It was explained to me that French Polynesia imposes significant duty on all imported goods, which results in the tourists paying a substantial portion of the costs of running the islands. *We noticed in the Gambier and Austral Islands that everybody had their own garden growing vegetables and fruits. *Chickens and pigs were everywhere. *As with Gallivanters, we did not find the costs in French Polynesia to be much different from what we had been living with in the Caribbean, and the Polynesians were generally much better off than the majority of Caribbean islanders. *
The cruisers with the greatest sticker shock were the West coast Americans who were used to cheap US food products and cheaper Mexican prices. *What we most liked about Tahiti was the really good French food products that we had been deprived of once we left the Eastern Caribbean. *The pates, cheeses, and sausages that the French make so well. *The bread and pastries, too. *I once paid $15.00 US for 100 grams of cheese that a California cruiser thought I was dumb to have bought. *I didn't mind being thought a fool because the cheese was delicious and had been sorely missed by Peter and me for more than a year.
We never heard a Scandinavian cruiser complain about the prices. *No surprise, things were at least as expensive there as in French Polynesia, as told to us by the young Danish cruisers we had taken under our wing.
As I've said before, if, when we arrived in French Polynesia, we knew what we know now, I think we would have tried very hard to spend a second season there. *It is a beautiful part of the world.