Tahiti in the Dark...
PAPEETE, Tahiti - Well, I made it. I just don't know exactly where I am at the moment.
Well, that's not quite true. It's a nice-looking resort called the Manava Suites, and it's about 10 minutes from the airport. But it was 11 p.m. local time when I arrived and I didn't get my luggage for an hour, so now it's 1 a.m.
I gotta get up in a few hours to catch a boat to Moorea, so I won't have much time to check out the main island of Tahiti.
There's a full moon, and it's certainly warm and lush and there's palm trees and all that. But it's pretty hard to get any kind of a take on a place at midnight, especially on Halloween. I don't know if there are always so many teens out and about on a Saturday night, but they certainly were in evidence here as we drove to the hotel.
But no problems, no real issues except the bar's closed and it's hard to get a Tahitian punch out of your bathroom sink. So I'll have to wait for that for Club Bali Hai in Moorea, where I'm headed tomorrow.
I will say that although the luggage was REALLY slow, it was fun to arrive and be greeted by a trio of local singers. One guy was plucking a guitar, another had something that looked like a ukelele and the final guy was playing kind of a standup string bass; not unlike something you'd see in a bluegrass festival or some such.
Very nice. And everyone got a small white flower to put behind their ear when they got off the airplane and went to the terminal. Ditto for when we got on board our Air Tahiti Nui flight from LA, which took nearly nine hours.
Everyone seems to get in the spirit of these things, and I didn't spot many folks without a flower adorning their ear. Me, too, if you really want to know. Looked pretty fetching, too.
I won't have a chance to check out the main island, as I said. But folks say it's kinda like the Honolulu of Tahiti; it's a fine entry point but if you really want to get a feel for the place you get to the outer islands. I'm supposed to visit Moorea, Raiatea, Taha'a, Huahine and Bora Bora by the time I finish next Saturday, so I'm hoping for the best.