South Seas Voyage 2013-2014

Papeete, Tahiti – Part 2

By Chelsea McBroom

March 12th, 2014

The Picton Castle starboard watch’s day off was very quiet, the streets were clear, being a Sunday. The shops were closed with their garage-like doors covered in graffiti. As we walked towards the town centre where the farmers market is, the streets became crowded and busy. I worried I’d lose my friends in the commotion – fish stands calling out prices and hosing down their counters, the vendor selling fragrances and oils asking us where we were from, tables covered in fruits and vegetables (avocados, star fruit, bananas), another in small straight edge woven basket bags. By then, just after 8am, the windows had only a third of their pastries and cakes. When the market closed shortly after, the city seemed deserted.

We went in search for wifi, finding only a bar or two open that had it for sale by the hour. Lian and Mark each took out a bike from the hold (finally!) that had been repaired and checked by the engineer to ride around. Simon, John, Maria and I walked through the city streets instead of following the shoreline as much as possible, hoping to find something else open. We had lunch at a movie theatre snack bar that was outdoors with a large patio. All the movies were dubbed in French which prevented us from buying a ticket to sit in an air conditioned theatre.

We went back to the ship, meeting up with Lily and Mark, who told me of a convention going on further along the shore with a strip of cafes open. We then walked along the wharf until it connected to the busy street and we followed it around the island until it turned into a lush green park strip – very pruned and well taken care of with new modern and yet island looking structures for washrooms and elevators that went underground. Eventually after passing a big stack of canoes we came to a gathering of tents and a swarm of people. Kids played in the jungle gym, and beach court with two goal posts on either end for soccer. The convention was for home-wares but we took particular interest in the inexpensive straw hats at the garden stand and the parachute material hammocks made in a variety of shiny colors.

We randomly chose a cafĂ© patio to sit at – a table with the most shade for us all to sit around and ordered two scoops of coffee ice cream each and a large bottle of water to share. I made a point of not asking what time it was as we relaxed and chatted about sailing and movies. We got back to the ship just before dinner and I chose a Chinese food stand that made chicken and vegetable chow mein. It was a huge portion they gave me in a take-out box and I couldn’t finish it. Together with the days heat and being so relaxed, I found myself very sleepy and didn’t partake in the night of Karaoke.