January 07 2013
(scroll down for I and II)
… anyway, We land in Papeete and we’re both pretty exhausted at this point. On the way there we watched the first few episodes of Lost on the iPad. Probably not the best show to watch on a plane over the South Pacific considering the series starts off with a plane crash over the South Pacific.
When we got there we realized we’d been traveling close to 20 friggin hours. But I’d never been on the other side of the world before! We had arrived! Over there!
Like zombies we wander into the Papeete airport and were semi-pleasantly greeted by a sleepy Polynesian trio — two playing Ukelele’s and one dancing woman who looked like she’d been swaying for a couple hours too long. We headed to the next terminal to wait to get on a propeller plane that looked like this:
But the sky was blue! It looked like that in the picture! The stupid america computer told me it was supposed to rain everyday but the sky looked blue! That perv was right! The Toucan was wrong! I totally got psyched about the fact that the weather was going to apparently be just fine…
We check in through their ‘Let’s Play Pretend’ security and unfortunately my carry-on bag was too big for the propeller plane so I had to check it. I felt kind of naked without my bag of stuff but for an hour long flight I figure I could survive without my books and magazines and iPad of Lost and stuff.
The airport had nothing in it except a small cafe. I wanted to buy something and realized I didn’t have any of their currency. I looked around for a currency exchange place. Nope. I looked around for an ATM. Nope. Another stunning dawning ball drop on our part. Didn’t get any French Polynesian Francs. I guess we assumed it would be sort of like Europe where you can just travel with your bank card. Or deal with stuff at the airport. I look in my wallet. I had like $46.
I head to the cafe to get a couple coffees and it also becomes apparent that the english language had very spotty service in the people over there. So I had to go sifting through my brain to scavenger up my rusted out French that I’ve left in out the backyard of my mind for the past twenty years.
I order a couple coffees and ask if they take American dollars. She rolls her eyes just like someone in America would if a foreigner wanted to pay with Euros. She busts out her calculator and changes French Polyenisa Frances to Euros to Dollars to figure out the cost. $12 for two diner style coffees. I paid it and started digging into my Captain Cook book. I felt a sense of true adventure coming over me as I read about his adventures. A ridiculous kinship. I was just like Captain Cook! We were exploring! On the edge of the world! Who knew what we’d find! Where we’d end up! Would we end up dead?! Excitement! Who knew at that point?! Just like Captain Cook!
After a couple hours of solid boredom, we get on our plane to head to “Raiatea”. No assigned seats on this propeller flight. It was like getting on a train. Pick wherever. We took our seats next the propeller and prepared for take-off. But after 20 minutes on the runway they announced that the plane was broken and everyone had to get off.
We head back into the airport. The next flight time was unknown. It depended if they fixed our plane or if they have to get a new plane. But nicely, (btw everyone was really nice there) they gave us vouchers for food and a sandwich. I asked if I could get my carry-on bag back and that was no problem. She went outside and got it for me. (Imagine asking for a checked bag back at JFK?)…
For lunch we had two longgg bagettes of turkey with mayonaisse and Perrier. We sat there at the airport gnawing on these things wondering how long it would be before they’d get a ‘new plane’.
We realized then we’d been traveling 24 hours… and we weren’t done yet. We still had the plane ride (which had a stop over in friggin Bora friggin Bora) and a boat ride after we landed…
(to be continued)