Many people will look at you funny, when you mention French Polynesia and ask where that was. On the other hand many people will get this dreamy look on their face when you start talking about Tahiti (or also Bora Bora) and they will go on about what a dream location it is for a holiday or to move there. Well, only some chosen few will make the connection and know that Tahiti actually is the main island of the French dependency of “Polynesie Française”. Since it is the destination for this month’s “Around the World in 12 Dishes” journey, let’s have a look at where we have arrived.
French Polynesia is an archipelago of about 130 islands in the South Pacific, about halfway between Australia and South America, so far, far away in the Pacific Ocean and also very widespread. Tahiti is the biggest and best known of these islands and is the home of both the capital Papeete and the Faaa International Airport, the only international airport of the islands. Other well-known islands are Bora Bora (a very tourist-oriented island), Taha’a (producer of 80-90% of French Polynesia’s vanilla) and the Mururoa Atoll, which had been the site of extensive nuclear testing between 1966 and 1996.
Here are some facts about French Polynesia (some courtesy of about.com):
- French Polynesia has 53 airports, due to the big distances between the islands the plane is the fastest way to travel or send goods.
- French Polynesia is the world’s seventh largest producer of vanilla.
- It’s common to put a tiare (Tahiti’s national flower, a fragrant white blossom) behind one’s ear — left side you’re taken, right if you’re looking.
- Over half of the population is under the age of 20 years old.
- The black pearls, are indigenous only in the Tuomotu Islands of French Polynesia.
- The letter “B” does not exist in the Tahitian language. Bora Bora is actually Pora Pora, meaning first born, but early visitors heard it as Bora Bora.
- The translation of Papeete’s name is “basket of water”.
- There are no poisonous snakes or insects in French Polynesia.
- The word tattoo originated in Tahiti. The legend of Tohu, the god of tattoo, describes painting all the oceans’ fish in beautiful colors and patterns.
- Those things that look like mail boxes outside the homes of Tahitian residents are not for mail, but for French bread delivery. Residents get a fresh loaf dropped off twice a day. But they must go to the post office to retrieve their mail!
Now that you know where French Polynesia is, join us in discovering the food and culture of these islands and check out the links below
Please check out our partner blogs and their French Polynesia ideas: Adventures In Mommydom, Creative Family Fun, Domestic Goddesque, Glittering Muffins, Here Come The Girls, Juggling with Kids, Kitchen Counter Chronicles, Mermaids’ Makings, Montessori Tidbits, Mummymummymum, The Educators’ Spin On It and The Usual Mayhem!
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Please link up your French Polynesian dish and/or craft in our linky below, we would love to see it!