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World Tour6 – Tahiti and Los Angeles

February 27, 2007

Tahiti, as a replacement for Fiji, was always planned as the relaxing part of the holiday.

There was a slight delay at the airport as they (Tahiti Nui Travel) hadn’t been informed of our arrival.

Reception Intercontinental PapeeteThe Intercontinental (Papeete) was a very short drive from the airport. All the blocks were 3 storeys high and reception at road level was at the top, with lovely views west over the pools.

Our room was a garden view room, much cheaper than the over-water bungalows, and View from hotel roomon the ground floor in a block just to the north of the main reception/dining block. The patio doors opened onto a small veranda overlooking lawn and flowering bushes to a sea lagoon. The furnishings were a bit quaint; lots of natural wood, which we like.

The room cleaning service was excellent. All the staff were cheerfully polite and helpful but the bar and dining room staff were often disorganised. The evening entertainment was good and varied. The food was excellent but with the same menu for lunch and dinner every day.

We spent 4 or 5 days doing nothing much except swimming, reading, sunbathing and drinking wine or cocktails by the pool. On the last full day we decided to take a taxi into Papeete (the capital town) for some shopping and sight-seeing. The traffic, as noted in guide books, is awful but a walk on the promenade along the lines of huge yachts and cruisers is very pleasant.

Papeete marketStrolling around the market, complete with Christmas decorations in late January, filled an hour or so but the humidity and temperature were high and I was beginning to suffer.

The 3 BrasseursWe had had a drink at a pavement table at The 3 Brasseurs (Brewers) earlier so we went back there and had a meal in their air-conditioned dining room. I had one of their specialities: a bowl of fries with a huge bowl of mussels in their shells along with a half litre of one of their home-brewed beers.

Lovely!

Next day, a flight to LA. Busier than we expected, due to a large number of Americans who had come from the Paul Gauguin cruise ship.

The Beverly Hilton hotel is one of several Hilton hotels in LA. So, having been dropped off at the Hilton LAX by the airport shuttle bus, we then got a taxi to the one we should have gone to.

The weather was sunny and warm for the start of February, but nowhere near as warm as we had become used to. And we didn’t have much in the way of warm clothes for the evening.

The hotel, as you might expect, was rather plush though finding somewhere to smoke was even harder in LA.

We walked down to Rodeo Drive in the evening, looked in the windows of the biggest range of expensive retail outlets in the world (probably), topping it off by browsing in Tiffany jewelers which was open late. We ate at 208 Rodeo Drive, then staggered back to the hotel. Not only was I more drunk than Sue but I was also feeling the cold more and vehemently swearing about it all the way back.

Farmers market Los AngelesThe next morning we walked a mile or two east along Wilshire Boulevard to the Farmers’ Market. Built about 80 years ago, it’s now a very popular meeting, shopping and eating place. The choice of food from the hundreds (I exaggerate only a little) of cafes and food stalls was mind-boggling. Fresh fruit and vegetables, clothing, arts and newsagents shops completed the huge complex. Oh, and a colourful tram which ran through and around it.

99 cent storeBack at the main road, we couldn’t resist browsing in the 99c store. We’re used to pound shops in the UK but, here, everything was the equivalent of 50p. We found a few things to buy but I’m sure, if we lived in the area, Tesco’s would lose some of our custum to this shop.

Tramp in LAWhile waiting for a bus afterwards, Sue took photos of a couple of homeless men. Here’s one of them, half asleep in the bus shelter, leaning on his shopping trolley of belongings, topped with sheets of cardboard. Notice how many layers of clothing he’s wearing.

After the bus dropped us off at Santa Monica beach we saw more homeless people, bedding down on the grass roadside or pushing trolleys or pushchairs along.

We had a drink in the Red Lobster, overlooking the pier, then a meal. The best steak I can ever remember.

Next morning, flight number ten back to Heathrow by British Airways. The end of our best ever holiday.

[To the young woman in the car beside our bus in the traffic jam who was taking photos of me: why? ]

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