Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A nice day on Moorea island and a long wait for our flight to Easter Island

PHIL: Day 68/22 April

This very aeroplane had a fatal accident killing
 all on board only days later!
Baguettes and apricot jam for breakfast. Very French but missing the chocolat chaud or real coffee I remember and love. One of the Frenchmen tells me Nicholas Sarkozy polled most votes over Segolene Royale, Jean-Marie Le Pen, and some ‘green’ I’ve never heard of.

In the manner of such puzzling European contests,however, there must apparently be a re-run in two weeks because there is no overall victor. 

Air Moorea can put us on a flight just 25 minutes after we arrive unannounced at their tiny terminal.
runway on Moorea
The whole procedure is a delight by comparison with today’s general security-heavy procedures. We just walk onto the apron and climb on the venerable Twin Otter. 

No x-ray, no ‘banned liquids’, no baggage checks. Not even a safety briefing. Just aviation as it should be. Mind you I guess Tahiti doesn’t have too many tall towers to fly aeroplanes into. The flight lasts exactly 5 minutes at 500ft across the intervening azure sea. 
Allie has the chance to look over the (sole) pilot’s shoulder – another rarity these days.
welcome to paradise!
Within 20 minutes we are installed on what is probably the best beach on Moorea and Allie is off snorkelling. We spend an idyllic 4 hours or so in and out of the crystal-clear water – even better than the Cooks – before walking the 3km or so to catch the ferry for return to Papeete harbour. 

The walk is a struggle in 30+ degrees and humidity in the 80s. The ferry is a welcome relief from the airless heat of the shoreline but delivers us into Papeete’s heart which can only be described as soulless. 

Architecture and style of any sort is almost completely absent which we find surprising for a French territory.

Back at the airport following a very summary walk around the capital , a delay of nearly five hours in our LAN-Chile departure to Easter Island is announced. After hanging onto the ‘fleapit’ as long as we could without incurring further cost or the wrath of the 150kg madame we suffer the inadequacies of the Faaa Airport terminal for six or seven gruelling hours., Tahitien children, clearly not under any parental control, play Ben Hur with baggage trolleys in the airport concourse. We shall be glad to leave this scruffy, expensive and frankly uninteresting outpost of domestic France.

on board the twin otter
ALLIE: DAY 68: Sunday, 22nd of April

A trip to Moorea by plane and boat, Papeete downtown, waiting for Lan Chile

We decided to fly across with Air Moorea to the little island of Moorea. It’s just 30km from Tahiti but supposed to have lovely beaches and beautiful landscape. The flight in that little ‘Twin Otter’ is great! No security checks, just walk onto that aircraft, take a seat and off we go. The cockpit door is widely open and I can watch the pilots movements.
views to Moorea

No safety briefings, no stewardess to check the correct storage of bags – wonderful! After only a brief 7mins we land on Moorea. Steep mountains rise from the centre of the island, everything seems to be much more laid back then on Tahiti.

approach to Moorea
It’s only a short walk to the beach and that’s where we stay for the next couple of hours, swimming, snorkeling and watching the locals at their Sunday out. 

Most of them just sit in the shallow water, sip a beer and listen to their stereo recorders. To my surprise I see a wide range of brazen display of naked breasts. That would be against the law in the Cooks but here the French ‘laissez-faire’ mentality has obviously taken a firm place in society. Not that it matters to me. The sad thing is only (as in most such places) that it’s always the most wobbly and fat women that tend to show the world their bodily parts.

The snorkeling is great. Crystal blue water, some nice corals and colourful fish. Before we ourselves get roasted like barbeque chicken, we leave the beach and walk the 3 km to the port. On the way we stop at a little fruit shop and enjoy some delicious Three big boats are waiting in the harbour, we take the slow one that will take an hour to cross the straight back to Tahiti. It’s a relaxed journey on the sun-deck.

Do you want to hear two really important travel tips? If you want to safe lots of money and stay happy, don’t go to Tahiti and don’t stay at ‘Chez Fifi’!
Papeete on a Sunday surely must be the most desolate and boring capital city in the world. 

All and everything is shut and the houses don’t reflect anything of the traditional charm that some of the other French colonial towns do have like for example Luang Prabang in Lao. 

Even the catholic cathedral is a disappointment. At least the tourist brochure has the guts to admit the fact that this city is not worth more then a quick drive past it to the airport. We do exactly that.

heading back to Tahiti on the ferry 

Back at Mrs grumpy Fifi we refresh ourselves with a shower and a little doze before we go down to the airport at 8pm only to find that our flight to Easter Island is delayed by three hours and not due before 4 am! 

Spend the last 2000 doncs on two beers and a horrible tasting pizza whilst waiting 2 ½ hrs for our check in. 
The airport is a scandal. Except for this cafeteria there is no proper bar, the internet café is shut and the toilets look like they haven’t been cleaned since Captains Cooks first arrival.
Finally check in with Lan Chile and a long wait.

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