Gardening the Tahitian way.

Papeete, on the island of Tahiti, is the small capital city of French Polynesia.

Five years ago when we first arrived in Tahiti on board our yacht Shiraz, our first port of call was to the Papeete harbour. We took one look at the rickety pontoons, noted the road noise, general scruffiness and lack of greenery and moved on. We sailed out of town to the Marina Taina.

Since then the Papeete seafront named “Boulevard Pomare” has under gone a transformation.

The smart Papeete marina with a landscaped promenade was built three years ago.

However, the shopping area across the road from the marina was still a dusty, noisy and unpleasant place to be. This was mainly due to the heavy volume of traffic using the Boulevard Pomare, the main road into Papeete.
The inside lane was used for busses, taxis and as a general drop off area for cars.

In January 2018 a long stretch of the bus lane was fenced off. Then the diggers and construction workers arrived and started to rip up the road.

Slowly areas were developed into an urban garden.

Palm trees were erected and held in place with ropes.

Decorative paving was laid down.

Thatched rest huts were built.

Areas were landscaped using plants rocks and wood features.

The construction work continues but a large stretch of the walkway was unveiled at the weekend, eight months from the start.

It might not have reduced the traffic flow but I think creating this garden boulevard has made a huge improvement. It’s attractive, green and absorbs much of the traffic noise.

Many more projects are proposed at the port and Marina area. I look forward to seeing them materialise.

Heiva fever

We’ve just had the Heiva – Tahiti 2018 competition. The highlight of the year as far as Polynesian dancing goes.

The competition was held in the Place To’ata in Papeete, Tahiti.

Hundreds of people were involved. Groups from around French Polynesia had been training to perfect their dance movements for months.

Rehearsal time in the Place To’ata

It was not just the dancing that was awesome.

The music, choreography and the costume designs were wonderful too.

So many hours had been dedicated by each team member and their families, to produce a mesmerising and enthralling spectacle.

Competition was fierce, I would hate to have been one of the judges.

The heats were held on eight separate evenings over several weeks. Each event started in the dark at 6pm and finished at 11pm.

I went to two of the evening events, the latter being the lauréats or first prize winners.

Heiva is for the Polynesian people but tourists are welcomed . Tourists will always be the quiet observers and should feel honoured, to embrace the flamboyant fever of Heiva.

Wheelies.

Noise, dust and polluting fumes are the result of the constant traffic jams along the promenade road in Papeete, Tahiti. It’s a recognised problem which has no solution.

On special occasions such as sports events, the police block off the road to motorised vehicles allowing recreational use to the public.

Road closed by the police, even to the Roulotte trucks.

Sunday was a pollution free day for families to enjoy. People of all ages arrived with their bicycles, trikes, scooters, skateboards, rollerskates…

The road sloping down through the underpass was most popular with the teenagers but small children and grandparents tested it out too.

The latest craze.

It’s good to see people having fun and showing courteous respect to one another to avoid injuries.

What a pity the road can’t be closed every Sunday.

Going bananas.


I thought it might be a bit of fun to pop along to the banana and breadfruit festival at the Tahiti cultural centre. It was well advertised.


I remember with affection attending my local village fete. Arch rival allotment gardeners fought for the biggest marrow title, accusing each other of cheating. Not to mention the dramas over the cake and floral competitions.

Moving forward. On arrival at the banana and breadfruit festival, I noted that there was a paramedic on duty. She was surrounded by all the medical equipment including a defibrillator. Crikey this could mean war.

Paramedic ready for action. And erm a sleeping dog. Sniffer dog may be?

I looked around and spotted lots of bananas.

Different types of bananas.
Different types of bananas. Again.

And breadfruit.

Different types of breadfruit.

And a chef.

Not sure they were cooking anything actually.

There were a few people watching a film about breadfruit being cut down from a branch.

I received some small bags of something. I was told it was pineapple. What relevance is that?

Pineapple somethings.

My French isn’t great. I think I missed something.

Strike

Honest hard working people are angry in French Polynesia. First they had a protest march through Papeete. Now they are out on strike in true Tahitian style.

Striking postal workers staying relaxed.

Why? Well the government has upped the pension age and reduced the pension. I empathise as I have to wait 6 years longer to get my UK pension.

Most of the striking workers enjoyed sitting in the sunshine snacking on food from one of the many Takeaways.

Hungry work being on strike.

The police were out in force. They had some traffic control duties but the roads were quiet. Most people chose to stay away, were on strike or both.

Out in force.

Many of the potential trouble makers opted for a beer in the shade whilst discussing their predicament.

Discussing strike options in the heat of the day.

I hope the situation will be resolved soon but with two determined bodies of people, this could go on for a while.