Embarking on our "lune de miel*"
Trip Start Nov 06, 2010
14Trip End Nov 17, 2010
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Where I stayed
The flight to Tahiti took 8 hours. We spent most of the time watching movies (Dinner for Schmucks was a bit schmucky; The Other Guys was forgettable) and reading. When our flight attendant found out we were on our honeymoon, she gave us complimentary mini bottles of sparkling wine!
Our first view of Tahiti was a bit disappointing. We were imagining turquoise blue waters and palm treees. What we saw were crowded buildings, which looked like we were landing in LA. By the time we disembarked at Faa’a airport, it was dark. At the terminal, musicians were playing traditional Tahitian music, which made the long & slightly humid wait for immigration & customs slightly more bearable.
Once we passed through immigration, our passports were stamped and we picked up our luggage, we were greeted by a Marama Tour representative, who gave Brian and I a flower lei made of tiare flowers (the national flower of French Polynesia).
We then boarded the air-conditioned shuttle for a 15 minute ride to our hotel: Intercontinental Resort Tahiti. There wasn’t much of a view on the way to the hotel. We caught glimpses of small grocery stores, mom-and-pop stores, a few small restaurants and some car garages.
One thing we weren’t expecting once we arrived at Intercontinental Tahiti were the shirtless bellboys. Bare-chested and tanned, the only thing they had on was a sarong wrapped around their waist. Since we were Intercontinental Ambassador Club members, our check-in was fast and included cool, floral-scented washcloths (to cool down with) and refreshing “jus d’exotique”.
Finally, we were in our lagoon-view room. We had a few gifts waiting for us: a plate of freshly cut fruit, a rolled up watercolour poster of Tahiti and a white silk-screen printed pareo. I love the Ambassador Club & honeymoon perks! We didn't even have to bring our suitcases to the room -- it was delivered by a tanned, shirtless bellboy who was so polite and left so quickly we didn’t have a chance to tip him. Later on, we found out that although tips are appreciated, they aren’t expected in French Polynesia.
We decided to have some appetizers and drinks at the hotel bar and watch a Tahitian show. It wasn’t just a regular Tahitian dance show; it was an actual play as well (although the dialog was all in Tahitian). The dance troupe, “Les Grands Ballets de Tahiti" were performing a chapter of the famous story of the Mutiny on the Bounty.
We later found out that the particular dance troupe participated in Heiva i Tahiti, which is a huge competition/festival from June to July showcasing Polynesian singers & dancers. Only the best dance troupes from French Polynesia and the surrounding areas are invited to participate in the competition.