Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sauces & Sunsets

Watching the sunset as evening set upon us was one of our regular activities. Nothing like seeing the sun sink below the horizon from your lounge chair on the beach. Such a peaceful time of day. On this particular day, I was relaxing in my floppy hat (thanks Lisa! wink). Kind of a goofy pic of me...

And Nate was checking out the outrigger canoe - could be the same one that brought us breakfast! One benefit of the resort was that they had free rentals of canoes and kayaks that you could take out on the water during the day.

The sun setting was normally our indication it was time to head in for the day and start getting ready for dinner. We'd typically be ready early enough that we could mix up some cocktails and start a game of Scrabble before we headed out...and finish it when we got back!

We were able to make reservations at any local restaurant--within reasonable driving distance--at the resort front desk. And, most of the restaurants had courtesy shuttles that picked us up from the resort. Score! razz

This particular evening we chose an Italian/French restaurant called Les Tipaniers. It was a romantic, thatch-roofed restaurant and we got a prime table on the patio.

Items on the menu included delicious pizzas with a variety of toppings and homemade pastas served with bolognese, carbonara, or seafood sauce. My eyes lit up when I saw a seafood pasta on the menu that was served with vanilla sauce. I couldn't decide if this sounded good or weird, but it was just so interesting and different, I had to try it.

Turns out it was quite tasty. The vanilla flavor wasn't too overpowering and it just added a richness to the dish that you don't experience with a typical cream sauce. We had a nice carafe of white wine with our meal and of course ordered our usual large bottle of water to share. Tap water was not safe to drink here, so bottled water was in order most evenings.

We both enjoyed this restaurant so much that we actually visited it again for dinner towards the end of our stay in Moorea.

Up next, our day exploring the island by rental car...


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Relaxing Days

On all three islands we stayed at the Intercontinental brand of resorts. They were very much first class in service, cleanliness, and activities....

And did I mention the expensive food prices? It wasn't just the Intercontinental alone, mind you. And not just food either. Everything in French Polynesia was pricey. So if you're planning a trip there, do save your pennies.

Nate and I quickly learned the secret to getting by on the cheap for breakfasts and lunches. There was a convenience store that was a very short walk from our resort--across the street from the resort entrance, in fact. We could place an order for fresh bread for mere nickels and dimes (a french baguette, chocolate croissants, etc.) at the convenience store and then go and pick up the bread the next morning. We'd grab some packaged lunch meat and cheeses, yogurt and the like, and walaa, instant meals! We also ventured down the road a bit on foot and visited a small grocery store, where we bought our own alcohol. Note to self: next time, pack booze! biggrin

These cool houses built into the hillside were right across the street from our resort.

And on the way to the grocery store, we came across these beautiful pink flowers (bougainvillea, perhaps?) covering this white picket gate, so Nate snapped a picture of me. It was pretty early in the day and already really warm.

Back at the resort, we checkout out the sand and sun. Our first couple days in Moorea were spent relaxing and soaking up the rays. It was always windy, so one would never get too hot....and if so, there was always water nearby!

Prior to the wedding I was always fantasizing about my definition of ultimate relaxation: reading my book on the beach. You can see my vacated lounge chair in the picture above--I was in heaven! It's all about the little things...

As I said, there was plenty of water and beach around the resort, so we had options. Lots of options...

While at the grocery store earlier in the day we purchased some orange juice to go along with our complementary champagne. Nothing like some late afternoon mimosas from our room balcony to add a little spice to the day. wink


Monday, February 16, 2009

Sunrise & Breakfast By Canoe

The first morning in Moorea was a gorgeous scene. Since we went to bed at approximately 9 pm the night before, we were up bright and early for the 6 am sunrise. Things are so peaceful at daybreak. The water is calm, the sky is colorful, the birds are friendly...

Once the sun made its appearence, though, the day was upon us. It was bright, sunny and warm!

One of the super cool things that was part of our honeymoon package was our first breakfast delivered by outrigger canoe. Nothing like your breakfast being delivered to you via water on a beautiful Moorea morning.

When we checked in the previous day, they had given us a sheet of paper with breakfast foods listed and we put checkmarks next to each item that interested us for breakfast. Well, the poor man that had to lift our food up to our balcony got quite the workout. I think our eyes were much bigger than our stomachs.

One of the simpliest yet most tasty things we had during this breakfast and on the whole trip was fresh pineapple. You have no idea how good it was... My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I couldn't get enough of it while I was there - heck, give me that for dessert every night and I'll die a happy girl. So much different from the pineapples you can buy in the local grocery stores here in St. Louis! smile

It was a fabulous way to start the day...and as you can tell, we had plenty of leftovers for lunch! And look at me, not even an hour in the sun and I'm pink!!


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Moorea, The Beginning

We began our first day in Moorea by exploring the hotel. Our room was again half over land half over water, but we had a beautiful view of a towering mountain off to the right, as well as exposure to the sunrise in the morning.

Our room was similar to what we had for the one night in Tahiti. However, it was definitely bigger with a sitting/living room area where we played many a game of Scrabble during our time there, plus our bedroom, a nice large bathroom and a large balcony for ultimate relaxation.

There were a couple of welcome gifts waiting for us at various times that day. When we first arrived, there was a nice bottle of champagne. And later on in the day, we returned to the room and had a lovely tropical flower waiting for us.

Another cool thing about our hotel was that it was home to the Moorea Dolphin Center, and funny enough our room was right next to it. We had a spectacular view of the dolphin center looking off to the left from our balcony. After we had first arrived, we walked over to the center and watched some tourists (likely from one of the cruise ships docked at Moorea for the day) interact with the dolphins in the water. We basically got a show for free. Granted, we didn't get to touch the dolphins or be in water with them like the people we were watching, but we didn't have to shell out $200 each either!! razz

Our first evening in Moorea, we ventured away from the hotel and went to dinner at a local restaurant. In fact, I think we left the hotel every evening for dinner! It was fun to get out and explore more of the island and try the local cuisine at the local restaurants. For our first dinner, we went to a restaurant called Le Mayflower. French cuisine was typical was French Polynesia, ya know! wink While we were there, there were several locals eating there as well. Always a sign of a good place, right?

Nate had a piece of mahi mahi with a phenomenal lobster sauce, while I had a healthy option of a steamed mixture of fish (shrimp, scallops, salmon) and veggies. Both were really good dishes. And we finished the meal off with what would become our vice for the rest of the trip.....vanilla bean ice cream! You see, vanilla beans are grown in French Polynesia. And you haven't lived until you've had ice cream made with fresh vanilla beans. Heaven! cool Just like no creme brulee has compared to the one we had in Paris, I'm afraid no vanilla ice cream will compare to what we had in French Polynesia!

Here's a very blurry picture of us standing in front of the restaurant after dinner. Don't we look like we've just had great ice cream? wink


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