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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Tahiti

FRENCH POLYNESIA | Monday, 7 October 2019 | Views [141]

Last night began my big journey to another far-flung destination of my dreams: Pitcairn Island. I'm killing two birds with one stone on this journey by visiting French Polynesia on the way. There are three French territories in the South Pacific: New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, and French Polynesia. I've now been to all three. Bernhard is my CouchSurfing host and he greated me in traditional Tahitian fashion. He's originally from Austria but has lived in Pape'ete for the past several years. 

Perhaps it's the heat but perhaps it's excitement that I was up at 4 AM. Like much of the rest of the Pacific, Tahitians are early risers and get the bulk of their strenuous activity finished early in the day. Bernhard would let me borrow his bike and I went for a long excursion. First I stopped at the Pape'ete Market for a look at fruits, vegetables, fish, and other things. 

 

My first geocache find would be one that's taken care of by a shopkeeper named Elvis. The clue threw me off a bit because I was thinking it was something to do with Elvis Presley. Pape'ete isn't the most beautiful place in Tahiti and it's a place I wouldn't care to spend more than a day or two to stock up on provisions and get my bearings. Up a huge hill and then down I rode as I made my way to Pointe Venus. 

If I weren't so exhausted I would ridden all the way round Tahiti Nui. As I headed back to Pape'ete I had a few things to do before leaving for Pitcairn tomorrow: pick up seasickness tablets and change some money. Many of the essentials such as sunscreen and insect repellent, I picked up in Auckland before flying here. Postcards of topless girls caught my interest so I picked up a couple of them to send to myself. The only other places I've seen postcards of topless girls are Australia and New Caledonia. Exchanging money is a mission and a half here in French Polynesia, and the exchange kiosk at the airport was closed when I arrived last night. Fortunately I have some CFP francs leftover from when I went to Wallis and Futuna last year, so I had a bit of money to get me through. Many banks won't change money, and if they do they charge an outrageous commission. To change Australian dollars at the Bank of Tahiti would cost $20 in commission: a substantial amount when you're only changing $150 or $200. Bernhard's housemate, Luis and I did an informal swap of CFP francs and NZ dollars since he's going to New Zealand in a few weeks. Whilst I'm not much of a beer drinker, an ice cold Hinano felt right after a long, hot day.

Bargains are few and far between in French Polynesia, so many visitors head for the food carts at Place Vaiete. Louis and I heard a couple of girls speaking English and we invited them to join us at our table. They agreed, and we found out they are American flight attendants named Vanessa and Priscilla. We all decided on Chinese food and then we chatted for what seemed like hours on their final night in Tahiti. Amidst all the distractions I realized my lip balm was missing. For some reason my lips get so dry, and I'd be hard-pressed to find any lip balm on Pitcairn so I made a B-line for a place where I could buy some. I got two sticks just to be sure in case I lose one. Phew, I wouldn't want dry lips for the next two weeks. 

What I saw today isn't the most gorgeous part of French Polynesia. I'll definitely be heading for greener pastures and bluer seas upon my return. A short sojourn in Tahiti unfolded, and now the big leg of this journey begins. 

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