The touch-down visit to California was sweet and short, but very worth-while as
connecting with old dear friends and inhaling, the splendor of spring's amazing bloom
of the neighborhood, reinvigorated our souls.
Off to Tahiti
Our Destination on this trip was the Tahitian Marqessas Island of the South Pacific.
A cruise on the Aranui freighter ship, which we booked in 2020 had to be postpone for 2 years, due to the raging Corona pandemic.
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Review The best non-cruise cruises Conde-Nest 2019
The Aranui 5, part cargo ship, part passenger vessel, which accommodates 254 passengers does a regular two-week circuit between Papeete, Tahiti, and the Marquesas, serving as a lifeline to the small, remote islands, which unloads supplies from cement to sugar and loads sacks of Copra - dried coconut meat (marquess' specialty) and fruits.
The French-flagged ship has accommodations ranging from cabins with private balconies to small dormitories for the budget-conscious.
It offers lectures about Polynesian culture, a pool, dining on French-influenced and Polynesian cuisine, and shore (excursions are included.
At the 19 stops, the muscular crew uses cranes and brawn to download the cargo. Half the village might come out to collect kitchen appliances, food, bikes, even coffins. It’s as much a real-life experience as cruise vacation.
Tahiti-based ARANUI 5
Compagnie Polynesienne de Transport Maritime (C.T.P.M.) is a French Polynesian shipping line owned by the Wong family who have operated passenger-freighter ships in the remote South Pacific Marquesas Islands for three decades and cargo service dating back another 30 years. The company is also known as Aranui Cruises. While the ship, ARANUI 5 based at Papeete, Tahiti, provides a necessary freight and passenger service for the local population (numbering less than 10,000), as there are few airports in the sprawling volcanic island chain, the voyage has increasingly developed into a cruise experience for foreign visitors as subsequent ships have become plusher.
The American Air- Line's arrival hall at SFO was quite empty and sleepy at midday
LAX airport at LA was much busier when we landed that afternoon at Terminal B4
Departing LAX airport at midnight landed us in peach dark early morning of May 11th ,
so we missed the eye bird view of the islands from the plane.
The 10 hours flight initiated at SFO via LAX , LA to Papeete Tahiti, with Air Tahiti Nui departed and landed on time, and was very comfortable with great service, though a bit on the stingy side.
Negative PCR test is required prior to getting on the flight and Masks are also still requiredduring flight, but not when Entering Tahiti.
Searching for Missing Items
David and I were very busy with lots of searching not of soul but for alleged "lost" items, from the time we start boarding at LAX airport, and up to landing in Tahiti.
First, he was searching, at the LA security check, for one shoe that went missing and got displaced on the security belt. It took a while but it was found.
Then, while sitting at the lounge he was searching for his cell phone, which apparently was forgotten at the security check.and luckily was retrieved on time prior to boarding.
When completing entry forms on the plane before landing , he was searching for his passport, which temporarily “got lost“ but actually disappeared in the clutter among the many small gadgets' pouches he carries In his bags..
Mysteriously David carry-on, which was loaded with the other 2 pieces of luggage at the Papeete Ferry dock, didn't arrive with the rest to Moorea,
So the early morning hour, at the Moorea Hilton hotel we checked into, was spent on detecting David's misplaced carry-on, with the help of the hotel's staffer, while also calling the Nui airline, Loss&Found, in an effort to retrieve my own kindle which was left behind on the plane, due to all the other, related to David commotion…
And so it goes the never ending searching..
A Polynesian trio musical ensemble welcomed the half asleep debarking passengers at the airport's arrival hall, with a typical Island's music, at 5:30am, which definitely woke us up, to embrace the new exiting day in Polynesia.
To be continued.....