Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia

Papeete is the capital of French Polynesia.  It is part of the Society Islands, an Archipelago so named by Captain Cook because you can see each one from another.  The last one in this group that we will visit is Moorea, where we will sail tomorrow morning. We then have two islands left to visit, Rangiroa in the Tuamotu Archipelago and Nuka Hiva in the Marquesas Islands, all part of French Polynesia. I took a tour round the island this morning.  The tour guide told us not to believe all the advertising about Tahiti, and by the end of the tour I could see what she meant.  It is not an island of white sandy beaches and Polynesian dancers.  It is very modern with a lot of industry.  There are a few big hotels and I couldn’t see their beaches but they were likely black sand beaches.  We first visited the Museum of Tahiti and her Islands.  Built in the 1970s, it was  fairly modern and gave a history of the islands with some nice artefacts such as the canoes in the first picture.  After that we proceeded to the Paul Gauguin Museum.  This museum tells a comprehensive story of the painter’s life.  He died and is buried  in the Marquesas Islands. Apparently there used to be original paintings but in this open air museum they were not being properly maintained so only copies are shown.  There are a few artefacts from his Tahitian home.  There was a nice view of Moorea from the back of the Museum.  (photo).  Our last stop was the Arahurahu Marae (photo.) This was the only Marae (ceremonial site) which I saw that had been restored.  It was nicely decorated because they do have a dancing demonstration on Saturday evenings.  At the entrance there were two Tiki standing guard (photo). So far I think that Raiatea is the nicest of the islands, at least the ones that are affordable.

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