Sunday, 19 March 2017

Sunday, March 12, 2017 – Rediscovering Papetee

We have returned.

Our cab dropped us off at the Hotel Sarah Nui. The jolly cab driver entertained us as he drove us into town by singing at the top of his lungs to local ukulele-filled Polynesian music on the radio. We also learned that he was from the Marquesas islands, had taken a Tahitian wife, and had three girls and two boys. He had a Marquesan wooden necklace that he showed us and when he dropped us off he showed us a beautiful carving he was working on that was sitting in the back of his Dacia Logan.

The Hotel Sarah Nui is a small hotel located near to the centre of Papetee (the capital of Tahiti). We chose it for its close location to the harbour, where there is a square where the Roulettes (food trucks) come to serve dinner at night and for its walkability to the local market.

We tried to check in when we arrived at the Hotel Sarah Nui, however we were not able to check in yet as it was only about 7 AM local time (currently French Polynesia is 3 hours behind Pacific Daylight Time, as French Polynesia does not observe daylight savings time, which created confusion for our sleep deprived brains as daylight savings time took effect the same day we arrived). Check-in time for this hotel is 1:00 PM. Our room was not yet ready. So, we stored our bags with the hotel, brushed our teeth in the lobby bathroom, and left the hotel to wander the Sunday streets of Papetee.

We were shattered from the series of three flights, not sleeping much overnight on the third flight, and by the complete change in locale. We had obtained a map from the hotel, however, it was unnecessary, because it was very simple to walk to the harbour front. We stopped by an ATM by the hotel and tried to get more money out, as many places do not accept credit cards, and some of our accommodations that we will be staying at later in the trip only take cash. It proved to be almost impossible to withdraw money from this ATM either. It would only allow us to have a small amount of cash out on one of our cards, like the other ATM (but not doubt the bank fee will still be high).

We first walked to the tourist office, which is located along the harbour front. The office was not yet open, however their washrooms were, which April was very thankful for. After, we went to the local market. As it was a Sunday, the upper floor of the market (which has most of the non food related items such as souvenirs), was not open. We were able to browse the produce stands, however, and we bought some lovely little local bananas to eat (a bunch of about 10 was about $1.00).

Moorea in the background.

Dramatic skies.

We stopped by a patisserie that we used to go to during our last trip to Papetee. We had a croissant, and pain au chocolat and an Orangina. We also bought a piece of cake to eat later to belatedly celebrate April’s birthday. We tried out a couple of ATMs on our way back to the hotel and continued to have no luck withdrawing cash.

Mmm mmm pastries.

We returned to the hotel and fought to stay away sitting on couches in the lobby. We still had hours to kill before check-in. Bill called one of our banks to ask them why we were having trouble withdrawing money (we were afraid they had seen the strange locations we were trying to withdraw from and had frozen our accounts), but they knew we were in Tahiti, as we dutifully put notes on our accounts in advance of leaving, and they said there shouldn’t be any issue. We were confused, but had heard that sometimes ATMs run out of money in French Polynesia and as it was Sunday, hopefully we would have more luck tomorrow.

We ordered a couple of cold drinks and two Margarita pizzas from the hotel’s snack bar for lunch and ate them as we waited for our room to be readied. 

At noon, the check-in clerk told us that our room was ready. We proceeded to our room, unpacked a few things, so that we could have a shower, had a shower, and went for a nap. April’s feet were very swollen from the three flights, which is a common pregnancy symptom.

There was a street racing course set up on the streets by our hotel, and for a few hours there were deafening motorsport noises that pierced our ear drums as we drifted in and out of consciousness.

After our rest, we walked from the hotel to the bank machine by our hotel to try and get money out again. We then walked down to the harbour front to Vaiete Place to see what the Roulettes had to offer for dinner. We ended up having pizza. It wasn’t as good as the pizza we had had last time we were at the Roulettes in 2008, but it was still pretty good. We had cold drinks with our pizza and watched the sunset and the beautiful stars come out.


It was a very warm and humid evening with the sky going dark just before 7 PM. We admired the full moon rising as we returned to our hotel to get an early night’s sleep in advance of our flight to Huahine the next morning. 

No comments:

Post a Comment