I’ve never written much about Tahiti and that’s really an oversight because I’ve been there five or six times and enjoyed it very much.
Tahiti is the main island of French Polynesia and is the location of the capitol city, Papeete (pa-pa-EH-tay). Tahitian is the main language, with French also almost universally spoken.
I made several trips there because my advertising agency had several hotels there as clients. I also traveled there with my wife and daughter on another occasion.
On one of those trips, I was escorting six travel writers on what is known as a “fam trip” . . . a familiarization trip . . . first to the Hotel Tahara’a on Tahiti and then on to the island of Bora Bora to see the Hotel Bora Bora.
The trip is a “freebie” for the writers, the unwritten agreement being that each writer would produce an article on each of the hotels and that their stories would be as favorable as the writer could make it without misleading readers.
One of my first memories of those islands was when I first saw a young Tahitian boy climb a coconut tree. The kid tied a T-shirt between his ankles and hopped up a coconut tree in a matter of seconds, the cloth helping to grip the rough trunk of the tree. There is an annual competition for this sport in which the use of a T-shirt is not allowed.
The second was my first taste of the Tahitian pomplemousse, which we know as a grapefruit . . . except that the Tahitian fruit is much larger than the grapefruit we buy at our local Safeway. I’ve seen some almost the size of volleyballs . . . so big, in fact, that a side fruit salad I ordered in the dining room at the Hotel Bora Bora was one section of a pomplemousse on a bed of lettuce.
Hawaiian Airlines has a weekly non-stop flight to Papaete from Honolulu and several other airlines have non-stops from Los Angeles.