Monday, February 8, 2010


Miles flown so far: 21,254

As a result of airline tickets purchased with mileage points, the attached blackout dates and other limitations, we were "forced" to stay 5 nights in French Polynesia on the way home.  We made the most of it by booking some time on Bora Bora: that magical, quasi-imaginary place of exotic paradise lost in the South Pacific.  This concept rings less true in the rainy season, when we were there.  We flew into Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia and the largest city on Tahiti.  We didn't see much of the city, but the airport cafeteria and the Tahiti Airport Motel (our layover for one night) were two things best avoided.
The tiny flight to Bora Bora the next morning took off into sheets of rain like I have never seen.  The waters parted in time for landing, and I was able to get a shot of the island and its resorts.

Almost every moment of our time on the island it rained, or was cloudy, or was cloudy and rainy.  Besides that, however, you could see what a special, beautiful place this was.  The colors of the water, sky and sand were otherworldly.

Our one good sunset.

And a rainbow!

The time we spent in Bora Bora was an unexpected luxurious addition to an already spectacular trip.  I am so glad we were able to experience it, even in the rain.  That said, I made some mistakes when arranging the trip that I wish I could have changed.  Staying at a resort on Bora Bora is not a good introduction to Polynesian culture and cuisine, and I knew that it would not be.  It is one of the most spectacular islands in the world, and the idealized version of the South Pacific (which is why all those resorts are there).  I will admit I wanted to fulfil the fantasy of an over water bungalow looking out over an azure lagoon.  I got this, and it was romantic and private and wonderful, despite the rain.  Beyond the room and the surroundings, I wish we hadn't felt so trapped at our specific resort.  The food was terrible and overpriced.  If our time in French Polynesia had not been such a tack-on to the planning of our entire trip, I wish we could have seen some of the less inhabited islands and sought out a more authentic experience.  I watched the No Reservations episode about French Polynesia and it seemed so much more interesting than the country we visited: eating food caught yourself in a breezy locally-built bungalow with no electricity looking out at several other uninhabited islands under thousands of stars.  In short, becasue of our hasty planning and limited time, our Polynesian fantasy was not fully realized, but it was a relaxing and peaceful stay, nonetheless.

A nice end to an epic journey to the other side of the world... and I really feel ready to go home!


  1. I can imagine the limitations of a resort, but the over-the-water bungalow is pretty freaking soothing!

  2. Gorgeous photos, absolutely beautiful shots of the powers that be.