L.J. Bear Goes To Tahiti
by L.J. Slaski
copyright (c) 2000, photos and story
Hi - I'm here again with a new adventure.
In May 2000, I had an opportunity to visit
Tahiti and other islands in French
Polynesia while sailing aboard the
Renaissance 4.
Polynesia consists of five archipelagos.
All of the islands that I visited were in the
Society Islands. The Society Islands are
further divided into the Iles du Vent or
Windwards, which include Tahiti and
Moorea, and the Iles Sous-le-Vent or
Leewards, which include Huahine,
Raiatea, and Bora Bora.
Tahiti is located in the Pacific Ocean,
about 2,500 miles from Honululu and
more than 3,700 miles from Los Angeles.
The money used in Tahiti is the French
Pacific franc. The money is very
colorful with pictures of island scenes
and coral reefs. At the time I visited, the
exchange rate was almost 130 French
Pacific francs to one U.S. dollar.
I found that the easiest way to obtain
French Pacific francs was from ATM
machines that I had no problem locating.
The ATM's provided cash at the official
exchange rate without having to pay
commissions.
The largest city in Polynesia is Papeete with a population of more
than 100,000. Above is a view of downtown Papeete as seen from
the harbor. On weekdays, there is quite a bit of traffic in the city.
However, crossing streets was less of a problem than I expected
because traffic stops for pedestrians in crosswalks.
One of the fun sights to visit in Papeete
is the market, which is in a two-story
building not far from the docks. On the
main floor, merchants sell fruits,
vegetables, fish, meat, and flowers. On
the second floor, all kinds of
handicrafts and souvenirs are sold.
To the right is a flower
arrangement for my cabin
that I purchased in the
market for 1,500 French
Pacific francs (about
$12).