December 2011

Les Rolottes early eveningOne food experience we did not want to miss was a visit to Les Roulottes – the Papeete Food Night Market.  Street food dining has taken on a new flavour so to speak, in many cities including Vancouver.  From the days when street food meant only hotdogs, pizza or pretzels, the street cart program at least in Vancouver has encouraged a varied “gourmet” street dining experience  with carts at different locations throughout the city (Vancouver Foodie Tours Tastes Curbside Kitchen Food).

Papeete has its Roulottes. These are like the street carts we see in Vancouver but they are located in a large market area near the cruise terminal. There are tables to sit at and enjoy your meal.  The vendor who was recommended to us was said to serve "restaurant quality" foods.

Courtesy Tahiti TourismOn my previous South Pacific Dance Cruise we journeyed from Hawaii to French Polynesia. I flew home from Papeete the day we docked in Tahiti and had no opportunity to see around the island. This time I planned to spend  a couple of days in Tahiti before boarding the Ocean Princess to sail in the reverse direction - Tahiti to Honolulu. This would give me time to actually see something of the island of Tahiti.

Since I would be spending Christmas and Boxing day in Tahiti,  I chose the stunning Intercontinental Resort in Tahiti as my base for a three night stay. My cabin mate for the cruise was flying into Papeete the day before the cruise. Another friend who is a specialist in tours to Italy, booked a couple of nights in a bed-and-breakfast in  Papeete, and we planned to explore the island together.

The InterContinental Tahiti Resort is situated alongside the lagoon  and looks out aross the water to the island of  Moorea. The resort has two restaurants, Le Lotus and Le Tiare, and three bars, the Tiki Bar, Le Lotus Swim-Up Bar and the Lobby Bar.  The Spa is called the Deep Nature Spa – but I don’t think I will have time to try it.

Island map from TahitiTraveller.comThe first word in French Polynesia is - French. So how did I so badly ignore that very important fact. If I had been planning to travel to France i would have packed my travel adaptors and brushed up on my French but somehow, it escaped me that the electrical outlets in Tahiti would be based on European not North American standards. Naturally none of my plugs fitted so to recharge my laptop battery I had to get an adaptor. The friendly Francophone guest services man came up with one - but when I plugged it in my poor little laptop was buzzing - literally. I  hope I am not frying its poor little insides. Anyway next day I bought a better adaptor and the buzzing stopped.

arriving in Papeete, TahitiTwo years ago I cruised from Honolulu to Tahiti with Dancers at Sea, on the Pacific Princess - South Pacific Dance Cruise.  To reverse the cruise that I did in November 2009, I decided to dance in the New Year of 2012, on board the Ocean Princess, this time journeying from Tahiti to Honolulu.

Rather than fly from Vancouver to Tahiti and then Honolulu to Vancouver, I opted for a return ticket to Honolulu where the cruise terminates, an overnight in Honolulu at each end ( so we can attend a dance in Hawaii at the end of our cruise), and a one-way flight from Honolulu to Papeete, to pick up the cruise.

The Air Canada flight to Honolulu was scheduled to leave at a convenient time – 2:30 and get into Honolulu early evening.

The cruise itineraryFor 11 days as 2011 gives way to 2012, I am cruising from Tahiti to Honolulu on the Ocean Princess, with  my dance-crazy friends from the Dancers at Sea travel group. My vacation begins with an overnight in Honolulu and a flight to Tahiti where I will stay a few nights at the Intercontinental Resort before the cruise.

This post is the index to the South Pacific Ballroom Dancing New Year Cruise Travelblogue.

Links will become active as the stories are added.

INDEX:

Vancouver-Honolulu-Papeete

The Islands of French Polynesia

Three Nights in Tahiti

Circle Tour of Tahiti

Embarcation Day

Clara and soldiers from the 2010 Goh Ballet Nutcracker. The Nutcracker,
A Goh Ballet Production
Choreographer Anna-Marie Holmes
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Vancouver Opera Orchestra
Conducted by Leslie Dala
The Centre for  Performing Arts
Dec 15 to 18, 2011

Vancouver, BC: The Nutcracker has been a Christmas tradition for ballet companies all over the world for many years.  I remember way back as a child in Cape Town, being enthralled by the music and the fantastic visions on stage. That was an early event that led to my lifelong love of dance. Vancouver's Goh Ballet has established a tradition of its own with this year's show being the third  production of this version of the ballet. It has been a while since I have seen The Nutcracker, but it has lost none of its charm for me.  This production sparkled and I loved every minute of it.

The Relativity scenarioMath Out Loud
Written and directed by Mackenzie Gray
with additional material by Roger Kemp
Producers  Dale Hartleben and Roger Kemp
Choreography Joel Sturrock
Music  by Mackenzie Gray, Joe Docherty,  Sayer Roberts.
Frederick Wood Theatre, UBC
Dec 14, 2011

Vancouver, BC. Lining the wall alongside the staircase in the house where my kids grew up were prints by M. C. Escher, a Dutch graphic artist whose drawings of infinite staircases, morphing shapes and distorted geometry are instantly recognizable.

the foie gras parfaitHawksworth Restaurant
801 West Georgia St.,
Vancouver, BC
Ph: (604) 673 - 7000 or Reserve Online

Hawksworth on Urbanspoon

slow cooked short ribsBefore going to see La Cage aux Folles at the Vancouver Playhouse, I was invited to dinner at Hawksworth. Although it had been on my "must visit" list for a while, this was my first opportunity to dine here and I was looking forward to it.

We both decided on appetizers and an entree, self-righteously planning on not having dessert. Although that plan did not last much past our first look at the dessert menu. 

Adam Charles, John Mann, Terra C. MacLeod, and Shane Snow.  Photo by David Cooper.Blood Brothers
Book, Music and Lyrics by Willy Russell,
Directed by Bob Frazer and Sara-Jeanne Hosie
Musical director Sasha Niechoda
Arts Club Theatre Company
Granville Island Stage
to Dec 31st, 2011

Vancouver, BC:  Five years ago I saw a London West End production of Blood Brothers (Blood Brothers - a Heartbreaker). It is one of the shows that has stuck in my memory for its evocative staging ... and the story. Over the years, I have read numerous twin studies which looked at  "nature versus nurture"  through examining long term outcomes when twins are separated at birth. In Blood Brothers,  Russell imagines such a situation where one twin is brought up in poverty and the other in affluence, with fatal consequences for both.

Courtesy Tahiti TourismOur first stop, a mere 15 miles  and 3 hours sailing away from Papeete, was the island of Moorea.

On my previous visit to Moorea, I drove around parts of the island and visited one of the resorts. The islands of French Polynesia.

This time I signed up in advance for one of the Princess excursions. It was described as a lagoon trip to a beach on a motu (island) with a beach  barbecue.

Despite dancing till 11 Pm the previous night and falling asleep easily, I slept very fitfully. I thought I would be exhausted and just pass out, but I guess I was a bit anxious about that nasty cut on my toe and whether it would be affected by the salt water, since I would hopefully be swimming in the beautiful blue waters surrounding the island.  

We anchored in Cook’s Bay, and passengers were taken ashore in tenders. Our excursion to the lagoon for swimming and a beach barbecue, was a whole day one, and we had only had to assemble at 8:45 so that meant a little less rush in the morning. Margaret had also signed up for this excursion.

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