French Polynesia – Travel Journal, Part 1 of 9

French Polynesia – Travel Journal, Part 1 of 9

This will be an 9 part journal series (maybe more).

Check back every 2 weeks or so for new French Polynesia journal entries.

I can’t believe I am ACTUALLY going to French Polynesia. To be honest, I had kinda placed French Polynesia on my list of places I will likely die before visiting. There are many reasons it felt so out of reach, none of which I feel compelled to share here.

The fact that it is during a global pandemic seems even more wild to me. We had to jump through many hoops to get here. Including getting random Covid tests every week to see if any of them would be returned to us within the SUPER SHORT turnaround time window we had. Only to realize, none of the places in our area would work and we would have to drive 2 hours away, 2 days before our flight for the Covid test that was required to boarded the plane. Proof of a negative Covid test within 48 hours of our flight was required to board the plane. To be honest, I am thankful for the rule. It made me feel safer knowing that every person on the plane was Covid free. 

We looked ridiculous on the plane. The face shields we wore were unbearable and made everything look like we were underwater.  Truth be told, we took them off once we got onto the plane, we couldn’t handle how bad they made our vision. 

Face covered, check! Hair covered, check! Hands covered, check!
Jolee took her gloves off because they were making her hands sweat and she promised she wouldn’t touch anything until after I cleaned it.
My friend Marina also joined us! So did her mom, who was seated in front of us and my other friend Rachael who was some rows behind us. PS, check out my epic forehead veins! ha ha hah They always pop out (literally) when I am straining, for example hauling a bunch of luggage and a backpack. lol

Anyway, we were off and 8 hours away from a place that I KNEW would take the prize of the most epic mother daughter trip that Jolee and I had ever been on together so far. Our friends who joined us also made the experience so much richer, they were a true joy.

Landing time!!! We arrived in the evening, so we weren’t able to see what Tahiti looked like from the sky yet. We would get to see it the next day though, when we left Tahiti for our long term island destination in French Polynesia.

When we arrived, we landed in Papeete, the place where ALL flights into French Polynesia land first. We made our way through customs, where we were each given a Covid-19 self test that we were required to perform and submit to our hotel host on the morning of day 4, tucked those away safely into our backpacks and then finally connected with our hotel host who drove us to her small, clean property located on a hillside.  To be honest, I didn’t invest too much into this accommodation choice because to me it was just a place to lay our heads for a night until we headed out to the place we really came for. I just needed it to be safe, clean and to have good reviews. This place met all of those expectations.

The next morning, we got dressed and made our way by foot to the Papeete market in search of breakfast and flower crowns. We made  wrong turn and ended up seeing way more of the urban areas than we bargained for but we eventually made it to the market after I pulled out my map. Note to self, maybe start with a map next time. ha ha

I was also on a major hunt to buy a baguette and FINALLY found one at this fancy little dessert shop. Ironically, its VERY difficult to find a place that will sell you JUST a French loaf in French Polynesia. You can find places on every corner that will sell you huge sandwiches made in the loaves but they wont sell you JUST the bread.

The market was loaded with vendor after vendor of GORGEOUS flowers and a whole side street was dedicated to flower crown vendors. It was overwhelming trying to pick our crowns but we finally did and they were PERFECT! They smelled AMAZING the ENTIRE trip, no joke.  They never lost their beautiful aroma. 

Flower crowns on our heads, we were now ready to make our way back to our hotel and be taken to the domestic airport, where we would board our plane to make our way to Rangiroa. A place literally like a natural aquarium and named the most beautiful and the richest site in the world by Jacques Cousteau. PS – He was right!!!

I had 2 accommodations lined up for us on Rangiroa. One small, cute and inexpensive, beach front accommodation and one luxurious overwater bungalow resort. I mean, we couldn’t go all the way to French Polynesia, the birth place of the overwater bungalow and NOT stay in an overwater bungalow.

Head over to part 2 to read about what happens next and check out our first accommodations on Rangiroa!  

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