French Polynesia – A State Of Mind

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Diane Macdonald @dmcameraJuly 2019 · 7 min read

THE SOUTH PACIFIC - A STATE OF MIND

I wish I could tell you about the South Pacific. The way it actually was. The endless ocean. The infinite specks of coral we called islands. Coconut palms nodding gracefully toward the ocean. Reefs upon which waves broke into spray, and inner lagoons, lovely beyond description. I wish I could tell you about the sweating jungle, the full moon rising behind the volcanoes, and the waiting. The waiting. The timeless, repetitive waiting.

(James Michener from Tales of the South Pacific.)

Like James Michener, I'm not sure how to begin to tell you about the South Pacific!

What I can tell you is that the South Pacific to me is an attitude, a state of mind, a way of life that defies description by mere mortals. Fifteen years ago I experienced this phenomenon when I visited Fiji and more recently, last month I experienced it again in French Polynesia where my husband Jim and I spent two weeks celebrating our silver wedding anniversary. Time seemed to stand still on these islands. Days stretched out endlessly, although it is winter in the southern hemisphere and dark around 6:30pm in French Polynesia in June.

Rangiroa - the Kia Ora Resort in front of our bungalow

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© Diane Macdonald - All RIghts Reserved

Although the official language is French, the philosophy of the islands is summed up in a Tahitian catch phrase that everyone visiting the islands needs to learn - “‘aita pe’ ape’a” (aye-ta-paya-paya) – which defies real translation, but means (sort of ) “no worries" or "no problem.” Without all the hurrying and bustling of city and suburban life, island time can be truly appreciated on these tropical islands of the south seas.

And the people are so welcoming! Upon arrival in Papeete, the capital of Tahiti and her islands, and at every resort we visited, we were presented with a beautifully fragrant flower garland each, and upon leaving every resort and upon leaving Tahiti, we we were each given a shell garland to wear.

Jim and I wearing our welcome flower garlands upon arriving at Papeete, Tahiti

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A welcoming flower garland of tiare Tahiti (Tahitian Gardenia)

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© Diane Macdonald - All RIghts Reserved

Our first stop was Papeete on the island of Tahiti, but our main destinations were the islands of Moorea, Huahine, Bora Bora and Rangiroa. We spent only a night in Papeete at the Tahiti Nui Hotel after arriving late at night via our Air Tahiti Nui flight from Los Angeles. This gave us only a morning when we arrived to explore downtown Papeete, which is within walking distance of the hotel. Our return flight to LA was at midnight, so we had a room with day use allowing us to check in mid-afternoon, and to check out at 10pm. We had hoped to spend the afternoon exploring Papeete at the end of our trip.

View from the Tahiti Nui Hotel, Pepeete, Tahiti

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© Diane Macdonald - All RIghts Reserved

What we didn't know in advance, was that the morning we had available to explore when we arrived (June 10) was Whit Monday, or Pentecost Monday they called it, and a national public holiday. Every main store was closed, as was the big Municipal Market, which was just a few blocks from our hotel. We did find a small independent store which was open, and my husband bought me a silver necklace with a Tahitian black pearl there. (The pearls are in varying colorful shades and not really true black.) We had read ahead of time that most things like pearls were cheaper on Tahiti than on any of the other islands. This proved very true for my necklace, as we saw the same setting at twice the cost on Bora Bora. Of course the pearl may have had more value, but as I am not a connoisseur of such things, I'm delighted with the one I have.

A silver necklace with a Tahitian black pearl - gift from my husband on our silver wedding anniversary

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© Diane Macdonald - All RIghts Reserved

All the guide books said that shopping at the Municipal Market was a must, so I made a mental note to catch it on the way home. But the time of our flight from Rangiroa changed, and we were an hour later leaving Rangiroa, so about an hour late arriving in Papeete from what our schedule originally called for. Instead of arriving around 3pm, we arrived just before 4pm. Luckily, I mentioned to our driver that I intended to shop at the market before it closed at 6pm (which was the information on the Internet), and he informed me that the Internet was wrong, and that the market closed at 4:30pm! So at 4:15pm he dropped me off pretty close to one of the market entrances, while taking my husband to check in at the hotel.

But, in true aita pe’ ape’a fashion, vendors were already covering up their goods when I arrived there at 4:20pm. So I made a mad dash to the upper level where one store was still open, and managed to buy a couple of items before it too closed for the day.

The Municipal Market, Pepeete - closed for the day

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© Diane Macdonald - All RIghts Reserved

Of course you can't possibly see and do everything when you are on vacation and have limited time. I was disappointed that I didn't get to experience the market after all, but I experienced so much more on the other islands and I can't wait to share those experiences in later blogs.

If you plan to visit the islands, I would suggest having at least a full day in *Papeete upon arrival, and again another day or two at the end of your trip so that you can tour the island itself. Tahiti is much more than Papeete, just like Florida is much more than Orlando!
(Not being able to see and do everything has its advantages though! It forces you to think about what you want to experience NEXT TIME you visit!)

The guide books and travel blogs are filled with tips about what to bring with you, where to visit etc., but they are wrong in telling you that English is widely spoken wherever you go! From my experience, resort receptionists, tour guides and people in the larger stores speak English, but if you want to communicate with the sweet ladies fixing up your bungalow every day, the gardener working on the grounds, the people clearing your dishes in the restaurant and people in the small local stores, you will need to be able to communicate a little in French. It was the first time in many years that I had been able to use my French speaking skills – but more than that, I was delighted to be told that I could speak Tahitian French better than the French can, because the Tahitians roll their Rs like the Scots do, so I could speak one way to the Tahitians and another way to the French people we met!

About 80% of the fellow tourists we met were French, and just a “Bonjour” got them smiling and talking both in English and French in no time at all.

Other than learning a few French words, if you want to make a Tahitian really smile, learn a few words of their Tahitian language. I leave you with a few words you can use on your trip. You will not regret knowing them in advance, I promise!

Hello

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© Diane Macdonald - All RIghts Reserved

‘ia ora na (yo-rah-nah ) - Hello
‘aita pe’ ape’a (eye-ta-paya-paya) – No Worries or No Problem
manuia! (mah-new-yah ) - Cheers!
maeva (mah-ay-vah), manava (mah-nh-vah) - Welcome
mauruuru (mah-roo-roo) - Thank you
mauruuru roa (mah-roo-roo roh-ah)- Thank you very much
nana (nah-nah)- Bye
vahine(vah-hee-nay ) - Woman, Wife
tane (_tah-nay _) - Man, Husband
tiare (tee-ah-ray) - Flower
motu(moh-too) - Island
Maita’i oe? (may-tay oh-ay) - How are you?
Maita’i roa (may-tay ro-ah) - I am fine
Nui (new-ee)- Big
Iti (ee-tee ) - Small


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5

Thank you! That was a nice welcome back!


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Happy you're back!


2

Thanks! Glad to be back! I was never too far away, though.


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So that’s what you’ve been up to! Happy anniversary. Thanks for sharing your trip with me. I need to show these images to my wife. They might convince her to get on a plane again;-)


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Thanks. :-) There is more to come! What a trip we had! The travel was pretty grueling, but well worth it! I didn't want to leave!


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Although I have never made it to Fiji We did stopover in Tahiti a few time son our trips back to NZ, such a beautiful and relaxing place ideal for a stopover on a long trip home

Awesome shots and a great write up on your trip there ;)


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Thanks! Yes, I believe it's just a 5 hour flight from NZ! Surprisingly, we met only one visitor from NZ and one person who owned a restaurant and tour guide company.


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Yeah its not a long flight from there to NZ, funnily enough in all of my stopovers there I never met another New Zealander


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Oops I forgot

Thanks for being an active member of SteemUSA !tip


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Well, I have not been too active lately, but thanks for the tip.


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I know but your coming back :)


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With a vengeance. LOL! I'm going to be a lot more conservative with my posting though, as I have to get other things done too.


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Finding the right balance for our time on here is really the key ;)


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It's all a balancing act. LOL!


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Ohh yes roll on when I retire and I have more time to balance lOL


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Ohh yes roll on when
I retire and I have more
Time to balance lOL

                 - tattoodjay


I'm a bot. I detect haiku.


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That will keep you busy ten. LOL! Baancing all that extra time.


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LOL thats a busy I can handle LOL


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Amazing journey glad you got to see all that something that will stay with you forever so beautiful. I can't believe big shopping mall closes at 4.30 pm over there now that's a real easy life...lo :)

Thanks for sharing them great views.


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Well, it is not exactly a shopping mall, but a huge market where the locals shop and individual stall owners sell fish, fruit, clothing etc. It is also a place to buy just about any souvenir thing that you can buy on any of the other islands. I absolutely have to go back now! I can't believe I missed it, as it was the one thing I was determined to do, and thought I had it well planned!

Thanks for stopping by!


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Understand we have many of them open markets here in Thailand they are never ending and open just about 24/7 so you won't miss anything over here...lol :)

Have a look at my pass two blogs on @marketfriday and you will love them it's all about these vendor stalls :)


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Long time no see Diane!! I thought you'd abandoned us. Good to see you again, and congrats on your Silver anniversary.


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Thanks for your kind wishes. I did kind of abandon Steemit for a while, but I knew it was not going to be a permanent thing. I needed complete time out to catch up with some other things. I have returned refreshed, and certainly with a lot to write about!


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That's brilliant. Don't forget to pin your travel posts on http://steemitworldmap.com 😊


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I haven't done that before, but I guess I should look into it.


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I just checked into it, but French Polynesia is not even on there. LOL! There is nothing there but ocean. - Ignore that! I zoomed in and found it. :-)


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I'm trying to understand what it's all about. It looks like I have to pin the photographs, not the actual post, to a location? This post actually covers a couple of locations with the images, so I'm trying to figure out how this works, so that each image shows up at the correct location.


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When you go into the map, there's a little button at the bottom called code. Click on that
Then in the search for a location box at the top, type in your location
You can zoom into the map and find a location that you went to. You can only select one, it doesn't matter which
Once you click on that location, you'll see a code pop up at the bottom, click on that to copy it, and then paste it on your post
A few moments later you should get an auto comment confirming your post has been pinned onto the map
That way you cann keep a collection of your travel posts, make it easier to share with people, and it maybe be curated by the @steemitworldmap.

Hope it works, if not, do let me know and I'll be more than happy to help you ^_^

2019-07-08 (2).png


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Thanks so much for your detailed help. However, I am not seeing a button that says CODE. All I see are a peg man, and a plus and minus button.


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This is what you should see when you land on the website. Those numbers are the posts already pinned onto the map. Once you click on that code at the bottom, the numbers will disappear and you'll get the search box at the top. Do you see something different on the landing page?

2019-07-08 (3)_LI.jpg


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Thanks again! I have it now. I tried a different browser. It doesn't seem to work in Firefox which I mostly use.


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Thanks for all your help. After copying and pasting the code into my blog, it is not showing up. I have to run out now, but will check back later to try to troubleshoot.


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Three times now I have copied the code and pasted t into my blog, but it disappears when I Update the page. What could I be doing wrong?


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You're on now Denise! You got the auto commnent. The code is quite clever, if you leave a blank line before and after it in the editor it doesnt appear in the post as some people said it looked a bit odd to have some random code on the post


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Tahiti - a magical place. Looks like you had an awesome trip, and captured some amazing photos as well.


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Truly magical! My feet have not yet touched the ground! My husband had visited there twice before we met and always vowed to take me there. Now we both can't wait to go back again. I've caught the bug too!


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What a perfectly lovely way to spend your anniversary! Lovely photo of you and Jim! Your necklace is the perfect souvenir/anniversary gift! Can't wait to see more photos!


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Thanks Melinda! It was like a dream!


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So that's were your be hiding what a beautiful paradise good to see you back !!


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Hehe! I went into hiding long before that 2 week trip, but now I am motivated to write again!


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Yeah i had noticed i was looking to see when you would come back with your contest but nice to see you back !!


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Nice to be back, but with limited time to spend. I'm not sure at this point if I will continue with the contest, but just may make it a challenge instead.


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Not a problem just settle in for now no hurry do what makes you comfortable it's just good to see you back !!


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Awww, Happy Anniversary to you and your husband, Diane!
I missed these posts... I scanned through your posts and wanted to read all that I missed. Am so glad you had a wonderful time even though you missed fully touring the Market - more to look forward to for your next trip! ;)


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