Saturday, February 28, 2015

Does it get any better?

Bora Bora is amazing. As if the other islands were not spectacular enough, this one is over the top perfect. We are back at the Intercontinental chain again and we can't recommend these properties enough. Both have been beautiful and the service wonderful. We chose a beach bungalow this time which is perfect because you have your own personal beach space and lagoon access as well views of the overwater bungalows. And an ocean and beach view from the bedroom.

Our arrival here was a little late as the plane from Huahine was two hours delayed. I'm not sure how they get so far behind just flying from island to island but it resulted in us spending three hours in the Huahini "airport" which is really just one big room with a snack bar, ticket counter and a small shop. New to us from America is the fact that there is no security at the Huahine airport. They take your checked bags like normal. There is a sign stating what you can't bring on your carry-on, but no one checks and there is no x-ray of you or your bags. Heck, they didn't even check Jerry's passport before giving him his boarding pass. So, obviously, there is no secure vs unsecure area to wait in. You can even leave the airport while waiting. Not that there is anywhere to go. 

Anyway, finally arrived on Bora Bora after a 25 minute flight! The airport is on a motu so you get taken by boat to your hotel. By the time we got checked in and had time to walk around it was almost sunset. But it was spectacular. 

Today we took a circle island tour by boat which included swimming with sharks, feeding and interacting with stingrays, snorkeling in the coral gardens and finally a snack on a small island with a scenic overlook. We then took a pleasant swim in the lagoon outside our bungalow and dinner at the famous Bloody Mary's where they have a list of all the celebrities who have eaten there painted on the sign out front. 

Here a few shots of the view from our bungalow. 

Now time for a good night of sleep!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Paradise part two

The next leg of our journey is on quiet Hauhine. This is a totally different experience than on Tahiti. There is really nothing touristy on Huahine. It's very rural and very quiet. But very tropical and beautiful. 

Our "resort" here is the Lapita village which is many bungalows set in gardens and around a lake. It's very peaceful and beautiful, especially if you love flowers and plants. 

There is also a restaurant which served pretty much the best food on this island so far. There is also a beach with some nice views and swimming. 

You can walk the beach into town which is tiny but has a supermarket if you need supplies and a few places to eat. The first night we met a couple from Switzerland and ate dinner with them at one of the restuarants which was really fun. 

Yesterday we relaxed at the beach and then did a horseback ride along the beach and through the lake. 

There is no public transportation on Huahine so if you want to see the rest of the island you must book a tour or rent a car. Renting a car is nice because you can make it a customized tour and is less expensive than booking a tour, BUT all the cars are manual transmission. I've never driven one and Jerry has not driven one in quite some time. But, he managed, and it was only scary a few times. We saw many beautiful views-the ocean/lagoon colors here are indescribable. We did some snorkeling, visited a pearl farm, and enjoyed the quiet beaches. Many better pictures to come when we get home!

Tomorrow afternoon we head to Bora Bora for the last leg of our journey. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Welcome to paradise

The first stop on our trip is the main island of Tahiti. This is where the international airport is so we decided to stay a few days here. Getting here is a little bit of a nightmare if you don't sleep well on planes. We left Springfield about 1:00 Friday. Then we flew to Dallas, and then to LA. Sadly, because we had to change airlines we needed to collect our bags, wait an hour for our ticket station to open, wait in line to check in again, repeat security (which is a much longer line in LA than in Springfield where there was no line) and then wait for our midnight flight.

The Air Tahiti gates at LAX are kind of in the basement and when it's time to board they bus you way out of the main terminal to where you hope there is a plane and not the beginning of a kidnapping of a bunch of very disappointed people. But there was a plane and we must give kudos to Air Tahiti who not only didn't charge for checked bags but provided a number of amenities at no charge including dinner and breakfast on the flight over. As I said the flight was at midnight and is 8 hours, giving us an arrival time in Tahiti at 6:00 AM local time for a full day of adventure. But if you did not sleep well on the plane, it can be a bit rough for that full day of adventure. 

However, despite the 22 hours of travel, it was worth it. This is the view from the lobby of our resort. 

We stayed at the Intercontinental Tahiti and it really is amazing. The resort is beautiful and natural and surprisingly quiet and uncrowded. Plenty of open chairs and pools have never been crowded. There is even a lagoonarium for fish viewing and snorkeling. And everyone is very friendly and helpful. 

Yesterday morning and early afternoon we spent in the main town shopping and looking around. It's not big, but there is a market of local crafts and foods and a pearl shop on every corner. The pearls are stunning, but so are the price tags! Yes, you can get one that is inexpensive, but it will not be the ones they show in the brochures. Some of the necklaces we looked at were more expensive than our trip! But I did find something to my liking in an acceptable price range. The rest of the afternoon we enjoyed the pools and watched the sun set.  

Today we had planned a little scenic hiking but the place we were going is closed for landslides. So we have opted to just enjoy the beautiful resort all day instead. 

Here are a few photos from our phones and iPad. I have many more good ones on the actual camera and will post those when we get home. 

We splurged a bit here and chose the overwater bungalow. This is not ours but was taken from our deck. It's really neat, if you go here you must spend at least one night doing this. Although the lagoon here is not as clear and calm as some of the other islands this worked into our schedule better. 
Sand bottom pool

Same pool with swim-up bar

Friday, February 20, 2015

House pets

Wednesday was not just a snow day, but the weather was bitter cold.  So, no playing outside.  Instead I played around with some pics I had taken around the house this week.

Lyric seemed much happier having her picture taken inside.

 This is my current favorite effect in Photoshop.  It's called cutout.  And I added in the background for extra color and cuteness.

Zodiac does lots of resting these days.  But to his credit he had done a lot of running in the snow earlier in the day.

And here are the kitties, when they are not being naughty.

OK, a little big naughty
And if all goes as planned, the next pictures you see from me will be of sunny French Polynesia!  Bye-bye winter...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Snow play

These are more pictures from Tuesday.  I tried to get some action shots this time.  Some of these of Legend and Shea are hilarious!

Love this one-Shea gets what's coming to her!

I like this one too-Legend is just closing her eyes and bracing for the blow.  Shea looks like she's screaming in Legend's ear. 

Another one like before-Shea says "HEY!"

I did get a few cute of Legend "posing."

 And a few more of Shea-but I did have to put the other dogs inside to get these because she won't stop herding!

And lastly a few of the littler kids.