Saturday, October 5, 2002

Sheraton Moorea Lagoon Tahiti Birthday 2002

Incredibly gorgeous - we are in a OW Sunset view Bungalow
Ia Orana and welcome to our last day in paradise....
At this moment.. I am face to face with the Onehuo Bay framed by Moorea's sculptured mountains as I sit on our overwater bungalow deck. The sky is pink with hues of sunrise, rays of light are dancing on the water's surface and I could not pick a more incredibly beautiful place to spend our final morning in these scented isles. Writing about all of this crystallizes it in my mind... the color, the beauty, the fragrant flowers.
When we left Tikehau yesterday, it was a rainy day with flat ocean surrounding our motu in the Atoll of Tikehau. There were many departures and we filled the tiny little airport to overflowing once we all arrived by boat and van. In a short 3 days we have made several friends that we enjoyed chatting with at the airport. For some reason, they like to get you to the airport well over an hour in advance. We were thinking that 30 minutes would be more than adequate. No worries.... it gave us time to say our farewells, exchange email addresses and cards and watch the video we had taken. The band boys at Tikehau were incredible with Ukulele that sounded like a mandolin with the fastest fingers in the South Pacific (the review of Tikehau will be posted after this one). The Band Boys were also the airport baggage assistants so we talked in sign language (neither knew the other's language) and they bestowed upon us many more shell leis. In Tahiti, it is traditional to receive a flower lei on arrival... and a shell lei on departure. In the culture here, the goal is to weigh you down with shell leis when you depart. Susan and I were not weighed down but we had about 8 shell leis each. In comparison to Hawaii.... sad farewells can find someone buried to their eyeballs with flower leis. It has been a delightful experience for Susan and I to compare our own islands of Hawaii and their culture to these beautiful french polynesian islets and their culture.
Our flight was on Air Tahiti (I love their planes) with very nice flight attendants and cabin service (on flights over 30 minutes). I hadn't had a coke for days so I purchased one .... with ice! As we moved away from the Tuamotu island group, the skies cleared and the slick calm ocean below gave a hint of things to come. Just a few minutes from Papeete, Tahiti... I noticed a very inviting Atoll. Upon landing and checking in to Air Moorea to fly to our final destination of the day, Moorea, I found out that the inviting Atoll was none other than Tetiaroa, Marlon Brando's island. In my normal travel agent way.... I picked the woman's brain for pricing, how do you get there, is there air conditioning (ha!) and... is there electricity. It looks like a real unique polynesian experience with no creature comforts.... perfect perfect perfect white powder sand and nature (au sauvage). Our puddle jumper to Moorea lasted all of 6 minutes and we were greeted by Winston.... who speaks all languages but English (we have run into much of this). It turns out they really know enough english to understand and relay important information. We hijacked Winston to take us shopping at the "White House" which is the coolest little shop on Moorea if you like curios, and an incredible array of pareos. Susan and I have been on this Pareo thing for the last few days. The materials here are so colorful and vibrant that we have been envisioning ourselves remaking our wardrobe.... in essence... transforming ourselves into polynesian beauties! Well... we can dream about it anyway! We both love clothes with "MOI" winning the prize for diversity in purchasing.
Upon arrival yesterday, at the Sheraton Moorea Lagoon Resort, we enjoyed cool damp towelettes, pineapple juice, a nice fresh flower lei (delivered by a very tattooed gentleman). We were taken to our Overwater Bungalow #95 with sunset view. After a brief review of the room amenities, we headed off to get acclimated to the hotel. The Boutique visit was exciting as we saw some good options for fashion consumption today. Te Mana from Tahiti and TAV from the Cook Islands. Susan and I are already the proud owner of many TAV dresses and pareo but you can never get too much of a good thing (I think!). We enjoyed a cocktail at the bar that lives out on the boardwalk that leads to all overwater bungalows. We thought this was an extremely insightful fine touch not only because of the convenience but .... it is the only one we have seen in all of our travels here. We then went to Mandara Spa to arrange for the services we would enjoy today. Susan is going to enjoy The Exotic Island Facial and Natural Aromatic Hair Bath. I am going to die and go to heaven with The Moorea Indulgence which is 2 1/2 hours of the ultimate pampering. It begins with a Moana footbath, followed by a vanilla body wash and exotic coconut body scrub. Then I will relax in an aromatic Jacuzzi bath while I am served ginger tea and fresh fruit. The experience will end with a full 1 hour body massage and mini facial. I have asked them to throw in a little Heaven and Earth (why not) which is called Ra'i e Fenua, a combination of reflexology that focuses on the head and feet. We will enjoy these today before we have a quick bite to eat and head off to the airport for our 8:30pm flight. The red eye back to Hawaii.
The Sunset was enjoyed on our overwater deck with fresh pineapple daiquiris. I could not resist a quick dip off of our deck. The water is not deep enough to dive and has a fair amount of coral which can be a bit challenging for a good swim. My version of "a swim" is the breast stoke and floating on my back so it all worked out okay. The colors of the sunset were the best we had seen so far on the trip and the scene was delightful with the mountains coming alive with sunset hues. We went up to the bar to listen to the band boys (they have such incredible musicians here) and met 14 year old Gertrude who played the one string base and sang in the band (her brother is the band leader). Cute beyond words, she came over to introduce herself and giggled continuously as she asked us 1,000 questions and exclaimed how much she loved to speak english. What a doll! Dinner was served with tropical flair... the presentation and flavors fantastic. The menu at dinner was inviting and the deserts that kept coming by our table made us change our minds ever few minutes about how we were going to end our last dinner in Tahiti. We decided on the trio of creme brulee.... pineapple, vanilla and coconut. Mmmmmm yum!
Let me explain our room to you. The fabric used in the interior is ordinary (they did not consult me before they did their buying!) but there are some other fine touches that are unique and very very enjoyable. There is no glass table top - only a 2X6 piece of glass on the floor with the most magnificent fish viewing. There is a lot of live coral here and fishes that are varied, colorful and the best we have seen in the whole 2 weeks we have been in Tahiti. The king bed is very comfortable but the pillows leave some room for improvement. I would most definitely order the goose down pillows from the "pillow menu". You can order pillows for no additional cost. There are all sorts of pillows for neck and back "issues" so if you have special pillow needs... you HAVE found your island in the sun... Okay, the bathroom. There are wooden blinds that open so the bathroom and bedroom almost become one. The claw foot tub has YOUR name on it (at least it did ours) and Susan and I have both taken our turns lavishing in the bathroom tub ambiance. There are a lot of dark woods and you almost feel like you are on a ship (luxury yacht of course!). Behind the sink is a little glass shelf you can see the lagoon below and open to view or feed fish. There are also louvres you can open for even more lagoon viewing - while you brush your teeth.
You are equipped with snorkel gear in the room (although beach towels must be obtained at the beach shack). All rooms have Air conditioning. We have not site inspected the other rooms but we did site inspect the CANOE BREAKFAST. It is a perfect setting to enjoy it. The canoe breakfast here comes with tahitian marinated raw fish. Stay tuned as we are going to find out if this can be altered based on personal preference..
Today we are renting a car and driving to the dress shop that we ordered 3 dresses (picked our material and were fitted) while we were in Moorea on the Paul Gauguin. Then we will proceed to visit the Moorea Beachcomber to site inspect and then go on the Dolphin Quest shallow water experience. Then it is pearl shopping and back to the hotel to enjoy our spa services. We have our day cut out for us.
Until the final review and other insights.... we remain.... in the magical isles of French Polynesia.Melissa and Susan