NEW PASTIME IN TAHITI: ICE SKATING

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PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, Aug. 31) – (Tahitipresse) - Plans are underway to open a 600-square-meter (6,458- sq.-ft.) public ice-skating rink at the end of September as part of the 10th October Commercial Fair, which is expected to attract some 50,000 local visitors from Sept. 29-Oct. 3.

This will be the first time Tahiti has ever offered ice-skating to the public.

The rink is to be built inside an air-conditioned circus-like tent and plans call for it to remain open for at least a month, and perhaps longer. The inside temperature will be 10° C cooler than outside in order to keep the ice "quite cold", Virginia Bruant of DB Tahiti, organizer of the fair, told Tahitipresse.

But the rink, built with material imported from Australia, will not be just ice, but will use another ingredient that hardens before the temperature reaches freezing. "It’s the same system used to warm floors in France," Ms. Bruant said. But instead of warming, the system will be used to cool the underlying base for the ice. The system uses a cooling product distributed through pipes installed under the ice, she said.

"We’ve especially rented it (the system) for the fair, but it perhaps will remain until Christmas." Ice skates will be available for renting.

It will take two to three days to install the enclosure and another week to set up the ice skating rink, Ms. Bruant said. Then the air-conditioners will be installed and the decorations added.

As for the 10th Commercial Fair, she said the objective is to make this a showcase for French Polynesia’s economy, presenting commercial activities ranging from the clothing industry to information technology and also including furniture and building materials. Some 200 exhibitors are expected for the upcoming fair, which will be held in the Paofai section of Papeete with an exhibition area of some 20,000 sq. meters (215,278 sq. ft).

September 2, 2004

Tahitipresse: www.tahitipresse.pf

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