Best travel portal on the web featuring best travel sites, travel packages, travel guides, travel tips, weekly travel newsletter, travel webcams, and much more!
September 9, 2010

Home * Travel Deals * Website of the Week

Webcams * Travel News

WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                    Tahiti

HOUSE KEEPING: Remember when you click on the pictures in "Where's Johnny Jet," they will open up in another window. Just click the "x"(close) in each picture to get back to the newsletter. This should alleviate complaints about closing Johnny Jet. Thanks again for your support, and remember: If you book trips on the web, please go through (It will save you money).

Join Our Mailing List

Web Resources

Page 1 | 2 | 3

Greetings! I hope you had a great holiday weekend. For those of you following me on Twitter, you know I've been all over the place including Tahiti, which I'm going to begin telling you about in full detail today and next week. We'll start with Papeete and its nearby attractions. Also this week: We sent Jerome Shaw on the Aranui 3 for a multi-week cruise on a cargo ship that makes stops to French Polynesia's remote islands.

We arrived into Faa'a International Airport at 6:40 p.m.--about 30 minutes late--so we just missed the sunset. The sun sets early in French Polynesia all year round--I think it fluctuates between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. They don't have jetways, so everyone has to walk down the airplane stairs and then walk a hundred yards or so to customs. One advantage of going down the open-air stairs is that you get a feel for the destination immediately. And who doesn't love feeling that warm, thick humid air?

The French Polynesian government really knows the importance of tourism, as they give passengers a warm welcome, unlike some other countries (ahem, the United States). Here it begins the moment you step into the arrivals area, where a local band is playing Tahitian music, followed by a couple of beautiful young Tahitian women handing each passenger a Tiare Tahiti gardenia (it goes behind the left ear if you're married, and behind the right ear for singles) as they get in line for passport control. Both passport control and customs weren't a chore, and I cleared within five minutes of stepping off the plane.

I didn't check bags, so I felt like a rock star walking through the exit as I was one of the first to do so. The arrivals area was packed with excited family members, lovers, and tour operators, all hoping the next person out was coming to see them. Every tour operator has a board with last names written down. Our group was listed with Marama Tours, and after getting lei'd I hit the ATM while waiting for the others.

TIP: Always print your itinerary and keep your documents handy just in case your tour operator isn't there--it happened to me last trip!

I grabbed some Central Pacific Francs (XPF) from the ATM. Currently, the conversion is US$1 = 92.5 XPF. If you want to take out the equivalent of US$100, then 9,254 XPF would be your magic number. The ATM spits out large Flintstone-like paper notes.

While waiting I also realized that my BlackBerry's T-Mobile international data plan didn't work. I could text and make phone calls, but I saved that type of communication until I got to my computer because emailing and Skype are much cheaper. FYI: My friend had an AT&T BlackBerry and her data plan worked--so be sure to get the right plan[How do you know what the right plan is?].

Tahiti is located in French Polynesia, which is almost exactly halfway between Australia and California. It is made up of 118 islands in five archipelagoes (island groups), each with its own character. Those five archipelagoes consist of the Society Islands, Tuamotu, Gambier, Australs, and the Marquesas. Most visitors go to the Society Islands, which are home to the popular destinations of Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora.

DID YOU KNOW: French Polynesia covers an area of 2,000,000 square miles, which is about the same as Europe, except here it's mostly water, not land mass? The actual land area is only 1,370 square miles.

The government is described as an overseas territory of the Republic of France, so naturally most people speak French, but the first language here is Tahitian, which is a dialect of French.

Here are some translations to help you get by:

  • ia orana (heeyah orah-na) hello
  • nana (nah-nah) good-bye
  • parahin (pah-rah-hee) farewell
  • ia orana ite matahiti api (ya orah-na itay mah-tahiti api) happy birthday/happy new year
  • fare (fah-ray) house
  • fare-moni (fah-ray-monee) bank
  • fare pure (fah-ray pu-ray) church
  • fare toa (fah-ray toah) supermarket
  • fare rata (fah-ray rah-tah) post office
  • fare ma'i (fah-ray mahi) hospital
  • tane = man
  • vahin = woman

  • Don't worry about any language barriers, because most locals also speak English, which makes sense because Americans are their number one visitors followed by the Japanese, Australians, and French. Tahiti relies on two major industries. As you probably guessed, the first is tourism, but did you know that pearling was the other?

    Most people who come to French Polynesia use Papeete as a jumping-off point. When they stay here it's usually for one night either because their plane arrived too late or they come in a day before setting off on a cruise. I really didn't know what the island of Tahiti was like because both of the previous times I've been here it was just for a few hours. But this time I spent more than 36 hours total on the main island. The whole population of French Polynesia is 259,596 inhabitants (2007 census), and 150,000 of those people live on the island of Tahiti.

    OK, put on your seat belt--I'm about to give you a lot of information: According to the last ethnic census, French Polynesia is made up of 66.5% unmixed Polynesians, 7.1% Polynesians with light European and/or East Asian mixing, 11.9% Europeans (mostly French), 9.3% Demis (mixed European and Polynesian descent), and 4.7% East Asians (mostly Chinese).

    The religion is broken down as follows: 54% are Protestant, 30% Catholic, 6% Mormon, 2% Seventh-Day Adventist, and 2% Buddhist and Confucians.

    Here's a good link to the History of French Polynesia.

    The average temperature in FP (French Polynesia) is 80 Fahrenheit or 27 Celsius, and the water temp is just about the same at 80 F / 26 C! No matter what time of year you visit, you should bring summer clothes, beachwear, and sportswear and boating clothes, all preferably in cotton. Some evenings might get cool, so bring something warm. We did not need to wear any of our light sweaters, but if you are on the lagoon side or on a boat, or maybe in the mountains, then you might need it. Most people wear sandals, sneakers, boat shoes, or no shoes at all. Bring lots of bathing suits, sunglasses, a hat, water shoes, sun block, and mosquito repellent (those suckers can get evil after the sun goes down). BTW: The restaurants are casual.

    The tap water is supposedly safe to drink only in Papeete and Bora Bora, but not in other places. We didn't take a chance--we drank bottled water everywhere. If you are planning on plugging in electronic devices, then bring an adapter for French-style plugs and pay attention to what voltage your device can handle--electricity is either 110 or 220 volts depending on the island and type of accommodation. Connecting to the Internet is not a problem at any of the hotels, but it can be expensive.

    Everyone wants to know how friendly the locals were, especially the French. The Tahitians are friendly, laid-back, and peaceful people. The French transplants I met were mostly hotel managers or chefs and they too were friendly, they just weren't as laid-back as the Tahitians. We did encounter a few French tourists. Some were very friendly and some weren't. I am sure it's the same impression the French get when they come to the U.S., and I think it's just people in general, nothing to do with race or nationality. Some people are cool, some aren't.

    1 | NEXT PAGE>>> | 3

    Copyright 2010 JohnnyJet, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    Pictures From

    The Trip






    Welcome Band


    Welcome Flower


    Welcome Sign


    Tahitian ATM


    Central Pacific Francs


    Getting Lei'd


    Funky Trees


    More Trees




    Another Church


    And Another Church


    Palm Trees


    Tiare Tahiti Gardenia Fields


    Friendly Locals


    Tahitians On The Beach


    Local Beer


    Grocery Store


    Black Sand Beaches





    This Newsletter is sent by permission only. If you wish to subscribe, unsubscribe or change your subscription at any time, please login HERE. If you have any questions or suggestions please send message addressed to

    Join Our Mailing List
    Johnny Jet

    Amy L. Scott
    AboutPublicityNewsletter ArchiveMy MomPhotogalleryContactBlogSuggestions