Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wednesday 10 October – Ground hog Day!

If you have ever seen the movie Ground Hog Day you will realize what I am talking about. We have lived October 10th twice. We spent the first October 10 mainly in airports or on planes & then the second one we have spent in sunny Papeete.

The trip to get here was largely uneventful. We arrived at Christchurch domestic airport after sitting in a queue of traffic. The traffic was because the All Blacks were due to land at the airport around the time we needed to check in. We were lucky enough to get our luggage checked straight through to the Papeete flight so that was one less thing we had to do at Auckland. As we were taxiing to our disembarking spot we saw the Air Tahiti Nui flight arrive so we knew that the flight was at least going to be departing on time. We taxied to our spot & were quite surprised to find ourselves bundled down the stairs & into a bus to get to the airport terminal. I suppose I thought that being the flagship airport of NZ there would be no need to go back to those times in the distant past where you actually had to get off a plane without using an airbridge. Unfortunately we went past the International terminal on the drive through to the domestic terminal so no sooner had we got off our bus than we were walking back the way we came to get to the international terminal. Along the way it started to drizzle but the temperature was quite mild. The Pohutakwa trees along the walk were just starting to come out into flower.

We got to the International Terminal in plenty of time so we managed to grab a panini & cake for lunch before waiting around for our flight. We walked up & down the terminal & took some photos of the Tahiti Nui plane parked off on the tarmac away from the airbridge.

My first thought was "oh more of the same we will have to board via bus & stairs too." Eventually the plane was pushed to a gate & we were able to use an airbridge to get on the plane. It was a lovely plane that was done up in green & blue. The configuration in economy class was 2 4 2 & Scott & I were lucky enough to get one of the 2 on the side. Once we were in the air the air hostess came through the plane & gave each passenger a frangipani flower. It was still closed up but it had the most divine scent even when closed. We then got the arrival cards that have to be filled out for arriving in French Polynesia. The crew messages were each repeated three times. Once in French, once in Japanese or the native Polynesian language (sounds a lot like Maori) & of course last of all it was repeated in English. There were individual screens in the back of the seats so that you could watch a choice of 5 different movies, it looks like 10 but ½ of them are broadcast in French. It really is very interesting that the whole service was bilingual & sometimes multilingual. Sitting in the airport at Auckland I can understand why it is so multilingual. There were people boarding this flight from French Polynesia, Argentina, New Zealand, Canada & America. I have really never noticed so many different languages spoken in one departure lounge before. It really was fascinating. The age range was equally as fascinating, there was really no typical age other than the fact that there were hardly any children, there was a baby though. There were people younger than me that look like they are into adventure, people same age & then the American's & Canadians looked more like the bronzed retired couples that seem to travel the world following the sun. This flight was also heading to LAX after Papeete & then on to New York. I have kept a note of that for future trips that we might do to LAX. The flight to Papeete was 4.5 hours & they served a dinner. It started with a salad, then either a choice of fish or chicken & then a strawberry /champagne mousse. It really was a good flight they only downside was the absolute pain that shot through my head on the descent. It felt like my head was going to split in 2. We landed at the airport & the steps came out to the plane & you guessed it we were walking along the tarmac to get to the terminal. We were greeted by a woman presenting us with a frangipani flower. We then had to stand in a long line for a very long time for the officious little French customs officer to do his job. I worked out that it took 5 minutes for him to process every couple that went through. Of course I didn't know this when I chose his queue I should have chosen the queue that had what looked like the French Polynesian darker skinned people working it. At least they were quick about processing you. We picked up our bags & found it quite surprising that we didn't have to put them through a xray machine & the quarantine people were quite willing to take our word that we weren't bringing any contraband into the islands. We found the Tahiti Tours that were shuttling us off to the Sheraton & this time we were given a frangipani lei. We got to the Sheraton around 11:30pm & after taking a panadol I eventually went to sleep.

I woke up to a new day but the same day, Wednesday 10 October all over again. We went to breakfast at the restaurant that overlooks the beautiful clear blue waters. The rest of the time we have spent lounging by the pool enjoying lying in the sun, having some one run around & get us our drinks & our lunch.

It really has been really peaceful. I did swim in the pool a bit. Interestingly I did a duck dive & that horrible splitting headache thing happened again. I think I must have really hurt my ears when I came back from the Gold Coast a couple of weeks ago. I came back home from the Gold Coast with a cold & ears that wouldn't equalize them selves for days. Scott thinks that I might have some sort of pressure equalization problem at the moment, maybe left over from the Gold Coast trip. The good thing is that we weren't going to learn to SCUBA dive over here anyway so really I won't miss out on anything. Hopefully over the next 14 days the problem will correct itself so that on the descent back home my ears won't be so bad.

Tonight we are having dinner in the restaurant & then tomorrow we go aboard the cruise ship.

For those of you interested in seeing more photos about this day follow this link


Hannah said...

Sorry to hear about your headache and sore ears. I always used to get very sore ears when flying, but now I use Otrivine nasal spray 30 min before take-off and 30 min before landing. I've never had a problem since. You should definitely try and get some nasal spray before your flight home.

Sounds like you are having a good time (except for the pain) and I look forward to hearing more about your holiday!

loonyhiker said...

This was so exciting to read! I'm living vicariously through your trip!