Welcome to paradise!

     Visiting French Polynesia came to us as a bonus during this trip. We didn’t plan to stop there but it turned out that the only way of crossing the Pacific Ocean from Rapa Nui without coming back to South America was with a landing on Tahiti. Well, in this situation… Let’s enjoy!

     The first thing that made me smile and think that I’m in paradise was when I exchanged 50 USD at the airport in Papeete. The banknotes the changing machine gave to me were bigger and more colourful than any money I’ve seen before. They looked a bit like monopoly-kind of false paper-money. I really hoped that the taxi driver would accept them. Luckily, he did!

     Another thing I observed at once were the omnipresent tattoos. Everyone had them! Whether it was a young guy, a teenage girl or an elderly man or woman – they all had a drawing on the arm, ankle, shoulder or even on the face. The Polynesian tattoos are really beautiful! They look like a piece of art. You won’t find any making you think that this was an amateur job done in prison. Maybe it is because Tahiti is told to be the origin of tattooing tradition. I must admit that for the first time I was thinking of having one done too, but as no good idea came to me about what it could be I decided to wait with the decision.

     Tahiti is a nice island and Papeete is a lively city with many pearl shops, scuba-diving schools, black sand surfing beaches, Tahitian dance performances and a busy local food market. Yet, if you want to enjoy the paradise scenery with coconut palm trees bending over the turquoise ocean, you need to visit other islands or archipelagos. We decided to go to Moorea which was only 30 minutes away. We divided our free time there between swimming in the ocean, getting tan on a perfect beach and riding around the island on the nice red Vespa. Welcome to paradise!

     There is one more thing you need to know about French Polynesia. As it is a French territory everyone speaks French there. Since we don’t know that language it was quite a funny experience to communicate with the locals. We spoke a mixture of Spanish-English to them and they answered in French only. To make it ever more fun, we decided to learn some of the Tahitian basic vocabulary. It didn’t solve the communication problem at all, but it was always a positive surprise for Tahitian people to hear two Poles speaking their native tongue.

ia orana – hello / nana – bye / maruuru – thank you / maeva – welcome / ta oto maitai – good night / tamaa maitai – enjoy your meal (smacznego) / maitai – good / oya – yes / aita - no