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Thursday 3rd June - Papeete and Moorea
By Claire
Tuesday, 8th June 2004 20:37

We didn't sleep too well in Papeete, so I was up early and went for a walk while Mikey was still asleep. I found the ferry port and times of boats to Moorea, and then walked back. In any other place we would have taken a taxi with our bags, but it wasn't really an option here. By 8am we were on our way to the local Air New Zealand office. We intended to shorten our stay here a little, it was going to be too expensive just to sit in the sun for 8 days, so we lugged our luggage into the nice, air-conditioned office and waited to be called. We have been in Spanish-speaking countries almost exclusively for two months, and I discovered that all my (limited) French had dribbled out and had been replaced by Spanish I didn't know I had. It will take ages to stop saying 'hola!' when entering a shop, or 'gracias' now. I struggled with the request to change our flight details, but the lady was very gracious and continued speaking in French even when I realised she was fluent in English (with a New Zealand accent). We ended up with another three nights here, before flying to Auckland. The posters in the windows showed images from Lord of the Rings scenery, and said 'Middle Earth is New Zealand' which were all very pretty.

We grabbed a sandwich from a cafe for breakfast (I decided against watermelon at $10 a slice) and headed for the ferry terminal. We bought tickets, had our bags taken from us by some shifty-looking characters at the dock, and got onto the big boat. It left an hour and a half later (and an hour late), and took about an hour to arrive at Moorea. It was a beautiful, warm day, high 80s, so I sat out on the deck and read. When we reached the island we waited about an hour for the bus that would take us to the hotel on the other side of the island. About eighty other people, many of them very large elderly women with a questionable number of teeth (why!) squeezed onto the bus too. It took an hour or so to get where we needed to go, by which time only a couple of other people remained. The bus stopped outside the hotel for us, and we were given a little bunglaow with a view of the sea, with a small terrace and garden chairs. We spent no time at all changing into swiming stuff, and ran down to the beach to check out the water. It was really lovely, the water wasn't cold, the sand was silver, there were palm trees, and there was an island just off the coast that I'm going to have to swim to. In the distance, about a mile out, huge waves broke against the reef, and the water was a gorgeous turquoise. We paddled and swam, checked out the swimming pool, laid in the sun and read. A bit later we walked to the local shop for some lunch things (and we have a fridge of our very own to keep things cold for us) and I discovered Cadbury's chocolate and Bounties too. The Dairy Milk had addresses for Cadbury's in almost all the countries we will be visiting, so I was reassured. We walked back along the beach and had a snack, then went out to doze again.

We had supper in the hotel restaurant. It was really dark, no streetlights, and although it was a bit cloudy, the moon was incredibly bright and it made the water glow quite wonderfully.

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