Friday, March 20, 2020

Getting to Bora Bora Pt1 2020-02-07

Last night we landed in Tahiti. Our ultimate goal today is to get to the island of Bora Bora and the Le Meridien Resort.
We spent last night at the Intercontinental Hotel. It was a little too dark to see anything from the balcony before, but now it's great!
It was a short night though. Our flight is leaving at 8am and it was suggested we get to the airport an hour before our flight. We got packed up quickly and were ready to leave the room by 6:45am. It's a pretty quick drive to the airport, and there's supposed plenty of taxis.

Looking out from the lobby.

Okay, so you might have imagined after all those references to the taxis that of course when we got there, there were no taxis to be seen. There was a couple in front of us who were obviously going to the airport too. They were not in a happy mood at all. When the taxi arrived it was a big van. Plenty of room for 4. But they hopped in and when the bellhops asked if they wanted to share, they just closed the sliding door on him... Okay...
It ended up being a 20 minute wait for the taxi to arrive. When the taxi did arrive, once again it was another big van. Funnily enough there was someone else waiting for a taxi behind us. And while the taxi driver wanted to leave without them, we re-opened our door and let them come with us. It's only a 5 minute drive to the airport anyway, so no big deal.
This time with more than 2 people in the car, the taxi driver charged us 800 XPF per person ($8). Seems like the fare prices are made up as whatever they want them to be.

Once at the airport there wasn't any line for Air Tahiti. By 7:20am we were all checked in.

Breakfast time! I remembered there was a McDonalds here on one of our previous visits. Sounds good to me!

Their menu. A little more expensive than back home, but whatever. Their Egg McMuffin is "Sans Oeuf". Checking our translation app, oh, that means "Without Egg". We snagged some food and went through a quick security line.

Ha, I remember these from last time. A Croque McDo! It's two slices of Emmental cheese with a slice of ham in between two buns. It's ridiculously cheesy.

Our breakfast was a combination of hash browns ($1.30), cheeseburgers ($2.70), and the Croque McDo ($2.50).

At 7:40am, there was a general announcement for everyone to start lining up.

And once they checked your ticket and passport, you walk out on the tarmac on to the plane.

Hey little guy, what are you doing out here? It's a little ways from the beach.

Off we go!

No assigned seats here. Just pick wherever you like.

The seats here are bench seats with both backs connected.

Off we go!

In flight they served island juice as a beverage. Pineapple. Mmm, my favorite.

At 8:50am we were landed and at the terminal. Looks like there was some rain here recently.

Waiting for our luggage. It all shows up on that table in the background as it comes off the plane.

Our bags were one of the first to show up and we walked over the to ferry dock.
Welcome to Bora Bora!

From the airport, there is a free ferry that takes you to the main island of Bora Bora.

A map of the route the boat takes to get you to the town of Vaitape.

Here we are at the docks!

Now we could have taken a boat directly to the hotel, but we're on a mission.
Some of the nicer hotels here are on what's known as a motu, which are smaller islands surrounding the main island. But, since they're on an island you don't have easy access to the main island. You'd need to take a water taxi back to the main island if you want to shop. That means all meals are with the hotel! Even back home hotel restaurants are expensive, so you know in a tropical location where you have no other options, it's going to be nuts.

Theresa did some research ahead of time and found two grocery stores within walking distance of the docks where we're going to stock up on food.

It was a pleasant walk at 9:30am and being a little overcast make the heat tolerable.

Here's our first stop. The Chin Lee Bora Bora.

No issues walking in with these giant backpacks.

They've got pretty much everything you could ever want.

Oh yeah. That's something else I've been looking forward to. The bread here is subsidized, so they make a whole bunch of it and it comes out frequently. Only 57 cents a loaf!

Want some bananas? Use the machete that's tied to the table with a string and take a whack off one of these bunches of bananas, right from the tree!

No shortage of chips here either.

Oh yeah, this is the good stuff. This is another thing I was really looking forward. The island juices from Rotui. And of all those juices, the pineapple juice is the absolute best.

If you are ever there, make sure you get the right one. There's one that is made from concentrate, but that's not the one you want. This is what you're looking for. It's not from concentrate and made from fresh pineapples from Moorea. Knowing we would be stuck on the motu, Theresa and I might have gone a little overboard, buying 9 of these 1L containers ($4.56 each). They'll be heavy in the backpack, but oh so worth it.

Just up the street is another grocery store. Walking along side the road, it's interesting the sites you see. Like a bunch of fresh fish hanging by the sidewalk.

Here's the second grocery store. The Super U. It's a further walk from the docks, but we were curious to see which store had better prices. Full disclosure, we didn't buy anything from the Chin Lee grocery store yet. Instead we looked around the Super U, compared prices, and seeing they were similar, walked back to the Chin Lee and got everything there, since it was a shorter walk back to the docks with all the heavy groceries.

Inside the Super U, a guard made sure people didn't walk into the store with large backpacks. Since we had our entire bags full of everything we've brought with, instead of just setting them to the side and doing our shopping, I stayed with the bags while Theresa looked around.

Forget your Ukulele? Pick one up here for $159.

Ah, yum. Another fresh bread delivery.

Even in our short 9 minute walk to the Super U, there must have been 10 tables on the side of the road with people selling fruits. There was one table that was selling just watermelons. Theresa joked that she wanted one and wanted me to carry it. But then she saw the price tag. $45 for one watermelon!
Theresa does love these little island bananas though. Can't remember exactly but they were something like $5.


Back at the Chin Lee, we did all the rest of our shopping, spending ~$128 for all our food ($41 in juice).

And not having had all that much to drink this morning, we were getting parched. In this case, I just wanted a lot of something to drink, so we bought a big container of the Rotui Pineapple Juice from concentrate.


The bread doesn't have any preservatives in it, and with the humid weather, it's going to not taste so good before too long. But today it's going to be delicious. I bought a slab of French butter and we had a delicious lunch of bread and butter. Reminds me of our college days.

Theresa is getting into the island mood too, changing our her nail polish to these tropical island inspired colors.

Our boat to the Le Meridien should be arriving to pick us up at the docks around noon. For now, we're going to sit around and enjoy the peacefulness.


  1. Such lush morning greenery from the room's balcony...beautiful sight to be greeted with in the morning! Colorful, scenic paper cups just for the in-flight juice :-) Definitely came prepared to stock up at the markets...that's a lot of juice (agree it's always better to get it fresh from the fruit vs concentrate)! 57 cents for a loaf of fresh then slathered with all that french two certainly enjoyed your meal...savoring the food while leisurely soaking in the fresh air and peacefulness! Cute palm tree finger decor on T's finger nail polish...perfectly fits the tropical scene. EOM

    1. Life over there certainly has a different feel than the hustle and bustle we're used to.
      It's great to be able to take those kinds of get-aways once in a while. Wish I could have those types of treats more often, fresh juice and warm bread. It's hard to get much better.