French Polynesia 2001

French Polynesia 2001 Day 4: Bora Bora, Fashion Show

Wednesday June 13, 2001

To be honest, it is a bit difficult to put into words what I saw today, but I will do my best. We awoke to catch our 6:45am Taxi. Our driver today was Rene. He was a bit frazzled – apparently there was something big going on last night and he was up rather late. After the quick trip to Faaa Airport, he offered to be there to pick us up at the airport when we returned. Arriving at the airport we checked in with plenty of time on the clock. In fact, we ended up with more than an hour to kill in the terminal. We did get a chance to see rural French airport at its best. Just walk out the double doors, out on the pad, and get inside of the plane. Oh, and mind the propellers.

Leaving Tahiti for Bora Bora

As we waited, we pondered which of the activities we would do on Bora Bora. I had an underwater camera so I was convinced that no matter what we do, we should get some underwater photos of the Gorn. I was a tad bit nervous about the plane trip, but it actually was a smooth ride the whole way. As we approached Bora Bora, words escaped me. All the stories, all the myths about how beautiful it is are true. Our pilot circled the entire island and we got a good look and some pictures through the window. We had decided to take the boat into town and see what tours were offered, but at the last minute we decided to be impulsive.

Flying into Bora Bora

At the airport in Bora Bora, there were representatives of the Le Meridien Bora Bora waiting for some guests. We introduced ourselves and asked if it was possible to see the hotel. Huave (?) was kind enough to call her manager and ask if we could go. As she was calling ahead, we got really nervous because the last boat for Viatape had left before she hung up. If Le Meridien decided we couldn’t stay, we would be stuck at the airport for another 2 hours. Luckily, Christophe came through for us at the hotel and we were allowed passage. I taped most of the boat ride to remember it. It was phenomenal. The colors, the smell, the water, the people, everything was just right.

Bora Bora airport

Arriving at the Meridien, we were again awestruck. It was an amazing hotel. There was so much to offer and so much to do, all under the shadow of peaks on Bora Bora. Situated on a Motu, the Meridien is in one of the best beaches in Bora Bora. We met with Christophe and he welcomed us to his hotel. He asked us what we would like to do and he gave us some recommendations. We checked into the activity desk, and decided to hit the special Le Meridien lagoon and get some free snorkeling equipment and some towels. It was a tad difficult to rent stuff without a room number, but we just smiled and explained ourselves and eventually got what we needed.

The view from the Le Meridien to Mount Otemanu 
Josh and the Gorn relaxing in Bora Bora

After lathering up with suntan lotion, Roger and I changed into our trunks, donned the equipment, grabbed the Gorn and the Camera, and headed into the lagoon. Just a note – they were out of size 11 flippers, so Roger had to push me around in the pool on several occasions. We acclimated to the water and I took a few test photos with the camera and away we went. It was startling to see the first few fish just swim right up to you, but after a bit, you get used to it. I found swimming in the lagoon difficult after awhile due to the strong current, but I did manage to get some good shots. Roger and his flippers had a much easier time about it. After swimming and snorkeling, we relaxed on the beach for an hour or so. It was then time to grab a bite to eat.

The lagoon of the Le Meridien Bora Bora
Overwater bungalows with Mount Otemanu 
Josh in Bora Bora with Mount Otemanu in the background

The little snack café we ate at was by the pool at the hotel and man was it full of flies. The food was excellent (I had steak and fries), but it was a battle to keep the flies away and that got old really quick. Roger ended up with some nice sorbet to cap off a mostly good dining experience. After grub, I sent off my postcards and we did a circle tour of the hotel to wind up the remaining hour or so left at the hotel. Before we knew it, it was time to catch the boat back to the airport. I was pooped and ready to go back to Tahiti, but I was really sad that I only had a few hours to experience this place. I really think I could give up everything and retire to here. It probably wouldn’t be as special anymore, but I am sure it would still be beautiful.

One last wave at the overwater bungalows
Mount Otemanu recedes as we speed towards the airport

Arriving back in Papeete, Rene was there ready to pick us up. He was in much better shape having rested a bit and had a full day worth of fares. He entertained us with some interesting tidbits about his life including the purchase of a Rolls Royce for a friend and something about his relationship with the leader of Berlin (the band). When we arrived at the hotel, we discovered that there was a fashion show later in the evening. We had perfect seats from our balcony. I have no idea who designed the outfits or what type of show it was, but everyone seemed to be having a good time. It was then time to order some room service and hit the sack. Tomorrow is another full day visiting a different island. We’ll see if it is as memorable as Bora Bora. I only hope it is half as memorable as today was. If so, I’ll be completely satisfied.

Fashion Show at the Le Meriden Tahiti