One of the things I bought while in Colorado was a new Sony 16 megapixel digital camera so I can take better pictures. I just tried adding one to our post(showing the eye splice) and the website rejected it as too big. Guess I'll just have to pull out the old camera so I can get some pictures up on the sight. Sorry.
11/25/2011, Vuda Point Marina
Our get together yesterday for Thanksgiving was just great. We had two chickens(no turkeys in Fiji) as well as all the trimmings--Cranberry salad, stuffing, sweet potato, a salad sprinkled with pecans and even lots of gravy to top it off. Pecan as well as Pumpkin pie(dug deep into our larder) for dessert. A great feast for the four of us. Add in lots of great conversation and it was the perfect way to celebrate the holiday.
We started the dinner off with drinks in the cockpit with "Pain Killers". A nice blend of Orange, Pineapple juice, Creme of Coconut and Rum. I even bought ice from the little store here to make them nice and cold.
I don't imagine that there is a big problem with alcoholism here in Fiji but if there is, it must all center around beer as hard liquor is outrageously expensive. A one liter bottle of Bacardi rum cost $115.00 Fijian. That's over $61.00 US for a $10.00 bottle in the US. We bought a bottle the other day as we had finally run out of what we bought in the Mexico(even cheaper than the US stuff). Now you can get lots of different wine from all over the world but Australian and New Zealand have the best prices($6.00 to $10.00US) for a good bottle of wine. Beer is still cheaper but will run about $3.50 Fijian in any bar or restaurant. A bottle of coke runs about $3.00 in most restaurants but can be had for about $2.20 Fijian($1.20US). Not really that bad considering where we are. We heard an announcement on the radio that they will be upping the duty on alcohol(as well as other luxury items) the first of the year.
Of course, in Fiji, it poured outside. It's the rainy season(as well as cyclone season) and in the late morning and early afternoon, it started clouding up with it looking quite black farther inland over the mountains. I was sitting on the stern making some eye splices in our new mooring line when it started with a light sprinkle. I ducked under the tarp and bimini to escape the rain and continued the rope work. It slowed for a few minutes and then Mother Nature got a bucket and just poured it over Vuda Point. It rained like I have rarely seen it. I have no clue as to how much it rained but it had to be close to an inch at the minimum since the deluge started about 1400 and it was still raining at 1700. It has sprinkled off and on through the night. There is an 80% probability of rain for the next three days so there is more coming. No wonder it's so green and the roadsides are filled with flowers. At least with the air conditioner, it takes a lot of the humidity out of Zephyr making it more comfortable down below.
One of the things I brought back with me was 200 feet of 3/4" three strand line for new mooring lines to keep Zephyr safely attached to the center mooring buoy as well as shore. After a good bit of searching, I couldn't find anything like it here. I also brought back some rubber snubbers that the line wraps around that add a nice spring to the line as Zephyr moves about in her slip. With a boat of Zephyrs weight(almost 50,000 pounds) you want line that has some spring to it or there is a good chance you could break the lines during one of the cyclones that is coming with it's 150 mph winds. I started putting in eye splices in the line yesterday adding in a steel thimble to make the line more resistant to chafe. I've made eye splices in many pieces of line over the years but this stuff, being 3/4", was tough to open the space between the strands to get the pieces through. It took a while, but at least two of the eye splices are done. I should be able to put in the other two later today during the next flood.
And that's the way our Thanksgiving went. Some work and some play. A normal day out here in paradise.
11/24/2011, VudaPoint Marina, Fiji
Happy Thanksgiving to all out you out there. It's Firday here in Fiji as we are across the date line. That may be the case, but we will still be celebrating it today as the rest of the US is a day behind us.
Late this afternoon, we will be having our first company on board for dinner. Paul and Star off Starstruck will be coming over for the festivities. We're having a couple of chickens delivered from the local meat company pre- cooked so we don't have to heat up our boats getting things ready for the feast. Tracy made Pumpkin Pie and a Pecan Pie for the deserts and will be making more dishes during the day. The nice thing is that the air conditioner that sits in our companionway door is working great pumping nice cold air into our boat and drying out everything from the ever present humidity that rules Fiji. What a God send to have it. Paul and Star bought the second unit that Purrfection(a catamaran next doon) had for sale so we are both enjoying being inside our boats though it does feel a bit claustrophobic at times.
Yesterday, I headed into the engine room looking for the source of the air that keep getting into out fuel lines. I tightened up every hose clamp and shoved one hose farther onto its fitting and then cinched it down with a hose clamp. We started the engine and it ran fine for almost two hours so maybe I found the problem. We'll be checking it again tomorrow and with luck be setting off for Musket Cove(about 25 miles west of here) for a few days to get away. While we enjoy Vuda Point, it will be nice to get away and see other sights. We plan on coming right back to our space and getting settled in again. We like our current "slip" and see no real reason to move to another.
The "dock master" has been turning lots of the boats around in the marina so their sterns face the dock and their bows face out toward the center post. This is the preferred way to have all the boats should a cyclone hit the area. I'll be working on our new mooring lines today getting eye splices onto the ends of the 3/4" line I brought back. It's not available here without special ordering it and I'd hate to think how much that would cost.
So Happy Thanksgiving to everyone one out there wether you celebrate it or not. If not--Happy Friday, or Thursday if you are on the other side of the date line.
11/21/2011, Vuda Point Marina
We're settling back into life with both of us aboard and getting things installed and things fixed. The most important thing that we needed to install was the step down transformer. I'd tried to hand carry it back in my carry on luggage but Air Pacific wouldn't let me do it. Seems they have a weight restriction of just 7 kilos(about 15 pounds) for the carry on bags.
I'd looked into installing it(plug in some wires) but it just wasn't working. I consulted with the marina's "head electrician". Being the "head electrician" means he's the only one that knows anything about the wiring around the marina. He checked the wires--all fine. He opened up the outlet--full of bug cases from previous tenants. Since he couldn't figure it out, he called for assistance of a professional electrician that had to come up from Nadi. Two men showed up about 1400 and went at it. They checked every wire and connection. They even looked at the wires inside Zephyr's circuit panel. All appeared fine. They thought that the circuit panel might not have a big enough breaker so they replaced the 20 amp one with a 40 amp one. Looking at the panel inside Zephyr, the "reverse polarity" warning light was always on. Once back at Zephyr, they had me turn on the switch. POOF!! The circuit breaker didn't like what these two guys had done. They reset the circuit breaker as I'd blown it when I hit the switch. POOF!!! again. Something was defiantly wrong. Time to call in the real professional. Another electrician was set to come on Wednesday. Before they left, the one guy that appeared to know about electricity mentioned that Fiji's wiring was different that what is done in the US. REALLY!?! Maybe that was why it was trying to blow up my circuit panel. At least we still had the 240 volts so we could run our air conditioner and keep us nice and cool. It's still hitting the high 80s with humidity to match. When the Sun comes out, it's nasty out there.
The next day, one of the original men showed up along with a new man. This guy was in the know as to boat power systems. He checked all the wires again, both inside and out. With a tester plug inserted in the outlet on the step down transformer, we were getting 120 volts if the tester was in the + and - slots. We also for 120 volts between the - and the ground posts. Amazingly, we got 240 volts if you put the tester in the + and ground slots of the plug. YEOW!!! No wonder it was blowing the circuit panel switches. We were pumping 240 volts right into the circuit panel! As far as he(new electrician) was concerned, the transformer was to blame. The wiring was just fine. CRAP!!! Did this mean that the big 30+ pound hunk of steel I'd lugged back was worthless and might need to be shipped back to the dealer where I got it? I just kept asking questions about Fiji's wiring. How could the + & - make 120 but the + and ground made 240. Was the wiring in Fiji crossing over to the wrong slots in the plug. How about the "reverse polarity"? That normally means two wires are crossed. He thought about it and then took the plug that goes to the transformer from the power strip I was using and took it apart. He reverse two wires and put it back together again. Suddenly, we had 120 volts across the + & - and nothing between the + & ground slots. I crossed my fingers and through the switch. On came the power just like it was supposed to. Fiji's wiring standards are different from the US. Once corrected to US ways of doing things, all was well and we had all the power we needed. We could charge our batteries and even watch TV if we wanted to. Plus, with a 40 amp circuit breaker installed, there was no way we would blow it. Mission accomplished!!! Off they went. Now I still haven't gotten the bill yet but to switch the wires only took 90 minutes. Not bad and we have power!!! All is well in Zephyr land.
Just to let you know how important this was, we lost the use of the Honda generator the day before. It refused to start no matter what we did. While we waited for these electricians, Tracy and I went in for a better look to see if we could find out what the problem might be. It had run fine for months. I'd changed the oil and installed a new spark plug just a few months ago. I pulled off the front panel and all the wires looked just great. The spark plug was also in good condition. I pulled out the oil dip stick--nothing!!! There was not a lot of oil left in the machine and since it is equipped with an oil sensing device(won't let it start with out enough oil) it was set up to not start. Once we refilled the oil, she fired right up. Problem solved. As to where all the oil went(no marks on the deck) the only thing we can think is that it is being burned by the generator. Now we will be checking it regularly.
We headed into town yesterday to get some more things to work on projects(fittings for my new Racor fuel filtration system) as well as more wires for Zephyr. Fiji must have a very active road budget. I've never seen so much road under construction or repair in the month we've been here. I noticed it even during my drive home in the taxi when I returned from Colorado. With that being said, the journey to Lautoka now takes on more meaning as the roads are much more bumpy and with that, the busses are slower. On the good side, there will be no rust on the shock absorber on the buses with all the ruts and pot holes in the road.
Today was bake bread day. While Fiji as lots(and I do mean lots) going for it, it's bread is about tasteless. There is not much to it(taste wise) and the last loaf we bought at the store wasn't cooked all the way through. It was doughy in the middle. YUCK!!! So this morning I got up early(about 0630) and headed into the galley. I'd laid out most of the things I was going to need and as quietly as I could, I started in on making two loaves of bread. I'd brought a second loaf pan back with me so I could now make two instead of one loaf. Considering all the time and heat that goes into baking the bread, two is much better. The bread never lasts long on Zephyr, at least the bread I bake. I only made one small mistake. I forgot to start the timer for the baking! I'd planned on rotating the loaves in the oven after 15 minutes but it ended up closer to 20 once I found my error. At 30 minutes, one loaf was done but the one in the new pan(larger) wasn't quite there. In for another 8 minutes. The same thing happened this time as the last time. The top of one of the loaves rose so far that it hit the broiling coiled on the top of the oven and took off a small chunk of bread when I removed it from the oven. Oh well. The second loaf came out great. Once cooled(just a bit) I grabbed a knife and sliced off two pieces for us to try. Great texture and consistency in the loaf. It was darn near a perfect loaf if I say so myself. We were set for bread for a while. I'll be taking over half a loaf to Star and Paul on StartStruck later today when they return from town.
Once the bread was done, I'd gotten a bagel recipe from another cruiser that was still back in Mexico so with the oven still hot, I gave them a try. Out came five nice golden brown bagels for breakfast over the next couple of days. Now I get to clean up my mess in the galley. Well worth it though to have good bread for a while. With us now having power and there is a propane gas refill station right behind the marina, I can bake all I want and with the holidays coming, I'm sure my apron will have lots of flour all over it.
The guys in the picture are the electricians that solved our problems. The man on the left was the problem solver for our system. Nice guys.
11/20/2011, Vuda Point Marina
Part two. The fun continues.
We arrived in Nadi(pronounced Nandi), Fiji at just about 0500, a long time after leaving LA. With lots of food given out by a great airline and not much sleep, most of us were a bit bleary eyed and only semi awake when we landed. We rolled up to the ramp and as always, everyone jumps to their feet knowing that if they don't they will get passed by others that are in a bigger hurry than they are and just might miss something exciting upon exiting the plane. Yeah, right. Everyone just stands around and waits for the door to open and then they have get their luggage out of the overhead compartments and then trudge toward the front of the plane. When you get off the plane, there is a Fijian band(two to three guys) playing Fijian music to welcome you to Fiji. Of course, the same band was playing when we left Fiji.
Once off the plane, it's not clearly spelled out as to what line to get in. I mistakenly got in the line for transferring to another flight. Fifteen minutes later, after realizing I was in the wrong line, I headed around the corner and got in line where I was supposed to be. Of course, by now, I'm pretty much the last person in the line for Customs. They have all of three people from Customs waiting to check in all 350 of us that got off the plane. About 40 minutes later, I finally got to the head of the line for my entry back into Fiji. When you leave Fiji(and plan on returning) you MUST get a letter from the Fijian Government that will allow you to reenter the country. If you don't have that letter, well, getting back into Fiji get much more complicated. At least that is what we had been told. You would have to buy another airline ticket back out of the country. When I got to the head of the line, I proudly whipped out my passport and my letter all duly stamped and approved by the Customs Department in Lautoka(just up the road from Nadi). The Customs agent looked at my passport and then at the letter. It was as though he had never seen a letter like that before. He read it carefully and then called for a Supervisor. OK, what had I done now. Both read and reread the paper which basically says I'm "allowed back in the country and don't hinder my entrance in any way." After both had read it, they quizzed me about how I had gotten into their country(boat) wanting to know how many masts my boat had and what type it was. I answered their questions and they stamped my passport and ushered me through their gate.
Off I went now in search of all my bags(seven). I got to the bottom of the escalator and snagged a baggage cart. Heck, I grabbed two. I moved over to the baggage carousel and started looking for my bags. I'd put duct tape on everyone of them in an "X" to make it easier to spot. One came along and then a second(both with ripped seams). Suddenly, one of the baggage handlers came up to me and asked if my name was Hudson(never a good sign). Upon answering yes, he pointed at another of my bags that someone had already taken off the carousel and set aside. I was up to three of my seven and the rest were no where in sight. I was especially worried about my "carry on" that was taken in LA as being too heavy. It hod not only my new step down transformer but also all my prescriptions. I couldn't afford to lose it.
The carousel just kept on going around with less and less bags and less and less people waiting for their luggage. I finally stopped one of the handlers and asked if there were any more bags coming. Nope, this was it. I told him of my four missing bags and he pointed to a pile of luggage near where the luggage comes out from the wall. There sat all of my four missing bags. Someone had taken them off the carousel!!! I'm sure the sigh of relief could be head all the way out side the airport. With the help of the handler(he'd taken me under his wing) we headed for the baggage inspection station. Two carts and seven bags!! I had by far the most of anyone on the flight. I was also just about the last person through the checkpoint. With my handler guidance(he knew everyone), they took my first two bags and opened them up for inspection. The first one just happened to contain the 48 cans of Costco Albacore tuna(packed in water) that I had brought back(you can't get it out here and we love our tuna). The inspector looked at the cans and then looked at me. I told her we loved tuna packed in water, not oil as everything is out here. She glanced at the rest of the stuff in the bag and zipped it closed shaking her head. The next bag went just as smoothly. They didn't bother with the other 5 bags. It had been a long day(almost 0600)by then and I'm sure they just wanted to get some breakfast.
Once through there, since I had "declared" that I had goods worth more than $1,000 Fijian in my luggage(with seven bags, that was a no brainer), I had to go to another desk where an import duty could be assessed. Again, with my baggage handler at my side acting as a guide, I answered the agents question--"Do you have more than $1,000 worth of goods in your bags?" With me answering yes. "What were they" he asked--"Boat parts and food" was my answer. He looked at my paperwork and saw that I had come in originally on a boat and then just shook his head and then shook my hand and said go ahead. I was through and didn't have to pay any import duties on anything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'd caught a BIG break. No duties on what I brought in was wonderful.
With my baggage handler at my side, we exited the Customs area and started looking for my taxi driver. I'd made arrangements for him to meet me upon my return. I'd warned him to not bother showing up till at least 0600 as I knew Customs would take a while. I was out and on the road by 0645 on the way for Vuda Point with the back of the station wagon taxi full as was the back seat. We pulled into the marina just after 0700. The driver took me out to just behind Zephyr and while he unloaded the car, I went down to see Tracy. I knocked on Zephyrs back rail. After a few minutes, she finally came out on deck with a pareo wrapped around her looking quite bewildered that I was there. She didn't expect me till the next day. I'd emailed her from the airport that I was under way, but the "International Date Line" had confused her. She thought I would be in on Tuesday, not Monday. Star and Paul on "Starstruck", came out to help me get the bags on board Zephyr. They're the people I had brought stuff for also. It was going to be like Christmas in November. Tracy and I slowly dragged each bag below deck one at a time and unpacked them setting aside the stuff for us and the things for Star and Paul. I delivered their goodies later that morning.
To say my butt was dragging was an understatement yet I was wired on adrenaline so I just kept going like the "Energizer Bunny". It had been a long flight with uncertainty all along the way. Would the bags make it? Was anything going to be missing if a bag broke open? Would Customs let me in with all the bags and how much was it going to cost me? Add that to many hours of sitting in a not tremendously comfortable seat(more leg room that many) and I was about to the end of the line. Yet I knew that if I went to sleep now, it would make adjusting to the new time zone that much harder. I managed to stay awake till 2100 before I crashed. Denver time would be 0100(the same day, just lots earlier). I was finally home.
So that's the way the trip went folks. Lots of running around all over town and even out of town. I did manage to visit our other boat(Sloop to Nuts) up in Dacono in a storage lot. She's nice and safe and awaiting our return. It will be different sailing a 26 foot sailboat on a lake after what we have experienced out on the ocean. But that's not going to be for quite a while.
Now starts the installation of what I have brought and the fixing of what has broken along the way. Lots to do and finally the time to do it. With cyclone season approaching, we will have plenty of time(between storms) to get it all done. Let the games begin.
11/18/2011, Back in Fiji.
It's been quite some time since I posted a blog. I've traveled to the US and back so there is a good bit to write about.
I left here on November 1st for a flight set to leave on at 2200. I grabbed a taxi to get me to the airport as the bus schedule didn't work well for the trip. I got in at the airport at 1800 set for an easy 4 hour wait. I'd gotten on the internet to check in before even leaving the marina. Strangely, the connecting flight from Los Angeles to Denver had been changed to a much later flight. Did the airlines(Qantas) send me an update or atleast give me a reason for the change? Heck no. I made a few calls and after some conversations with someone in Suva, I got it changed back. This way, I would get into Denver at 1900 instead of the new time of midnight!
When I arrived at the airport, I found the flight was delayed till midnight. No reason, just a delay. At least they made it easier by giving out a $20.00 meal coupon at any of the airport restaurants. I talked to one of the security guards to see which he recommended. As I had a cart for my one piece of luggage, I went to the restaurant that allowed carts inside. For the first time since arriving in Fiji, I had a dish of chicken curry that wasn't that good. For some reason, they had added lots of chunks of tomatoes to the mix. It just didn't come out right. At least, with the meal allowance, I didn't have to pay for it. I headed for security a bit after 2000 for the wait.
We boarded about 2300 with what turned out to be a cattle call instead of the normal "we will be boarding rows 50 to 65". Instead, everyone jammed the doors trying to be the first on the plane even though we all had our seats assigned. What the heck, I grabbed my bag and joined the crush for the plane. The folks at Qantas kept calling out the boarding calls for the specific rows but no one cared. Push Push Push--get on the plane!!!
We took off just after midnight and once at altitude, dinner was served--at 0100 in the morning. It was a choice of sandwiches--chicken or beef plus a brownie for desert. The attendant gave me two. Not sure why, but who am I to turn down free food, especially from an airline. By 0200, the call was put over the intercom for everyone to close their shades of the windows. No clue why, but everyone had to close their shades. Hey, it's already dark outside. We don't really need the shades. I didn't understand the reasoning but pulled mine close. On we flew hitting speeds over 600 miles per hour with an outside temp of -70. Yeow, that's cold!!! The flight was set to last 11.5 hours getting us into LA just before noon, at least by Fiji time. LA time was just after 1300. My next flight was for just after 1500. I had some running to do since I had to be on a different concourse. Luck was with me and I made it with 20 minutes to spare. I took that time to change into jeans. Shorts we out of the question heading for Denver in the Winter. It's the first time I've worn long pants in close to a year, let alone shoes and socks! It all felt just too civilized.
I arrived right on schedule. I actually got into Denver 5 hours before I left Fiji. It's that International Date Line stuff. I grabbed a taxi for the house. Our neighbors--Aaron and Dee Dee had turned the heat up and even gotten the car started so I was set when I got there. Neighbors don't get any better than the ones we have. With no food in the house, I got the car started and headed up for McDonalds and wanted to stop for some new gas as what was in the tank was over a year old. I had to use a battery charger to get it started but once she was on, I knew I should not turn it off for fear of it not starting again without the charger. I left the engine running while filling the tank and went through the drive through at McDonalds. Once home, I tried to restart the engine but the battery was dead enough that that was not about to happen. A new battery was in the cards for first thing in the morning. Oh, I forgot to tell you, there was a weather forecast for as much as 6 inches of SNOW set to fall durning the night. I so hoped the forecasters were wrong, but alas, they got it right for a change and I woke up to a good 5 inches of the dreaded white stuff. Out came the shovel and I cleared the driveway and sidewalk around the house. Aaron and Dee Dee were out also and it became a gang shovel. It's the first snow I shoveled in close to three years. I really haven't missed doing it especially after having just left 85 degree weather.
Off for Auto Zone for a new battery. Quick and painless as they even supplied the tools I had forgotten when I left the house. By the time I had that accomplished, it was just about time for my doctors visit. This was one of the primary reasons for my trip home. If you have been reading our blog for a while, you know the condition of the doctors and hospitals out here. You don't want to get sick out here. It didn't take long as both the doctor and I knew what we needed to do but I was in for a full workup. Even blood work(I HATE NEEDLES!!). The folks at the front desk know that Tracy and I take back what ever we can in medical supplies if we can. One of the receptionists went next door and got me a case of tooth paste to take back. They even threw in several pairs of reading glasses. All will lbe put to good use out here.
Every day was spent with a list of what to get and where I need to go to get it. Every night, I'd redo the list taking off what I had accomplished and add more things to the list as I got more emails from Tracy. God bless Skype as it allowed us to talk every evening about what was going on and about what needed to come and what didn't. I put well over 100 miles a dig running around Denver every day. Two and a half tanks for gas before I was done. Luckily, I did have time to have lunch with Jeff Keith, our X landlord from when we had our store in Littleton. It was great to see him and get him caught up on what and where we had been and what we had seen and experienced along the way. A great guy. That was about the only luxury time I allowed myself. It was push push push to get it all done before I had to pack up and leave.
I'd been ordering parts and supplies for several days before I left Fiji so there were several boxes waiting for me when I got to Colorado with lots more in transit. I'd come with one carry on loaded with one pair of pants(the blue jeans I put on at the airport), a couple pair of underwear and a bunch of shirts that were heading home so we could wear them later once we return home. All ones we have picked up along the way that we don't want to ruin. Add in a couple bags of sea shells and that was about it. I had a long list of what to expect for UPS as well as FedEx and USPS so I knew I was going to need extra bags. Goodwill proved the perfect place to two large bags. With my carry on, I was set. Three bags tops!!! Yea, right!! By the time everything showed up, plus what I bought, I need up at 6 BAGS plus an over filled carry on bag. I'd made an offer to our friends(Star and Paul)on "Starstruck" that I'd bring some things back for them also. I was loaded to the gills. Now each bag weighted in at close to 50 pounds. That's the max the airlines will take before getting huffy about it. I'd kept each bag at just under that just to be careful. The day I left, I placed a call to American Airlines(my first carrier)to make sure I could bring all six bags. "Sorry, you have to call Air Pacific since that is you international flight is with" was what I was told. Calls to them(actually in Suva, Fiji) came back with "Sorry, you booked the flight through Qantas, call them". Qantas said that since I was flying on Air Pacific, they would have to make the call as to what I could take and how much. Air Pacific said to call their baggage service in LA to get information. They told me to call Qantas again. No one would give me the information I needed. After about two hours on the phone, American Airlines finally stepped forward and told me it would be $25 for the first bag, $35 for the second and $166 for each bag after that. I finally had an answer. It wasn't cheap but it was doable. Now my ticket said I got my first two bags for free but I wasn't about to argue. At least they would take all my bags. As it ended up, the woman behind the counter at the airport gave me my first two bags for free and only charged me $150 for each of the rest of the bags.
Shipping things to Fiji can get extremely expensive. I'd bought a step down transformer(converts the 240 volts Fiji uses to the 120 volts we need to run the boat). Now that little piece of equipment weighs in at just over 30 pounds. It cost $279.00(similar unit here in Fiji runs about $850US). Shipping it with Fed Ex would cost $540US!!!!! So you can see why paying just $150 for a 50 pound bag was a smart thing to do. I'd even packed it in my carry on to make sure it got to Fiji.
The flight to LA went off without a hitch arriving in plenty of time to catch my flight set to leave at 2250 for Fiji. Heck, it was just 1500 LA time. I took my time with only one small hitch, my carry on wa too heavy for Air Pacific. They only allow you 7 kilos(about 15 pounds for a carry on. Mine was a lot closer to 50 or 60(that transformer was heavy). As it ended up, I had to check it. at least they marked it as "Fragile" and also marked it "Priority" so it would go in the plane first ahead of the rest of the luggage. At least that it what they told me.
I stopped at McDonalds for my last meal(not that much to choose from anyhow)before leaving the good old US. It's hard to say anything bad about "two all beef paddies, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions on a sesame seed bun". It may clog my arteries but what a way to go. As I got through security and the TSA, I looked at the "departure board". My flight had been rescheduled to leave at 2130 from 2250. Heaven forbid they tell me that when I checked in. It was already after 2000 and I had a ways to go to get to the gate. I got there about 20 minutes before boarding so again, I had escaped from missing my plane.
This boarding went like the normal boarding in the US. It was not a mass push for the doors. Once on board, we all settled in and once in the air and at altitude, we got served another meal. Chicken on a bed of rice, along with veggies and two cookies for desert. Breakfast a few hours later was a cheese onset with mushrooms on the side along with chunks of potatoes. It came with a bowl of fresh fruit, a blueberry muffin and a cup of blueberry yogurt. Let me tell you, Air Pacific knows how to feed their passengers! I haven't seen food like that served on a plane(unless it was first class) in years. I felt lucky getting a free coke on American Airlines for my trip from Denver to LA.
This post has gone on long enough. I'll close now and fill you in on how Customs and Immigrations went when I landed. Add a government official and let the games begin.