Monday, June 02, 2008

We are going back into the water shortly. The repairs are completed and the boat looks pretty good. We managed to clean her up and do some varnishing as well as get some welding done. Barry had a new connection for the boom vang made, it goes halfway around the mast, not all the way as he wished but hopefully it will hold better than the last 2 brackets have. He has to make more holes in the mast to connect it and he is not thrilled about that. We also had parts of the wind vane welded, a connecting strut had rusted and rather than just do a simple spot weld that may not have held, the struts are now welded to the vane so hopefully they won’t fall apart, knowing salt water and it’s corrosive actions I imagine it will go to work on a different part of the vane.
We had a SMALL part for the wind vane (I am talking 6 inches by 4 inches by 4 inches) shipped here. The part cost $90, the shipping $110, outrageous. Unlike Mexico you can get stufF shipped here it is just soooo expensive, unless you really need it you don’t bother ordering it.
Okay enough complaining did I tell you much about Papeete. It is a city of 170,000 people so it was a bit of culture shock the first time we came ashore after 2 months of being on the boat and going ashore in tiny villages. It has everything a city has, there are lots of traffic jams in the downtown area, the infrastructure has not kept up with the growth. The hotels in the downtown core are a bit seedy looking, needing a coat of paint and some upgrading of furnishings. Every third store downtown sells pearls, black, green, silver and shades of purple, they are gorgeous. There is a market that takes over a city block, inside there are all sorts of tourist treats, necklaces, fresh flowers which are made into wreaths for your hair, beautiful printed cloth that is made into clothing as well as coverups, palm fronds woven into hats and bags as well as fresh fruit, fresh fish and places where you can get baguette sandwiches (they are really good).
The women here are beautiful, the South Sea’s maiden come to life. There is a huge Chinese population here and the mixture of the 2 races, Polynesian and Chinese is often stunning. There is also an obvious French influence, the attitude just exudes from these women as they strut around in their long form fitting dresses with slits up to mid thigh and their high heels, it is all I can do to keep myself out of the stores, what do I need a dress like that for??? It helps that everything is “tres cher”! My limited French is coming in very handy and most times I can make myself understood. I find when in stressful situations though the words just fly out of my head. Most of the Americans here can not speak a word of French, so after Mexico where most Americans had a decent knowledge of Spanish, I feel vaguely superior in a linguistic sense.
Oh, I should tell you about the public transportation. It is called Le Truc and is a flat bed truck with bench seating down each side and a roof. The roof is not tall enough for you to stand up so you get in and hunch as you shuffle down the isle. There are usually only Polynesian people on board, no other white people unless they are other cruisers. The larger Truc’s have a extra bench seat down the middle and you straddle that seat and sit facing the front or back. The sides have half windows so you have some built in air-conditioning. The price per person is 130 francs or the equivalent of $1.50, this is a real deal and they run fairly often, every ten minutes or so. It is 45 minutes on Le Truc to get from downtown to marina Taina where we will anchor the boat once we get lifted in. At the marina you can dock your dinghy for free, there is free potable water and showers and there is a laundry, as well as good access to Le Truc, all any cruisers could really want. We haven’t made any plans on where we are going next but we will keep in touch.