POP-EE-AAY-TAY. Not Pap-eet or Pap-iti, as we heard it mispronounced. In these parts, you pronounce every vowel. Knowing that, try saying the name of Papeete’s Airport, Faa’a. Yes, it is Fah-ah-ah. Interesting, and you get much farther with the locals when you try to pronounce place names correctly. Of course, a Bon Jour also goes a long way, as 90 percent of Tahitians speak French as their first language.
In popular culture, Papeete is mentioned in Crosby, Stills & Nash’s song, Southern Cross. It is a setting in the novel, Mutiny on the Bounty, and where Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Ebb Tide begins. In the movie Endless Summer, the beach in Papeete is dubbed “Ins and Outs” because the steep shore causes waves to break in both directions…toward the beach and out to sea.
We love the first photo because who ever heard of a tattooed mannequin? Only in French Polynesia! And except for the tattoo on the arm, who would ever see his other tattoos? The lovely…tattooed…painted lady is on a building a block from the port, and the lovely palm frond Welcome sign was just across the street from the ship, at the entrance to the shopping district. We wandered through the Marche Papeete, the central market. As you can see, for sale was the morning’s catch and more bananas than we’ve ever seen. Items are generally fairly pricey in Tahiti…in the photo of the Fresh Fruit vendor, a liter of water costs almost $5.00 US. But the fruit juices are more reasonable, $3-4 US.
You can see some colonial-type architecture in the building with covered walkways all around, and this was just down the street from the thatched hut building. The last three photos were taken from our ship, a gorgeous view of the mountains looming over the city. But the last photo gave us a laugh, as everyone was talking about it…the yacht docked alongside our ship with its own helicopter! We were wondering which James Bond villain was in town with us…