11 May 2018 | Pension Tiare Nui, Bungalow C
Conni's dad, LaVerne, delivered us and our 200+ pounds of gear to the San Francisco Airport. The 3 boxes and my Bill Bag weights were nudging the limit of 50 pounds each. I drill holes in the lids of the boxes, through the lips on the box tops, and use cable ties to attach the lids. Each hole matches all of the others for interchangeability. It works well, is almost stupid-proof for baggage handlers, and cable ties are easy to replace. In a large Ziplock, we place several total cable tie replacements and a note requesting that the boxes be carefully packed and unpacked, and that the cable ties that they remove be replaced with the ones in the bag. Can TSA manage that? Surprisingly, they usually do, but not always: two of the three boxes still had cable ties, the other had tape. Still, the boxes arrived in Papeete with little problem.
In LA after our hour delay in San Francisco take-off traffic, we have to take our gear from a domestic terminal to the international terminal, a baggage cart hump of 15 minutes or so. LAX's international terminal is as close to Charles de Gaulle or Gatwick as I've ever seen in America. There are people from everywhere and one hears every language imaginable wafting through the air there. I know that I've mentioned it many times, but only very large and non-US airports impart such an international feeling.
For the first time, we did NOT get charged extra for our gear. Air Tahiti Nui accepted our boxes with no questions asked. We did have to stand in line for an hour, then another 30 minutes since they were LATE IN OPENING COUNTERS...but who gets angry about that? LAX international TSA was faster than usual and we were quickly staying in line again for a Panda meal. Those 12 hours of no food do encourage an appetite!
The Papeete International Airport, International, is open air, as I've told you, and fairly efficient. We moved through immigration quickly, and didn't even get stopped with our two baggage carts of gear. We were soon standing in another line, awaiting our trip to Raiatea from Papeete on Tahiti.
We do know the airport system pretty well by now. It just surprises me to realize that we've been using this domestic fight airport for 4 years: 8 flights.
Our 35-minute flight from Papeete to Raiatea is faster than the overnight sail that we endure. Weather has bene cloudy and rainy, so the monsoon season is not done. We'll suffer until the cooler winter weather is stable.
We were ecstatic to see Raihau, the manager of the Tiare Niu Pension and Raiatea Location. He had delivered our tiny rented Panda and we stowed the gear and headed to the Carenage to see Wings. And there she was, looking great from the outside. No varnishing had been done, of course, even though we had requested it. Few of my emails had been answered. Still, the boat is in her cradle and looks good. Being in the islands simply requires a longer focus. She did have a spare man door key for the main gate. Hope it works.
So, we're here. We made a store run but not much past that. Perhaps we'll make it back to the Carenage today, but perhaps not. Conni rolled over a few minutes ago and said that it was time to arise. ZZZZZZZZ.....
You'll love this. Mr. Physics strikes again. I thought that I'd be clever and buy a power strip then use a French-to-US plug adapter so that we could charge our electronics. It's not the 220VAC that is a problem with charging things here since most modern electronics can use anything, it's dragging all of those adapters. As I cough on the stench of burned circuitry, I remembered that the surge protector on the power strip would be overwhelmed by the 220VAC here in FP and instantly fried. Damn! Didn't think that one through. A cheaper power strip without a surge protector would have worked perfectly.
For those of you interested, I've uploaded a new page to the site.