Getting there is usually half the fun, but this flight was not the best. I was on Air Tahiti Nui which was a code share with Air New Zealand, so I assumed it would be as good as, or better than, ANZ. The flight itself wasn't bad, a bit bumpy at times, but I was completely unimpressed with the food and the service. Los Angeles to Papeete was 8 hours. We were served cold meals with very old, dry rolls. The flight attendants were almost invisible, barely coming round at all. I know it was the middle of the night but not everyone sleeps. And I didn't, with a huge family of Tahitians in the seats beside me and for three rows in front, all of them coughing and sneezing and wheezing the entire night!
It was wonderful to get my feet on Tahitian soil again and it was so tantalizing - I did not want to get back on the plane for the last 5 hours. The traditional dancing as a greeting got my memory banks going. The airport is much larger than when I was last there, and the smell of flowers couldn't compete with the smell of jet fuel.
I spent a little time in the Duty Free store, bought a couple of bottles to take to New Zealand. The Tahitian rum was VERY good!
It was good to be able to stretch a bit and walk around before the next leg, where the service and food was marginally better.
Once again, the flight was jammed, not a free seat anywhere, but it was a relatively short flight. Immigration and customs took forever, as I understand there were 7 international flights that arrived at the same time. So Zoze and Jenni's faces were a welcome sight in the arrival area.
Jenni took the scenic route home to Tauranga, with a stop for coffee and a walk along a river (name to be determined). I did find, though, that although I was tired, I was not jet lagged as technically I had just skipped a day - a 20 hour forward flight. So it was easy to get back into a normal routine, after a good nights sleep.