Thursday, May 11, 2006

J - paging passenger Buzz Aldrin...

Getting there is half the fun. Mostly it was lots of confusion mixed with waiting.

Anyway we left NZ with not much fuss but arrived in Tahiti overdressed for 26C, I swear it was 110% humidity. Merewyn forgot the name of the place we had booked so we wandered around the deserted Tahiti airport at 9pm, aimlessly for a while, we were getting a bit stressed out because there was no one there really except a few souls who wanted to rip us off. We tried to get a taxi ride for an earthly sum into Papeete, failed, and eventually called on a fellow NZ'er who had the foresight to buy a Lonely Planet. This sadly did not contain the address but we decided to go in with his plans and we were soon ferried off to Pension Maha Iti, by a nice frenchman.

The place was nice, lots of stray dogs and things but quite a lot of character. At 11:15pm the roosters started crowing, and they didn't stop until about 6am when most of them by the sound of their voice had shattered their vocal chords. Apparently the neighbour has 5 roosters. At about 6am I dimly remembered that there were ear plugs in the air tahiti comfort pack, these allowed me to actually get by conscious level down far enough to dream some quite bizarre and confused dreams for an hour or two until 9.

The next day we hauled our enormous collection of baggage onto the local bus and headed off into Papeete, I am still amazed at the amount of scooters there. Everyone has one.

We wandered around, inevitably got very hot and decided that a swim was in order. Swimming is not permitted in the city. We bussed out to Mahina for a swim, which was good, we seem to have stumbled on a kite surfer beach. That was cool.

Back in Papeete we had a brief foray into discovering the 'seedy underbelly' of Papeete but couldn't really find anything.

We had a little trouble catching the airport bus, there didn't seem to be any signs, it was dark and everone was gone, the bus terminal was abandoned and so one but eventually a bus like vehicle stopped and we got on and away we went to the checkin. "I'm sorry you can't go into the USA you don't have a return ticket." Lots of waiting, for officials muttering secrets, and a swipe of Merewyns $500 limit (sssh) visa allowed us to get on the flight.

Maybe 10 hours later we arrived in some sort of disgusting smog filled hell. I commented to Merewyn that it was good that we weren't staying in LA. (apologies to any LA residents) She concurred. Merewyn walks up the immigration counter all nervous because of the last debacle. 'I'm sorry you will have to go back to ..." No! Wait! I have a Visa! '...the end of the line and fillout form 245I, then come back.'

We proceeded thanks to the kind but unsolicited direction of about 10 airport staff, to our transfer flight and immediatly were selected for 'double screening'. Yay! The experience was a little more interesting when Buzz Aldrin was also selected for double screening and we got to furtively point and stare at the glorious american hero just behind us in line. Merewyns official seemed quite nice, mine was a dick but we got through eventually.

Not completely though, in regulated chaos and the maze of queue ribbons (they had people who's only job it was was to stand their and unhitch the ribbon to let people through in to the 'next level' of screening, not just 1 but 10 or 20.) merewyn left behind her passport and boarding pass (which every official in the whole of LAX inspected).

Paging passenger Merilyn Ellis please come to gate 40 to pick up a lost item... It's not just the newbies that lose their cool either, 10 seconds later it was. Paging passenger Buzz Aldrin please come to gate 40 to pick up a lost item...

I looked around No one in the airport even blinked.

1 comment:

Scouser said...

I was wondering how you knew it was Buzz, not sure I would recognise him in a busy Airport.