Friday, June 17
Today we packed up leisurely after the last day of school. We met Douglas, Rosie and Tommy driving down from Oakland at the Proud Bird for dinner before taking off on Air France. Dinner was OK, nothing to write home about, steaks were just OK and for a Friday night, there was no crowd. That should have been a signal.
At the airport in plenty of time, everything was checked in very smoothly and we were past security, sitting in the ramp area by 8:00 p.m. or so. Our flight on Air France 647 was scheduled for a 10:30 p.m. flight. AT 10:30 as we were beginning early boarding, a mass horde of people started away from the boarding area. The flight had just been cancelled due mechanical difficulties. argh … We joined the hoard to the ticketing counter to find out that a new flight tomorrow, Sunday, would be put on, time TBD and AF would put us up for the night in LA somewhere. We finally reached the front of the line and they gave us the same story. We would get out tomorrow, not exactly sure what time. I told them that we would drive home and return tomorrow evening, that seemed to open the magic door and the gate agent offered us 5 immediate seats on Air Tahiti Nut Flight TN101 if we wanted. We all agreed BUT we had to go to the Bradley terminal and walk like crazy. The Air Tahiti Nui folks directed us, gave us new boarding passes and after another 1/2 mile walk, we arrived at gate 46. We boarded a shuttle bus, that drove around the airport to the waiting Air Tahiti Nui jetway. The name of our airplane, an Airbus 340-200 was Rangiroa.
The plane was being held due to other delays with Delta and New York bound passengers. Long story short, we were boarded and seated by about midnight and on our way! The luggage would not be with us, but would show up eventually at the Club Bali Hai they assured us.
Saturday, June 19
After an 8.5 hour flight, we arrived at Faa airport about 6:00 a.m. Tahiti is 3 hours behind Los Angeles time zone-wise. No luggage, a long line for customs and immigration, but we had the first Aremiti V ferry leaving at 7:00 a.m. We worked our way through the luggage claim area and they assured us that our luggage would arrive tomorrow, Sunday at the hotel, I was dubious.
We took a taxi, about 1500CF to the marketplace and shopped around a bit. No luggage, toothbrushes, underwear … so we found what we could. It was sort of a blessing to walk around without the luggage.
The marketplace and Vaimea shopping center had what we needed and we boarded the ferry for the 12:20 trip. The fare is 1320CF per person. A quick 1/2 hour ride and we arrived at the dock. We found a taxi for 2700CF and found ourselves at the Club Bali Hai by 1:00 p.m. or so.
We were assured that our luggage would follow us by Temea, the front clerk.
We hung out, a little warm, but found a few things at the local markets, Hinano being most important. A 0.5 liter bottle is about 240-220CF. Lunch was at the Blue Pineapple, a delicious tuna burger for Douglas and I. We are running a tab at the BP for meals, separate from the Bali Hai, this is convenient.
Dinner was at Alo Pizza, down the road to the left, it was delicious. Douglas made the trek down.
We were all tired, so comfortably in #36 and #37 we were soon asleep after a few games of Farkle.
Sunday, June 19
We all woke up a little early and stumbled down to the BP for breakfast. Food is a little expensive here, but the short stack was only 650CF. Ham here is our SPAM, something Rosie (acutally all of us) is NOT too crazy about.
During breakfast, we found (actually her found us) Jay, one of the officers of the timeshare. With his knowledge, we are booked for:
- Tuesday – motu picnic
- Wednesday – dinner BBQ
- Thursday – deep sea fishing with Chris, the same guy Douglas and I used in 2004, this time, we will have 3 of us. For 3 people, we have 55,000CF or 650 American.
We forgot that on Sunday, the grocery stores close early, like open from 7:00 – 9:00 a.m. and that’s it! We were too late and missed the french baguettes for 53CF. Oh well … it is nice to relax on Father’s Day!
Today, we relaxed at the pool and just hung out. Dinner was at Rudy’s, a steakhouse down at Maharepa. Free shuttle service at 6:15 for a 6:30 p.m. dinner reservation. For being a steakhouse, the Rib-eye was just OK. Douglas had a parrotfish stuffed with crab, it was excellent. The desserts were better than the meals, but the hype was just that. It is an OK place, remember, steaks are NOT the focus on a pacific island in the middle of the ocean.
Monday, June 20
Today we rented a car from Albert, across from the Bali Hai. For the same rate as Avis here on the premises, we were able to keep it for 24 hours for the rate of 8,000CF.
The Albert lady said to refill the car, a Hundai Gris would require 1,000 CF. We figured out at the Bank Socredo that 1 dollar is 80CF. We started continuing down the road and ended up at the Hotel InterContinental for a potty stop. Friday, we are taking the Tea Nui for a 1/2 boat trip out. The InterContinental is a nice place, it was very quiet and looked empty.
Further up the road, we ended up at Les Tipaniers beach restaurant for lunch. The swordfish fish burgers were amazing! We should check this place out for dinner. Not the restaurant on the street, but the one on the beach. The motu picnic takes place right across the bay from this restaurant!
Continuing around the island, we ended up at the Champion supermarket at the Vaire dock and city. This market DOES NOT close from 12:00 – 3:00 p.m. like the other markets do. It is the LARGEST on the island and has everything you need. Hinano is 205CF per 50cL, in the markets around Bali Hai, the cheapest is 220 at the Chinese one and 240 at most others.
We doubled back to the Rotui fruit and distillery for sampling of local juices and liquors. The Tahiti Drink is made with distilled pineapple juice and is quite tasty.
For dinner, we snagged a rotisserie chicken at the Champion market, together with our beans and tortillas that Mom brought on the trip! The chicken roach coach up in Marapeha had chickens that weren’t quite done yet, we’ll get one next time.
Tuesday, June 21
The crack in the bathroom, right where your feet plant below the sink got worse yesterday. This morning I mentioned it again to the front staff. Nothing was done, even after us being gone all day at the picnic, and tomorrow, there will be holy hell.
Today was the motu picnic and shark and ray tour. It picked us up at the dock at 9:30 and off we went on our 6 hour adventure tour. We learned about the history of the bay on the way to the motu by the Les Tipaniers. We stopped at the sand bar where the rays were fed first. Rosie had no desire to enter with the rays. Next, we did the sharks, black tipped reef sharks. The deck hand and tour guide Siki, fed the sharks and the whole thing was videotaped for posterity. This shark feeding was much better than the last time, where we had to hang behind a rope spread out between 2 boats. The sharks were literally swimming in and around us as the feeding continued, these are amazing creatures. Rosie did enter the water, on TOP of Tommy’s shoulders, that’s as far as she got!
The motu picnic was amazing as we had fresh ceviche from tuna and marlin prepared in front of us. Marlin, tuna, coconut juice, water, line and fresh cucumbers, onions and tomatoes were all the ingredients, it was amazing.
Snorkeling was not fantastic here, too many people. But the trip was great. People from the InterContinental, Hilton and Pearl Hotels are dropped off before were return to the Club Bali Hai. A highly recommended trip!
I now know the conversion to dollars: 80 CF to 1 dollar. Divide the CF by 80 to approximate the dollar cost.
One of the deck hands runs his own boat. He saw us talking this morning to Chris, the guy we went out with in 2004 and offered us a deal for 3 people at 450,000CF, 100,000CF less than Chris, a quandary.
Dinner was spaghetti!
Things to bring on future trips:
- Reef walkers
- snorkel gear
- Jack cheese
- Italian herbs
- taco seasonings
- Cooler to ship stuff in and smaller cooler to carry cold/frozen stuff from the markets
Wednesday, June 22
Today was kickback day with nothing scheduled except for the Tahtian Show and Dinner at the Bali Hai. We just hung around the pool and just chill-axed.
The dinner show started at 6:00 p.m. and I was surprised at the number of people that attended. There were probably as many performers as their observers. The troupe was great, entertaining and bringing in the kids to dance. The after show meal was terrible. The cook really does do a great job in doing both breakfast and lunch. I think the advertised “mahi-mahi” was NOT, probably the dorado/wahoo that was brought in during the day. It was not a good cut of fish, oh well. It is evident that the economy is really taking a bite out of Tahiti as well.
Thursday, June 23
Fishing day with Capt. Chris and the Tea Nui, tied up at the Hotel Intercontinental. We were picked up at 7:15 for a 1/2 day fishing charter for 55,000CF or 650US. We chose the 55,000CF. The trip started off quick with 3 quick hits on the small rods as we were leaving the harbor, one skipjack tuna and 2 mackerel. After that, though, we put the small stuff away and continued with the heavy duty trolling gear out to the southwest side of the island. From where we were, you could see the island of Tahiti off in the distance. After riding out to the buoy where the local fisherman were fishing for mahi-mahi, we returned back with no luck. Getting close to the entrance to the reef, we struck another 2 fish for a total of 5. Great weather but bummer luck. Oh well, that’s why it’s called fishing and not catching!
The cook at Annana’s Blue prepared our filet fish for lunch for the 3 fishermen. It was a little hard to tell which was the mackerel and which was the skipjack. Neither did anything for me. They were prepared with a little herb-garlic-butter sauce, a very nice presentation.
The girls in the morning got the massage/spa work in across the street at Dorina’s. It was reported to be wonderful!
The afternoon was a nice lazy time.
For dinner, Tommy took us to the Keveka restaurant down the road as a ‘thank you’. They have an interesting and somewhat economical dinner with Chinese, pizza, steaks, Italian varieties. I had pizza, Rosie and Mom had Chinese (lemon chicken, chow-mein and fried rice), Tommy had a steak and Douglas had fish. The food was plentiful and prices were reasonable.
Friday, June 24
The kids were hooked up with Albert Jet Ski rentals to do the 2 hour shark, ray, motu and bay tours. Tommy and Rosie were on one and Doug on the other. The price was 220,000CF per ski. The trip was great and Rosie even got in the water with the rays.
The afternoon was a lazy day laying by the pool and and snorkeling in the bay. We adopted our sting ray “Ray” and our octopus “Ocho”.
We found taco seasoning at the supermarket marche in Pao Pao and had bean and meat burritos, lettuce and edam cheese. Yummy!
Saturday, June 25
The kids were headed in the afternoon, on the ferry back to Papeete for a Sunday morning Air France flight (673) back to Los Angeles. We spent the morning packing them up and left about 11:00 a.m. for a 2:40 p.m. ferry, which was really a 3:25 p.m. ferry because Sandy mis-read the schedule. We went back to the Rotui fruit factory where Douglas picked up some liquid gifts for friends and we stopped at a coupe of shops that Sandy and Rosie had seen some trinkets. Well, on Saturday, the shops in Maharapea must close early because shortly before noon, everything was close for the rest of the day.
We went to the Pearl Resort for lunch to celebrate their last day and meals. Interesting, the fish burgers were marlin, they were saving the tuna for the poisson cru, so … we had burgers! Nice photo ops on the property.
Our boat captain and Siki, the motu picnic guide, told us that marlin makes great ceviche, but when cooked, it is a little tough.
We drove around and ended up at the Sofitel for a late lunch dessert break. At the beach bar, they have an ice cream dessert menu that has some killer ice cream dishes. Tommy had a coffee creation and Doug and Rosie split a mango sorbet dish. I had a margarita, which they don’t know how to make in Tahiti.
Back to the Champion market in Viare for some new flip-flops and french champagne and other things.
We went exploring after the kids left to the Hilton Hotel for dinner, but Saturday night is their buffet and Tahitian dance show, so the restaurant was closed. It is a beautiful place too. We backtracked and ended up at the Aito Restaurant on Cook’s Bay. It is a small parking lot place that opens to the bay with great views.
The mahi-mahi polynesian style (in coconut milk, with bananas and pineapples) was THE BEST meal Sandy and I have had here so far. We made plans to come back on Thursday for our last meal on Moorea.
Sunday, June 26
We have not heard from the kids, they were staying at the Tahiti Airport Hotel, next to the airport. The AF673 flight left at 7:30 (actually 7:48) a.m. so we are assuming that they are on the flight and should call us tonight about 6:00 p.m. (9:00 p.m.) our time while they are on the road to the Hilton hotel in Valencia. Rather than making them drive after their 6:45 p.m. arrival in LAX, we gave them a head start for about a 5 hour Monday drive back to Oakland and Petaluma.
After tracking the kids on flighttracker.com, we found out that the flight left about 18 minutes late, at 7:48 a.m. but made up the late start by arriving at 6:36 pm. They made it to the hotel with about 2300CF, had a wake up call and made it to the airport, by walking downhill with plenty of time. After getting the car from WallyPark, they made a bee-line for an El Torito to fill up on Mexican food that they were deprived of for a WHOLE week.
After the kids left, we played some games of Farkle, but it wasn’t the same.
Monday, June 27
A nice lazy day, passing time on the water and just relaxing. The Paul Gauguin cruise ship came in today and will be here from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. tomorrow. The ship dispatches its life boats as shuttles to the dock by the Kevaka hotel. The street vendors set up their booths there, so its a good concentration of shopping. Sandy found a beautiful 2 black-pearl pendant, champagne and purple for 32,500CF (about 406.25US). She also found black pearl anklets for Rosie and Carol.
Lunch was fish burgers at Annas Blue, this time mahi-mahi instead of tuna. The tuna burgers are better. Dinner was at Alo Pizza, we ordered the Hawaiian Pizza with Pepperoni. They have NO beer and wine served and the one-size pizza is 1700CF.
Tuesday, June 28
Another lazy day. Breakfast was ham and egg burritos, we are running out of tortillas, oh no! Just for costing purposes:
(Item in Pacific Francs, CF)/80 = U.S. Dollars
Milk (1 liter): 320CF (4.00US per liter, 16.00US gallon, ouch)
Gasoline (sans plom, unleaded, per liter): 160CF (2.00US liter or 8.00US gallon)
Diesel: 147CF (1.84US liter or 7.35US)
Bread (baguette): 53CF (0.66US)
Beer (Hinano): 205-240CF per 0.5 liter (2.56 – 3.00US per 0.5 liter, 5.12 – 6.00US per liter)
Butter: 303CF (3.79US)
Salad dressing, Wishbone: 270CF (3.35US)
Condensed milk, carnation: 193CF (2.41US)
We had a car rental this afternoon, leaving about 3:00 p.m. and went shopping around the island, mainly in Maharepa. Mom found some gifts to take back for folks. We timed the car to keep it overnight and head to the Snack Mahana for lunch up by the InterContinental tomorrow.
Dinner today was at Les Tipaniers, both were excellent. Mom had the shrimp and magi in coconut milk and I had the parrotfish prepared in coconut milk as well. They were both amazing, best meal yet! Without a car, they said free pickup would be no problem, but you have to wait for all pickup patrons to be done, before you return to your hotel.
Wednesday, June 29
Nice lazy morning driving to the “Le Chat (the cat)” jewelry store to see what else Nathalie had in her shop. Les Chat is just west of the InterContinental hotel, on the upside, with a big tiiki statue out front. It is hard to miss it. She unfortunately, was closed but her work is displayed in the InterContinental.
Lunch was fantastic at Snack Mahana. This little restaurant is only open for lunch, the cook cooks from her home and you eat in the backyard. On recommendation from the waitress, we both had the mahi-mahi, lightly breaded in coconut juice. I had it with rice and Sandy with fries. The price, per meal was about 1800CFP. A nice leisure meal that was THE best I had so far on the island.
Dinner was spaghetti, the last of it Tonight was the dinner show and we just hung out listening to the music. Sandy said the show was the same as the week before.
Thursday, June 30
Breakfast was our remaining yogurt and local chocolate croissant and coffee. We are using up most of our staples now. We settled up our bill at Anna’s Bleu, it for 2 weeks was 53,000CF or about 550US. That included the dinner show last weekend.
Laundry day in the morning. Lunch was a sandwich with the cold-cuts we still had left over. We had to finish the remaining beers too, so .. we worked hard and DID.
Last dinner on Moorea was at Aito Restaurant. I had the red tuna in ginger sauce and Sandy had the Lobster au gratin. Both were excellent and we, for dessert, spilt the coconut-banana pie with vanilla-rum ice cream. It too was delicious. Aito is getting a little old for still running a restaurant. The trip back to the hotel was an interesting one.
Friday, July 1
Time to pack up and head to Papeete. We settled up our bills, yesterday for Ananas Blue and today for the club. The weekly rate for taxes and fees for 3 weeks and the motu picnic (7,000CF per person) fee of 35,000 CF was 51,087CF or about 638.58US.
35, 000 motu
3,000 laundry (3 times 1,000)
140 per local call (2 calls)
1,819CF per week resort fee (4% of yearly maintenance fee)
150CF per person per day city tax
Hinano (0.5L) beer deposit = 60CF per bottle
bacon is a little weird
Use Skype to call US
Club Bali Hai WiFi password = cbhmoorea2011
HOTSPOT-WDG is the other paid wireless network on Moorea. You pay for it as you need it. They have pay as you go plans too and are located throughout Moorea and Tahiti.
1 hour = 500CF
5 hours = 2,000CF
10 hours (1 extra free, 11 hours total) = 4,000CF
Arrived via Aremeti V ferry on the 1:45 p.m. slot. The Albert shuttle price was 700CF per person, 4 of us headed to the airport. We went directly to the Tahiti Airport Motel to find a pleasant surprise and the shuttle fee was only 1700CF. We scoped out the airport walk, literally only 5 minutes, all do-able in the morning. From the airport, we took a taxi downtown for some last minute shopping, this fare was 1500CF.
To top it off, we then took a trip to the InterContinental for a view of Moorea and sunset, it was spectacular! Lots of people and lots of noise but an amazing sunset.
Tomorrow, Saturday comes early.
Saturday, July 2
The Air France flight from LAX to Tahiti is late, instead of a 10:30 p.m. departure, it left at 12:15 a.m. this morning. It arrived at 5:40 a.m. and I am wondering if it can turned around in time for its 7:30 a.m. departure.
We were lucky and a taxi was awaiting us at the lobby, actually for another couple so we took it saving us the 5 minute walk. Checked in baggage and were ready for the flight. It was only delayed from 7:30 for 15 minutes so we were fine. Just for future reference, there IS a coffee/snack shop INSIDE past the security checkpoint.
Air France flight 673 arrived in LAX on time, 6:30 local time, went through immigration and customs with no problems. Air France is THE WAY TO GO. Free booze on the plane, champagne, wine and even digestives after lunch! Food not too bad either and service was fantastic!
Stopped by the El Torito in Marina del Ray and were home by about 11:15 p.m.
Sunday, July 3
Packing and unpacking for tomorrow’s flight to Hawaii!