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Dmitri Says

You know what's ridiculous about Tahiti? Some parts of it are actually more spectacular than others. This is hard to believe if you've been to the "mundane" parts, but it's true. I've been to a lot of beaches and pretty places in the world, but nothing, seriously nothing, is like Bora Bora.

It isn't a real place. It's a Hollywood special effect that is projected onto some large canvas you can't see. A coral-based island in a circle sits around a mountain rising out of a central lagoon. From the outside rim, you can look inward, across the lagoon and see this mountain. It's just awe-inspiring, and I never, ever got sick of looking at it. Check the background image in the title picture I made up there. That's the outside ring that the resorts are mostly on in Bora Bora. I'm still dumbstruck by the place. Of course, you have to pay the GDP of some small countries to go and stay there, but I think it's actually worth it. And I'm cheap.

Cindy tells you the good stuff below, but let me just add that we ate one of the better meals we've ever had, and it was at a beautiful restaurant (click on their images to get the idea) attached to the Top Dive resort, which we used as a dive shop the next day. Unbelievably good food, definitely the best of our trip, I think. And then, of course, they have some diving, which didn't exactly suck.

One fun side note from the "aren't cultural differences interesting" file: the hotel gave us daily cards with a local Tahitian legend on them. One day we got the "Legend of Tiki," which tells the story of who Tiki was and what he did. I'll just quote the last paragraph:

"To make a long story short, the girl paired with Tiki and had children by him. For this reason the natives say O Tiki te Etua o te Kaikaia, Tiki is the god of Kaikaia, a word meaning one who is cruel, a cannibal, or who cohabits with his relatives."

Links: The Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort


You gotta like any place whose airport code is "BOB."

Seriously, people. Look at that backdrop. That's what you see when eating a meal or hanging out by the pool. In person, you can scarcely believe the range of blues in the lagoon.

Cindy's Journal

Bora Bora

Woke up the next morning (in Moorea) and went for a short swim—going to miss the bungalows—and tried the outrigger canoes which are harder than they look. It was a great deal of fun but we kept going around and around in circles. We were sad to leave the Sofitel Ia Ora. Love that place. But on to Bora Bora. We took a short plane ride and landed on an old WWII air strip. From there, launches take the hotel guests to various parts of the island and the strips of land that encircle it. Pearl Beach is a beautiful place as well, also with a gorgeous open-air reception area and restaurant. And we love the idea of having boats taxi us around. This time we didn’t have the overwater bungalows, but opted for a garden room. Huge room, complimentary champagne and coconut, outdoor shower, with a little outdoor seated area by the small pool in an enclosed garden. And more complimentary shampoos, lotions, and soaps with monoi. Love monoi! It’s coconut scented and is wonderful.

Chilling out at the new pad. No, not over the water, but not too shabby.

There was a nice little back patio with a small pool and this nice little hut/hangout area.

In Bora Bora there seem to be three main places to have dinner—Bloody Mary’s, Bamboo House, and Top Dive. We went to Top Dive and it was incredible. Dark wood, white lights, yummy food. Expensive, as everything in Tahiti is, but the food and the atmosphere were amazing. The next day we went back to Top Dive for a beginning scuba dive. I was more than a little nervous about it. At home, there are whole courses where you receive extensive training. And here there is just a 10 minute intro and down you go. But Dmitri was very excited and so I went along with him and hoped for the best. It was spectacular. There were so many fish and they were these incredibly vivid colors. The dive guide at one point gave me a bag of food for the fish and this one huge one came right at me and freaked me out, but overall it was wonderful. Dmitri is hooked so I know we’ll be diving on future vacations.

We had an early dinner at the hotel restaurant by the pool. A bit more casual than the main restaurant, but still very nice. High ceilings, sand on the floor, very tropical and relaxing. After dinner, we headed out to the Heiva cultural festival. There was singing and dancing and a Tahitian version of carnival type games. We played this one game that was a kind of spin the wheel thing. We lost. The dancers were great, but it all seemed the same after awhile. And of course we couldn’t leave early to go back to the hotel since we had been shuttled over by boat and we had to wait until the end for the boat to take us back. There were whale-themed dancers in the first act and a love-themed 2nd act in which all the dancers dressed in red. It was heavy on national pride. Over the loudspeaker while they were performing, “If you love your country, don’t sell you land. If you love your language, speak it.”

This is the Heiva. A whole lotta dancers, with the occasional group of them in a giant whale costume. It all had the feel of a county fair, complete with the grandstands, music over loudspeakers, kids running around, and games played at the booths. It was a nice evening. Needless to say, the weather was pretty good too.

More hoedown at the Heiva.

The next day we wandered around the village of Vaitape. It was hot and there wasn’t much to see. We went to the grocery store and once again I drooled over the black pearls, but they were even more expensive than the ones on Moorea so it was not to be. On our last day on Bora Bora, we did a bit of snorkeling and sea kayaking and relaxed by the pool until it was time for our flight. We had been so careful the whole week, but Dmitri got sunburnt and that was no fun. We flew to Papeete and then had several hours to kill because our flight did not leave until 3:50 am. Ugh! So we stowed our bags at the airport and took a taxi into town where we went to the roulettes for dinner. They are carts on wheels down by where the big cruise ships dock and they serve all kinds of food. The meal was actually not bad and we had a good time. We went to the Beachcomber and crashed out in their lobby until it was time to go back to the airport. That was a long day and the flight to Auckland was just as ugly. There were lots of people coughing and sneezing and I caught a bit of something and had to take it easy in Auckland.
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