After one movie, two magazines, zero naps, and a fourth of a book, I made it over the Equator and into the Southern Hemisphere for the first time in my life. After one more movie, another magazine, no more naps, and another half of a book, I finally made it to Tahiti! My morning started off on the right note – Laura and I were both awake well before our alarms, which is the benefit of not adjusting well to West Coast time. We got ready and made our way to LAX in record time, early enough to select the last two window/aisle seats together. Otherwise, we would have been crammed in the middle of the 4-seater rows…no thanks!
I’m not going to lie, I was surprised at LA’s anticlimactic International Terminal. There were so few breakfast choices that we cozied up to the bar and ordered PB&J’s and lattes for brunch. For the record, those were phenomenal sandwiches. We killed enough time to leisurely stroll through security, make it to our gate about twenty minutes before boarding, meet the fellow agents, and then head onto the Air Tahiti Nui flight.
Obviously, this was my first time traveling Air Tahiti Nui and they far exceeded my expectations. The seats had plenty of legroom, the staff was friendly and attentive, and the food was really good for economy. On many other airlines, you should avoid the fancier sounding food, as it’s generally a cover-up for the terrible taste, but on Air Tahiti Nui, if you order the Coq Au Vin, you won’t be disappointed.
I even had time to catch up on my bad movie watching, catching both Morning Glory and Burlesque. Who knew Cher & Christina could be such terrible actors! Either way, it helped pass the time and, by the time my eyes got a little heavy, we only had a couple of hours left, so excitement took over.
It’s the most thrilling experience to look out of the window and not know what to expect – is that an island chain, or a cloud? The anticipation builds and, before you know it, the distinct outline of an island appears as the plane approaches landing. Unfortunately, we arrived after sunset to a rainy night – it’s no real loss, since it was too dark to see anything at this point. This was to Laura’s dismay: she had taken the time to figure out the sunset schedule for our arrival, hoping that we would make it before dark. I imagine that tomorrow will be a perfect day in paradise.
We landed, went through customs, and made our way to the Intercontinental Tahiti, our hotel for the night. We’re greeted by shirtless, buff bell boys, at which Laura proclaims, “Do you think they’ll be waiting for us at every hotel?” If only.
We have a site inspection arranged for tomorrow morning, so I can’t say much about the resort besides the part that I’ve seen: my room. This is one of the bottom level room categories and it’s excellent. Huge bed, beautiful view, and spacious bathtub. I’m planning on taking a bubble bath and watching the sun rise in the morning – we’ll see whether I can pull myself out of bed to take full advantage of my accommodations.
The man in charge of group and incentive sales, Bernard, treated us to a buffet dinner and show. I’m way too tired to have found out what the show and traditional dances are called, but it’s all very similar to Hawaiian luaus. Except touristy Hawaiian luaus are spoken in English, and this one is very much in a language that I’ve never heard of. With that, we are left to decipher the beautiful dances, letting each scene tell its own story. It was a very nice way to begin our adventure here!