American dream in Tahiti.

There was a thunderous noise outside the marina yesterday. So much for the local churches asking for silence on a Sunday. Police vehicles with blue flashing lights closed off the road.It turned out to be an event for the owners of American motorbikes and American Jeeps. Both of which made a huge amount of noise when in action.

Once the vehicles were parked on display outside the marina, there was a blissful silence. It lasted all afternoon.

Unlike the vast USA, Tahiti is a tiny island. Papeete the main town, is already struggling to cope with traffic congestion. Although fun for some, and they definitely drew a lot of attention at the event, I wonder if these gas guzzling, noise polluting modes of transport have a place here on the island.

An excellent band belted out classic American hits from the seventies whilst children and youths practiced bicycle stunts.

Others watched the experienced trick bike team fly up a ramp, spin their BMX bikes and land on a huge inflated airbag.

I discovered that BMX means bicycle motocross, it’s an off road sports bicycle used for racing and stunt riding. BMX started in the early 1970s when children began racing their bicycles on dirt tracks in Southern California inspired by the motocross stars.

So the good old Stars and Stripes won over the locals for the afternoon.
With screeching tyres and roaring exhausts the jeeps and motorcycles disappeared as quickly as they arrived.

A short time later the police reopened the road to the normal traffic.

Heiva o te

The Day of Autonomy or locally called ‘Heiva o te’ is an official holiday in French Polynesia, an overseas collective of France. It’s celebrated on the 29th June every year to honour Tahitian and French Polynesian self rule. This year was the 35th anniversary of independence of 1984.
Big celebrations were held all day and evening in Papeete, the capital town of Tahiti.
Many dignitaries gave speeches.
In the afternoon a huge procession involving over 11,500 people representing 150 French Polynesian organisations, paraded down the Pouvanaa’a Oopa Avenue cheerfully waving their banners.

Late afternoon there was a festive programme on the waterfront, in the beautiful gardens of the Paofi Parc. The Parc was packed with people relaxing, picnicking and having fun.

I loved the hats and floral headbands, people had made such an effort on this special occasion.

Children’s play activities.

There were acoustic parties

An open air cartoon film would start when dark at 6pm.

At 8pm there was a fireworks display over the Papeete harbour.

After such a busy programme, I expect there were some very tired families the next day.

Farmers dilemma

I read in the news that “France will declare a state of natural disaster after rain and hail storms lashed a swathe of the south-east on Saturday, devastating crops”

In Tahiti, I was bimbling round the Papeete local fruit and vegetable market last week. Chatting to a stall holder, I mentioned that prices appeared to have gone up for things like cucumbers and tomatoes. He told me that everything was growing really well, then suddenly for no apparent reason the cucumber and pepper plants just died.

Sunday was the farmers market. I noticed that there were quite a lot of cucumbers but no tomatoes or peppers.

Another stall holder said not much is growing at the moment but they didn’t know why. May is usually a productive month for produce here. I wondered if there had been bad weather in Tahiti whilst we were away on holiday in Oregon.

During our visit to Oregon, we were shopping in Safeways. A lady was promoting Oregon Solidarity wine. It was a heart warming story.
After an order for $4 million worth of grapes was canceled citing smoke-tainted grapes, local winemakers stepped up and used them anyway.

Read more about it in the link below.

https://www.oregonsolidarity.com

We had experienced large areas on fire as we drove through California and Oregon on a previous trip last October. The smoke certainly carried in the wind for miles and the effects on agriculture were devastating. However, tests were made on the grapes and they did not prove to be smoke damaged.

We of course thoroughly enjoyed our bottle of Oregon Solidarity wine.

I’m left wondering what and when the knock on effect will be for us in French Polynesia, if the vineyards in France have been badly affected.

Invasion

Whilst enjoying a live gig in the Place To’ata Stadium in Tahiti, John nudged me.

Not only did we have an excellent view of the stage from our seats but we also had a commanding view of the Papeete Port. A large cruise ship was docking on the Paqu Dock next to the marina.

This year, there have been more cruise ships visiting French Polynesia than ever before. The “tick box” locations are Bora Bora, Moorea and Tahiti.
Over the Easter holiday between Sunday April 21st and Monday April 29th, five “Grand capacity” cruise ships with more than 2000 passengers on board, arrived in the Port of Papeete. These large cruise ships are floating cities. There were also a number of smaller cruise ships visiting the port, some of which are based in Tahiti.

Prior to the Easter splurge of cruise ship passengers, the Minister of Tourism headed a meeting with representatives from all the organisations involved with the cruise ship industry to ensure that the hosting was successful. There were a lot of people at the meeting. It seemed like every top official from Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea was there as well as representatives from all the town organisations. It was a gathering to behold.

So, before the passengers purchase their pearls and souvenirs.

Or are entertained by musicians and dancers.

Or take an excursion around the island

Think of all the people who made their visit possible.
The Port authority employees whose tugs and pilot boat bring the ships into port, with line handlers to take the lines.

Customs and immigration clearance before anyone can step ashore.

Reprovisioning of supplies and refuelling.

Waste removal and cleaning .

Security, traffic policing.

The coaches and taxis.

There are the floral decorators who make the town look bright and welcoming.

Then of course there’s all the administration that goes on behind the scenes.

I’m sure the cruise ship passengers enjoy their experience. No doubt the tourist industry profits from their visit and help to boost the economy.

Street Artist in action.

The last few days have been hot and sunny in Tahiti and I am optimistic that the improvement in the weather heralds the end of the cyclone season. The last few weeks however, held a mixed bag of hot humid weather, heavy rain, thunder, lightning, interspersed with some cloudless sunshine.
Spare a thought for Fintan Magee a famous Australian Street artist.

He was tasked was creating a massive street mural on the side of a block of flats overlooking a car park in Papeete. With what must have been months of preparation, the first brushes of paint were applied to the wall around the 14th March right in the midst of the foul weather.

The artist worked long hours every day until the mural was finished.


When I asked him what was the theme of his mural, he said “Love”
The project was completed with Fintan Magee’s signature on the 21st March. I hope he was pleased with the results. I thought it was rather amazing.
How blessed we are in Tahiti, to have such dedicated artists, who create all these wonderful masterpieces for everyone to enjoy.