Tahiti – July 7 – 9

As I write this, Mark is down on his sore knees in the engine
room trying to fix our water pump that suddenly stopped working
this morning. Having no water on the boat is about as bad as
having a broken toilet – so it is pretty high priority for him
to fix it. Unfortunately our boat came with an Italian made pump
that came with no directions, so Mark has to get this worked out
on his own. Quite a challenge, and I am certainly no help at
all. We are anchored out in the harbor, having decided that
there was no advantage to moving into the marina – at least not
until our pump stopped working. We may try to move into the
marina tomorrow so we can at least use their showers and hoses
until this gets fixed. We have been to the town of Papeete a
few times now and we are not too thrilled with it. To get there
you catch “le truck” – one of a stream of badly driven and
rickety trucks that pick up passengers and take them between the
marina area and downtown Papeete. It is about a 20 minute drive
and the road is filled with cars and exhaust and it is a very
shabby looking place (except for the tourist resorts that we
drive by which do look very beautiful). The town of Papeete is
filled with shops and restaurants and entertainment of all
sorts, but we are not really that interested in all the hustle
and bustle -and there are just way too many cars. We had heard
that there were lots of activities going on this month in
celebration of Bastille Day, but the events we have seen so far
have been pretty threadbare – for example, the tourist guide
talks about multitudes of food stalls operating by the
waterfront, but they are just trucks selling very expensive,
very bad looking semi-Chinese food.

One of the pluses of being here is the terrific, huge grocery
store – one of the French Carrefour chain – just a few blocks
away, and we have already been there 4 times trying to stock up
on everything we can. They let you take the carts back to the
marina which is incredibly helpful. It is fun going there just
because we run into so many people we know. All the boaters are
doing a lot of shopping and it is pretty much impossible to walk
over there without running into at least 3 couples we know.
There are a ton of American boats here and most of them know
each other. We are definitely not in the “in group” here – since
we have spent most of our time on the trip so far with a handful
of boats which are all European, but we do recognize the names
of the American boats, and have at least met many of them at
some point along the way.

The Carrefour store is in a mall with several other stores
including a hairdresser – so we were finally able to get
haircuts. The hairdresser was good, but very very quick with the
scissors and I think my head looks a little too much like Daffy
Duck, but at least it is better than before. He went a little
scissor happy with Mark and proceeded to shear off almost all
his hair, plus most of his beard and mustache. I think it looks
good, but it does take some getting used to. It may be months
again before we get to treat ourselves to a “coiffeur” again.

Prices here are absolutely crazy. We passed by some fruit
vendors on our way to Papeete yesterday and they were selling
small watermelons for $15 each. We actually walked out of a
restaurant on the dock the other day when we saw the prices, and
even the local MacDonald’s sells their meals for about $10 each.
Cheap looking skirts in the mall sell for $60 and flip-flops
range from $15 to $40 – and I am not talking about fancy
designer styles either. Wine and beer are heavily taxed, and a
small bottle of coke is about $2.50. It is hard to imagine how
people can afford to live here. Even the fruit, which was almost
free in the Marquesas, is extremely expensive – several dollars
for a small bag of lemons.

Will keep you posted on our water situation…..