Our flight from Fakarava back to Papeete took us first to Rangiroa, so we got a glimpse of this atoll as well, before we continued to Papeete. Since we were warned by fellow travelers that restaurants close early, we rushed into the center around 06:30 pm and found a ghost town. Everything was closed, shops, businesses and we could not find a bar or restaurant.
We walked along the waterfront expecting this to be the hot spot in town, but the main attraction were three gigantic cruise ships in the harbor. There, finally we came across a few places that were open, but most oft them sleazy looking. At the only decent place we had a “flammenkueche”, a Flemish dish, made of thin crispy dough sprinkled with cheese, French wine and mineral water from Germany.
Neither of the building we passed was particularly impressive, most of them rather faded. From what we have seen nothing justifies the hype about this town except maybe the scenic high green mountain in the background.
We spent again the night at Chez Myrna, a family run bed and breakfast with kitchen use, tucked away in a side street, two kilometers from the center. With 52 Euros for a double room with shared bath, it is a bargain in this corner of the world! The owner offers pickup service to and from the airport for 13 Euros one way, a lot less than a taxi. Unfortunately many flights arrive late at night in Papeete so you can hardly avoid spending a night there. We figure the ideal trip would be to arrive in the morning and leave in the evening.
Property prices in Papeete simply blew our minds when we window shopped at a local real estate agent: a 95 square meter apartment sells for 1.6 million Euros and a beautiful house with sea view and 900 square meters of property for 8 million Euros. At this point we really wondered how much all these students from the many islands, who are attending school in Papeete, pay for their boarding: most islands only have elementary schools and for any education above that, the kids have to move to Papeete.