worth the wait.
We got to have some great open conversation primarily around each others work. We'd both been running so hard recently that it felt nice to share with each other again more than just passing snippets.

Unfortunately Sonja felt the early stages of a cold so didn't feel great this night, but we think maybe it was just some sort of allergy.
I would recommend Mahoganey to anyone. For most of the trip I feel we really did get to do the top restaurants and the food was outstanding, so the internet research paid off here.