French Polynesia 2001 Day 1: Los Angeles, Tahiti Faaa, Le Meridien Tahiti

Sunday June 10, 2001
Another vacation has arrived, and this time Roger and I are off to French Polynesia and the islands of Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Moorea. After a late night last night of watching Muriel’s Wedding and packing, we awoke early to get ready to go. Without much fuss and a quick stop at Ralph’s for some water and some suntan lotion, we were on our way to the airport. LAX was its usual crowded chaotic place on a Sunday, but after a few tries, we were able to get some parking. Michael was kind enough to escort us to the airport, and as a reward we fed him some McDonald’s and gave him some money for parking. Check-in was a breeze at the Air Tahiti Nui window, although since we were on an American codeshare with Quantas codeshared with Air Tahiti Nui, we were fortunate to have selected the correct window at all. It was finally time to get to the gate, and after a bit we were on the plane.
The flight was pretty good; no major complaints save for the very hard seat cushions. The movies were Unbreakable and the Robert De Niro/Cuba Gooding Jr. movie Men of Honor. I spent the majority of the flight reading my newly acquired Deep Space Nine companion book. It is very interesting and in the 8 hours of flight I only barely began to get to Season 3. Looks like I will have something left for the flight back.
Now I am an experienced world traveler, and arriving in Tahiti, I expected no fuss. Unfortunately, Tahiti had other plans. First, we were expecting the shuttle from the Le Meridien hotel, but alas, there was no bus. It then looked like we had to take a cab – no big deal; we just went over to the ATM to get some money out. Sadly, the airport ATM was non-functional. I checked my wallet and found about $40 US in there and the change bureau was still open, so I went in and changed it for some Central Pacific Francs. Now $5000 CPF richer, we hired a cab to the hotel. It was only 2500 CPF and considering the alternative, it was a bargain. I was a bit concerned about the inability to get some money, but I figured tomorrow we would get a chance to go into Papeete to get some money at the bank. We checked into the luxurious room with an awesome view. Roger’s connection with the Le Meridien sure paid off.
After settling into a nice meal at the La Plantation restaurant at the hotel, I suddenly realized that I had left the disk adapter for the camera back in LA. Crap. I was very worried since this meant that we would be limited in the number of pictures we would be able to take on our trip to one of the most beautiful places on earth. We went back up to the room and I viewed the pictures on the television. Thankfully, the TV in the room accepts all international video standards. We decided to reduce the quality down to medium on the camera to boost the remaining pictures from 60 to 120. Our trip is off to a shaky start, and I hope that tomorrow we can get back on the right foot.