Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Papeete, Tahiti

Our trip to Bora Bora, Moorea & Tahiti

Both days that we were in Tahiti, we took a shuttle from the Intercontinental Tahiti, arranged by the concierge, to downtown Papeete. It was only $10 round trip but make sure to book through concierge. There were set times for this price. It left at 9am and brought you back at 11:30am, the next one left at 2pm & brought you back at 4:30pm. It drops you off a block away from the market. The market is a must. It has a lot of history and has been in the same location since the 1800s. It is similar to an indoor farmers market but they also have a lot of handmade crafts and lots of the oils that are famous here. 

My favorite scent is the Tiare. It is a gardenia flower that they add fragrance and oil and marinate it until it is perfect. I bought more than enough to last me awhile! I might even have brought some back for a reader!

Stacy shopping for souvenirs 

You can find all souvenirs here for less expensive than the resorts, but not cheap cheap. A tshirt was $29 still. One of the local ladies I befriended loved my shiny cane. I almost gave it to her, if I would have had another with me I would have. I enjoyed looking at all the loose pearls and hand picking my favorite.
Searching for the perfect pearls

 I am thinking Ms A will be pretty impressed that mommy is bringing her home pearls. She will also enjoy the yummy scented bath products I purchased for her. 
After the market we visited the Pharmecie. This is a store all over France that can be found by the large lighted green "+" sign. Well known French brands can be found here. Many brands we pay high prices for in the US are carried here less expensive. My favorite dry shampoo (Klorane) is $10 less at the Pharmacie then at US retailers. This trip I found a sunscreen from a brand I use, but they do not carry the sunscreen in the states yet. I like buying everything from the Pharmacie because the European Union does not allow junk in our personal products and cosmetics like the US does. If you are ever lucky enough to see this green sign, run in and buy everything while your husband is looking for a coca cola down the street. 
French Pharmacie sign

Can't wait until I can buy this is the US!

We found a small street side restaurant/vendor that had the perfect French baguette sandwiches. The mayonnaise, I will never be able to find that flavor in the US.

 The food and desserts were just like France. 

I was on the hunt for a specific book I had seen in Bora Bora, but I wanted it in English. I also wanted to get a book in French for Ms. A. Behind the cathedral is a bookstore, which the locals call a library. The majority of books are in French, but there is an English section. I found the book! Adventures of Lilu & Dudu in Bora Bora. This was one of my favorite stops. Every international vacation I like to purchase books in different languages. I usually get Disney princess books but I ventured out to find older books for Ms. A. 

I enjoyed practicing my French here. While most speak English as well, I felt less intimidated to try it here than France. I was proud when locals could understand my full sentences! I asked where I could buy books for children and almost ignored the response because I was so happy they understood me, ha. The second day we went back to the market because I had seen a mother of pearl dish I wanted and couldn't get out of my head. It would work perfectly on a dresser I just chalk painted. I was happy to go back and get the last one. It was $20 where as the resorts were selling similar ones for over $150. 
If you are looking for a quality souvenir with local heart, check out this pareo shop on the main road near the ferry port and the shopping center. The owner makes them all herself. She travels to Indonesia to find amazing fabrics, then brings them back and makes amazing designs on them. She also takes local Tahitian cotton and makes them in Papeete. She had so many great stories.

From downtown, we took a taxi ride about 15 minutes to the black sand beach at Lafayette Beach. It was raining so the mister stayed in the taxi so they would stay, as he had already spent time at a black sand beach in Hawaii. The taxi driver told me not to go near the water because the waves. When I walked down the trail and saw the beach I was in awe. First off, I have never seen surfing competition sized waves, nor the black sand.  I put some in a ziplock bag to bring home for the kids. It was a beautifully peaceful moment on the beach, alone by myself. So worth the ride there if you have never seen a black sand beach. 

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