It all seems so surreal - arriving here after continuously flying for one day. There is constant air temperature, very comfortable humidity, and great beauty.
There is no discernable industry on this island, other than tourism and government.
French is the primary language here, but there is no feeling that we are treating others in a demeaning way when we speak to them in English. I do get a sense of linguistic and cultural isolation more than we experienced in Japan, where I did not understand the language at all.
The people here live differently. There is no internet, to speak of. There are no sidewalks - just the main road. When young people get together, it is over a bridge or in a creek, where it is cool. Everybody seems to burn their garbage. Almost all beach property is privately owned, and there is little public access. As in Molokai, the most spectacular spot on the island is now an abandoned luxury resort - the Club Med closed because of business reasons, and it is now a fenced off dinosaur in the midst of one of the busiest communities on the island.
Right now, the hotels all seem to be empty. Restaurants are either closed or very quiet. The ferry dock is busy - but there are many people who live here and commute to Papeete on a daily basis.
They say there is no tipping here, but that does not go down well. As a North American traveling, there is an expectation. I shall say no more.
We almost did not travel to Tahiti because it seemed so expensive, (ie resorts with minimum rates of $350 US per night). We found a small hotel on a beautiful beach, with an outstanding restaurant - called Residence Linareva at $105 US per night. The Lonely Planet was right again - a well cared for facility with an excellent restaurant at the end of the pier. Many fish are around the pier, and they are attracted to swimmers. There is beautiful protected water with a coral reef out front, and good swimming and snorkeling. Great atmosphere - "a peaceful idyllic island". "Our place is romantic, clean, and well equipped," in Darlene's words.