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Place I visited that wasn't what I expected

A few years ago I took a trip to Australia and New Zealand and a travel option was a stop over on a south Pacific island of my choice. Since I had met someone from Tahiti, I thought I could stay with her and get to know the island from a native. I booked the trip with Tahiti at the end, figuring I would be getting short on money and I would be a relaxing end to the trip. However I never connected directly with the person I knew in Tahiti but a mutual friend assured me that I was expected.

After traveling for 4 weeks Down Under I arrived in Tahiti at something like 2 AM and no one was there to meet me. After watching all the cabs take fares I decided that I had better call. Because of the night flight, she expected me the next night (I woke her up, of course) and that because of her family was busy with her mother's political campaign for mayor of Papeete there wasn't any room for me to stay with her. She had booked me into a hotel in downtown Papeete and she hoped that I had a nice visit. I was a bit confused but since it was now 3:30 AM I got a cab to this hotel. I checked in with some trepidation because the old credit card was nearing its end from previous shopping.

Let me say now that when I travel I generally stay with friends to save money and when friends aren't available I utilize youth hostels, even though I'm usually the oldest person there. I spent the first couple of days trying to leave early, however, flights into and out of Tahiti are few and far between and I soon became resigned to staying the entire week because there was no other way off the island! Although most people do speak English, all the signs were in French, and it had been over 25 years since I had taken a French class in high school. Even though some French came back it was still a struggle to use public transportation and buy at local markets rather than the shops and restaurants catering to tourists. I was also not interested in beaches, nude or not, since I am fair skinned and had already gotten very badly sunburned snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef a few weeks earlier. That left me with some booked tours of the island but little money for eating.

I did become very familiar with Le Bus, public buses, and the Roulettes, trucks which set up as restaurants in the dock area at night for the locals. The Roulettes were fun actually and the food great. Lots of choices like brick oven pizza, crepes of all types, and Chinese. So my trip to Tahiti was definitely not what I expected, but I must say I probably have seen more of the island and met more real Tahitians than the average tourist from the US. Once I got over the fact I was alone, spending more money than I really had, I learned a lot about Tahiti and myself. I would recommend Tahiti for couples staying at the resort for a vacation. For a single woman, low on funds Tahiti was more of an adventure.




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