Papeete again

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Oceania » French Polynesia » Tahiti » Papeete
August 22nd 2007
Published: October 1st 2017
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Geo: -17.535, -149.57

Woke to the sounds of sirens in Papeete. I guess that's getting us ready for our return to civilization, although I hardly feel like I've escaped it - or experienced an alternative variety - on this trip.

The six of us did coffee in the dining room again. Afterwards, we went back to our stateroom for the final packing. At 10.00h, we vacated our stateroom and went up to the Tahitian Lounge to grab seats for 10 people. No need to rush, though: very few people came up to join us.

Once all had assembled, Paul and I went to town to check into our Southwest flight - due to depart in 24 hours. Then did a bit of shopping to spend our final francs - ended up with only about 20 cents (US) left. Not bad.

Arrived back at the Tahitian just in time for trivia. Paul and I played with Ann, Mike, and their kids. M&P played with three other people (with whom they had played in the past). The kids won - hurray!

We eventually went down to lunch (Paul, K&K, self) then relieved Ann and Mike so that they could do lunch themselves. Then hung out reading.

When M&P reappeared with their lunch/trivia companions, Mum suggested that I converse with the woman - very young, a degree in Anthropology, a degree in International Business, scholarship to Cambridge, Fulbright, etc. Planning to work for the state department. It was an interesting conversation.

Then we played trivial again. Ann, Mike, Paul and I beat M&P and their power team again. Good for us!

Just as trivial wrapped up, we heard an announcement, calling Paul to the purser's office. Did our CC# fail? we wondered. We went down, iced coffees in hand, but the man behind the desk had no idea what we were talked about. But then the head purser came by and said, "Ah, I have the materials you need" and reappeared with a UPS package. Unbelievable - major kudos to Club Bali Hai for working it all out - getting it back to Papeete, getting the ship's agent to accept it, getting it delivered to the ship.

The rest of the afternoon/evening passed quite leisurely, reading, walking, eating in the buffet. Then, at 20.00h or so, we were called for our departure.

A very small group of people - maybe 20 total - boarded the bus with us, and we headed off to the airport. When we arrived, we were confronted with a long line. First, a line (not too long) to pick up our bags. Then a short line to verify that they were, indeed, our bags. Then a very, very long line to check on. Then another short line to send our bags through the x-ray machine. Then another short line through immigration and security. When we reached the gate area, all seats were taken because the 22.00h flight is delayed until 01.30h. So we sat on an odd cushionless box, or along a wall. K&K disappeared with their friends.

(When we checked on, we were told our flight would depart an hour late ... about a half hour after midnight. Hopefully, they can make up most of that en route.)

Our flight began boarding at midnight. I fell asleep before take-off and didn't wake until breakfast was served many hours later. (We're late into LAX though, so I hope we can catch our connection.)

We circled Orange County for a while, then landed a bit after noon. Sigh. As we waited to deplane, we called Southwest to change our flight to Oakland.

No problem with I&C. Many on our flight were transiting to Paris or were non-US-citizens. Got all of our bags before the others, so decided to say good-bye there, then try for the shuttle to Terminal One.

Bus came right away; no difficulty getting around the airport; no line (well, short line) to check on at SWA; no line at security. Had Starbuck's iced coffees (ah, the elixir of life), pizza, and wraps for a quick bite to eat (having not eaten on the plane).

SWA flight not full; we were able to split two rows between the four of us. Flight also on time (hurray!). Met by car in Oakland - Gruden greeted us with whimpering.


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